03 Jun 2021 - Simon
progressive rock, post-metal, progressive metal | Metal Blade Records | Release date: 12 May 2021
A stunning example of how a band can improve on what has come previously. A glorious example of what can happen when you play all the right notes, in exactly the right order
I am very lucky to be able to write about music, it’s one of my life’s passions and to be able to share that passion with people who read this is a wonderful thing, it’s also a bit of a double edged sword when trying to stay objective about an album when it’s one that sounds like it was made for me personally, which hits all of my musical tastes with gleeful abandon. So, I’m not going to bother. Instead, I’ll just try and convey how it makes me feel. The album is from Scottish metal band DVNE and is their second full length album and first on major label Metal Blade Records.
Previous album Asheran was a superb album, but that was just an appetiser, an amuse-bouche if you will for what they have achieved here with Etemen Ænka. They blend all the best bits from their previous album into a more cohesive whole. It’s a much more confident sounding album, they have quite clearly thought long and hard about what worked from the previous album and expanded and built upon it, it’s like bumping into an old friend you haven’t seen for a while who’ve made a considerable effort to improve themselves. It’s the same person, but they’ve been to the gym, had a haircut, are wearing incredible clothes and now look fantastic as a result.
The album kicks off quietly, so much so that I regularly check if I have pressed play at all as it takes about half a minute for any sound to start coming out of the speakers. But when it does start, well, it punches through the damn of silence with a roaring flood of riffs and powerful rhythms. It also sets up the rest of the album by introducing one of its trump cards, the mix of powerful clean vocals and surprisingly abrasive growled vocals.
Next song “Towers” showcases this increased song writing prowess incredibly well with the electronic elements meshing with the traditional instrumentation so that it creates an amalgamation of stunning musicianship. This increased confidence helps make this album that incredibly rare and precious thing nowadays where the album is not only immediately accessible, but also much more layered with a lot to unpack, it withholds some of its joys to discover over time, like a miner hitting a joyously rich vein of gold after following a bounty of emerald ore.
After glorious electronic interlude track “Weighing Of The Heart” comes the show stopping “Omega Severer” which ebbs and flows beautifully, making the most of it’s contrasting vocal styles baked up by the ridiculously good musicianship showcasing the sublime rise and fall of the music. This track mimics the amazing beauty of the Scottish Highlands with its mountainous regions falling into gorgeous serene lakes, and much like the Scottish scenery, it’s breath-taking. The rest of the album only continues this injection of happy dopamine directly into the pleasurable part of your brain.
In case you hadn’t guess already, I absolutely adore this album. It will almost certainly take it’s place in my albums of the year list and after living with it for the last few months, I am still picking up nuances from it, it’s a stunning achievement and if there was any justice in the world, it would catapult this band into the upper echelons of metal royalty. If Mastodon has made this album, everyone would be falling over themselves heaping praise on it, that it was made by a band in only their second album is quite frankly, astonishing. If you enjoy heavy music of any sort then you owe it to yourself to listen to this album, it’s utterly brilliant.