ENTERING DARKNESS: EIBON’S SLIDES FROM THEIR TRIP TO HELL
Look France, what did we do to deserve this? Was it the Freedom Fries thing? One of the guys behind that isn’t in office anymore, and most of us thought it was pretty dumb. Steve Martin in the Pink Panther reboot? We’re not proud of that, either. The jokes about how much you guys like Jerry Lewis? In our defense, you do like him a lot, and, come on, he sucks. So really, there’s no reason to keep trumping us so thoroughly in metal. It’s just mean at this point. Already home to Gojira and most likely the year’s best blackened feelings metal album (Alcest’s Écailles de Lune) on top of all the other really incredible bands I’ve mentioned previously from the last few years, you have to go and pull some bullshit like producing sludgy doom-obsessed outre-metallers Eibon, trouncing us once again in a department we had once so excelled in. We’re in the middle of the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression and everyone hates everyone here; the least you can do is let us still have our awesome shoegazing sludgy doom bands. But based on the ridiculous excellence of Eibon’s debut full length, Entering Darkness, it’s apparent that you guys are gonna be dicks about this, too.
On paper, Eibon are the exact kind of band we don’t need: familiar with doom and sludge metal, prone to decidedly non-metal tangents, big on long crescendos. But in execution… good God, is it phenomenal. Eibon get the heavy part down with aplomb; borrowing liberally from sludge, doom, and occasionally black metal (the glowering title track tips its hat to fellow countrymen Merrimack, in particular), the band don’t leave one wanting in terms of crushing riffs. But like their best brethren both local and transatlantic, they know that weaving in soft parts is nothing to take lightly. Introspective mood enhancers are eased in and built up so that they sound like a naturally weaved-in part of the proceedings instead of awkwardly included for an attempt at class. Eibon are clearly not the first band to combine these elements — shit, they’re not the first band I’ve written about this year that combines these elements — but they sound like they think they are. And while some would construe that as arrogance or willful ignorance, they don’t sound like trendhoppers, but a band with something to say. This is music that makes you FEEL things, but isn’t exactly sensitive. It’s heavy both in the metal respect and the one referring to depth. It’s dense while being incredibly palatable, if the mood is right.
Entering Darkness is definitely mood music, though. Most of the songs spill over the ten minute mark, and like blackened death/doom/thrash/whatever juggernaut Triptykon, this isn’t a sunny day affair. It’s grim, engrossing, and deep; if you’re not feeling that at the time, it can sound like impenetrable wall of sustained chords and raspy screaming. But when you can find a way in, it’s fantastic. While Neurosis and Isis clones get more and more anemic with the former’s sporadic release schedule and the latter no longer existing, Eibon are a hefty reminder that metal can be more than just brutality, and is often at its best once it reaches past it. So it’s fitting that France be the home to these dudes, seeing as their legacy to metal is on course to rival Norway or Sweden. But no matter their locale, Eibon are the sort of band that makes you perk up and take notice. Theirs is an existence in the absence of light, but still a profoundly rich and rewarding one. The rest of the world has some catching up to do.
(4 out of 5 horns)