Review Summary: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
The recent surge of quality French metal bands continues with Erlen Meyer. Named after the flask used in scientific experiments and created by German scientist Emil Erlenmeyer they sound nothing like their namesake. Everything found here is dark, filthy and heavy as hell. In the technical sense they could be termed post or sludge metal but I’m not quite sure that description fits. It has the elements of the genre but also a few others peppering the mix.
The guitars are drowned in distortion and peel away the layers of grime purveying over the smothering bleak production of Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna). Unfortunately their original drummer died suddenly days before they were about to record this album. That feeling of despair and sorrow is unrelenting and soaks through every second of this journey. Luckily the replacement drummer Karol Diers stands out because of his sheer power and command of the all the songs direction and flow. I have no idea how long he was with them before they recorded this but he fits perfectly. The best example of his skill is on the closer Bec et Ongles, when about halfway through the song he just destroys everything around him. There are also a few quieter interludes to attempt to give you a break from the crushing heaviness but all they really do is drive you further into the abyss that’s been created. Even the piano laden Les Caprices de Remington can’t pull you out of the trench that’s been dug.
Lyrically the songs are short stories of suspense and horror but for native English speakers you won’t catch most of it since it is all in French. Vocalist Olivier LaCroix yells and shrieks these tales of intrigue but since my one year of high school French didn’t leave much of an impression I can’t tell how intelligible his lyrics are. To me it's more than competent and gets the job done effectively so in the end that’s all that really matters. He doesn’t have a large range so he may not work for everyone but in context of the music he just fits with the overall feeling of the album.
This is one of those albums that is so bleak and unrelenting it may be difficult for some people to finish. There is no hope to be found here, no shimmering salvation on the horizon; you are doomed and you can see it coming.
Album can be streamed and purchased here: