A brutal beauty through and through!
Ever since that night in around 2009, in an absolutely overrun smoky New York City space called Webster Hall: ever since that unforgettable set, my first and last, at which Aaron Turner announced they were calling it quits: I have been looking to fill an Isis – shaped hole in my soul. Over the years, a few good candidates have come along, surely. And, frankly, over the years the importance of that specific search has dwindled as horizons have widened (he tries to convince himself); however when I first alighted upon – and then promptly purchased a copy of 2019’s Solution EP, I already had glimmers of that special sound I’d been surreptitiously looking for. That I’m always looking for.
Now, not to be unjustly reductive, we move on. The album at hand has a lot going on. There had always been this thread of grungy, doomy, quasi-Industrial nihilism running through the Post–Metal makeup. There was something special in it. So Erebos comes along in late 2023 and immediately becomes THAT album for me. You know, like I’m 20 years old discovering something magical and new to me again. Even if it’s really not.
But you remember that crazy feeling when you first heard… When I first heard Blackwater Park or, I don’t know, Ashes Against the Grain… Somewhere Along The Highway… That spark of DAMN. And going back to re-listening to Solution now in the lead up to this has been a real refresher in a similar way. Where have these guys been? Where have I? (Sifting through Black Metal back catalogues, probably.) But I’m glad to see they’ve been at it the whole time I was turned away. Touring on their Circadians EP throughout 2022. Clearly they’ve been grinding the stone and the results are immensely satisfying. If you’re into guitar – driven Post-Metal with soundscapes and atmospheric, electronic and Post-Hardcore elements, this is top of the pops.
The influences are only part of the story, as usual. Metide have this very measured approach to atmospherics, to meter, to soundstage– that you don’t often get with a loud, dirty, overdriven sound. But the dirties and the cleans are layered up in the mix with precision and gravity. The double guitar harmonics on the clean sections is sublime. The drums, slightly buried, straight-laced and succinct. The atmospherics blooming organically out of chaos. Especially lovely is the extended prelude on ”Leitha”, a melody that cascades naturally in and out of hoarse brutality. That quiet/loud dichotomy precision – cut.
Far from a one-trick pony, Erebos is loaded with mystery and mastery. One of the longer cuts, ”Styx” leans into Doom, for example. A few of the other cuts, such as ”Cocytus” explore the noise and industrial facets of the genre. Chilly drum pads meet warm and organic piano keys while feedback frizzles and the vocals chant their hypnotic refrain until the mix bursts open and the track erupts onto the foreground, still repeating its mantra. The psych-leaning Post-Metal of ”Phlegethon” diversifies the palate, again, as well.
I appreciate that the melodies keep my interest, time signatures are seldom stagnant, the guitars never plunge into senseless chugging, the vocals observe the right kind of restraint. In short, Erebos manages to do everything more or less right, never offends. Shines, in fact, at the confluence of Psychedelic, Post-Metal, Doom, Noise and Art Rock. The album possesses a special inclination for me. A clear cut concept album rooted in Erebus, the offspring of chaos, the personification of darkness. In the execution of its morose theatrics, I am completely enamored. The title track concludes the album in no uncertain terms. And to think, this is nigh the second act, by my estimate. Brutal beauty through and through. Erebos is not only one of the most balanced and refined albums I’ve heard in 2024, but it brings together – at least for me – a lot of what I love most in the genre, distilled over more than a decade.