Eryn Non Dae started making critically acclaimed and brilliant math-y post-metal in 2001. They never achieved any acceptable amount of recognition, be it commercial or critical. Abandon of the Self will add to darkly glittering trail of beautiful footprints in their wake. They deserve to have more people following behind them.
Abandon of the Self stays at a slow but intense pace, sort of like a less restrained Amenra. Eryn Non Dae vacillate between dirges and cathartic noise; between grooves and stompfests; between 4/4 predictability and syncopation; between whispers, spoken word passages, and hoarse guttural screams. The tone stays dark throughout, the whole album having the aspect of an inward-looking soul search by someone seeking to relive forgotten trauma.
“Astral,” the album opener, shows Eryn Non Dae at their more atmospheric. It might seem like mad industry for a band in an aggressive niche genre to begin with something less heavy than the rest of Abandon of the Self, but this only underlines the intense artistry that these Frenchmen bring to what they create. The album’s pace in and of itself is an artistic statement, every bit as much as the individual songs. Eryn Non Dae have effectively made a math-y post-metal symphony – not ‘symphonic’ in the sense of having lush orchestral keyboard tones accenting the guitars, but symphonic in the sense of evolving an overall musical statement over a unified, if lengthy, work.
Even still, any one of the songs on Abandon of the Self could be played on its own without sounding incomplete. Penultimate track “Fragment” is a case in point. It starts off sounding like it will turn out to be the closest thing to a commercial song that Eryn Non Dae can make. Then the jarring changes in mood take over. Then comes the syncopation. Then comes the blaring guitars. Finally, the realization that this band can encapsulate an entire album in one song comes as well.
Although not weak songs, these are not the best on the album. Those would be the mid-album tracks “Eclipse” and “Halo”, but no videos for them exist at the time of writing this.
Yes, these songs are long, though not absurdly so. Not a single track lasts less than 6 minutes. Only one, the aforementioned “Halo,” breaks the 10 minute mark. While they are not exactly Converge, Eryn Non Dae are hardly Dream Theater either. Judicious pacing is a big thing for this band. None of the lengthy songs verge into instrumental indulgence. Everything on Abandon of the Self happens for a reason.
This album’s imminent March 9 release actually sums up its place in the scheme of things in a most apt way. We have albums by Between the Buried and Me, Rolo Tomassi and Oceans of Slumber coming out at just about the same time. Every single one of them has rung the ‘Album of the Year’ bells at It Djents for their own very good reasons while Eryn Non Dae’s Abandon of the Self will, like the rest of the band’s impressive discography, be largely ignored. And considering what a mature, evocative, and unbelievably impressive effort it is, that will be a shame. Et comme on dit dans la langue de cette groupe, «C’est dommage!»
Notable Tracks: “Eclipse”; “Halo”; “Astral”; “Fragment.”
FFO: Amenra, Neurosis