Thursday, November 7, 2013

Idaaliur - Le Chemin De L'Étincelant (EP) (2013)

When we waxed poetic about the endless classifications of metal, namely raw black metal, it was not a one off idea. As misunderstood as the raw sister can be, the melodic or depressive black metal movement might be moreso. Because somewhere in the sadness and melancholy, projects like Idaaliur have managed to be uplifting along the way. Maybe it is the way they craft their melodic elements; or maybe it's the balance they find between heavy and soft, light and dark. Either way, sole proprietor Malphas has thrown his hat into the growing ring of melody based black metal outfits who are doing more for the new school than ever before. As prolific as he has been, having his hand in five releases over the last twenty months, each one has its own identity and sound. That alone would be impressive; but they've grown with him over the years, and each one represents a small evolution in the man, the band, and the sound. His latest release, a two track EP titled "Le Chemin De L'Étincelant," is nothing short of breathtaking.

It's as if the artwork and the opening of the first track, "Le Chemin De L'Étincelant (Part 1)" are attached to one another. As the shadowed figure stares out at the vastness of space, a keyboard fueled epic unfolds, with an incredible amount of depth contained within a mix that is less than crisp. But somehow, Malphas makes it all work in his favor, seamlessly combining the flowing melodies, both vocal and instrumental, with the grating screams that come later on. As you cross the four minute mark, you are now completely submerged in his vast soundscape, one part frightening black metal, and one part somber harmony. The transition from part one to the second part is as flawless as it is beautiful. His use of keyboards and synthesizers makes all the difference in the world, allowing the music to live and breathe. As a result, each passing movement pulls you deeper and deeper into the world he has created here. As difficult as it is to not allow yourself to be swept up in the wonder of it all, it may be best to just let the guitar and keyboard work to carry you. Each scream builds from silence and cascades over the top of the instrumental in a fractured harmony of sorts. And all at once, it seems like you have returned to where the album began, staring out into the stars.

When instrumental, vocal, and imagery collide in such a profound way, you won't be able to move on to the next big thing. Malphas has accomplished something here that most musicians work their entire career for, and rarely achieve; he has found the common ground between all three of those elements, and let them come together in a meaningful and clear way. But even more impressive than that is how easy he makes it all seem. Melodies collide with distortion, and simplicity melts together with intricacy to form what is one of the richest, most detailed piece of blackened metal you could think of. It is the latest crowning achievement in a career that seems to be gaining momentum with each and every release. And in his own special way, he has given an uplifting piece of music to the masses; one that, despite the depressing undertones, soars at times. It isn't perfect, though, something that could be remedied with more material. But even with the lack of run time, "Le Chemin De L'Étincelant" is an EP that will stay with you.


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