Album of the day: Dirge – Elysian Magnetic Fields

As we move towards the end of 2011, here’s a worthy record that we overlooked the first time around earlier this year. Lovingly pinched from Sonic Abuse: It’s Sunday morning. I’m tired and am already on my third review of the day. I was going to pack it in, for fear of falling asleep over the keyboard and then I stuck DirgeElysian Magnetic Fields into the player.


Opening with static discharge and feedback I feared the gentle lullaby of post rock would be too much for my exhausted senses only for a MASSIVE, corroded Neurosis-style riff to come surging over me like a tidal wave and I knew that I needed to write this review as I listened – recording the emotion and sonic impact of a record that seemed likely to knock me clean out of my teeny cotton socks.

The band are described in the promo material thusly: “French veteran of neurotic posthardcore, Dirge are back with Elysian Magnetic Fields. A brand new album composed of 8 pieces of art guiding you through a passageway between wonder and magnificence.”

Now, I didn’t really believe it either. It seemed, I don’t know, too good to be true, or perhaps just overly confident, but the truth is that the press release quoted above barely does the astonishing music in question justice and such is the depth of the band’s musical detail that although I tried to do this review on the first run through it took another few listens just to appreciate the depth and breadth of their ambition. And then I went out to buy the vinyl to appreciate it some more.

Seriously, this is a phenomenal release and for those who mourn the loss of Isis, Dirge more than just step up to the plate of that mighty band and that is not a comparison or claim to be made lightly. With not a track-listing in sight, the music ebbs and flows across its eight tracks, sometimes exploding into bursts of scintillating light, at other moments fading away to almost nothing, but always present and always interesting. The layers are dense and the production imbues the riffs with a sort of broken luminescence of the type that Justin Broadrick employs so well on Jesu and neurosis have spent a decade perfecting. It’s an intense, unnerving listening experience that sends chills down the spine and it sounds utterly monumental, original, heavy and yet beautiful all at once.

Close contemporaries aside form Neurosis might include The ocean, who have created some of the most astonishing music of the last decade, as well as Isis and it is not an exaggeration to state that Dirge would not be overpowered or outmatched by any one of them.

Continue reading: Dirge – ‘Elysian Magnetic Fields’ Album Review | Sonic Abuse.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 11th, 2011 at 5:51 pm and is filed under 2011, Album of the Day, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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