Review Summary: If you have patience, you can enjoy this substantial piece of post metal.
Dirge put out an album in 2011 that I consider to be one of the finest post/sludge/atmospheric metal albums of all time. I read a prefect quote about it at the time of its release: "A chilled out version of Rosetta" - and it's so true. Elysian Magnetic Fields has an impressive list of credentials: Long, droning metallic songs infused with flawless programming, keyboards and soundscapes. Not as hard or obliterating as Rosetta, instead it chugs along at a more mesmerizing and slower pace - doom metal is very much a part of Dirge's legacy - and has been delicately branded into their specific style of post metal since their inception in 1994.
I've been on the Dirge bandwagon ever since wondering how the hell can they top their last masterpiece. One could argue Hyperion is Elysian Magnetic Fields II but I have no problem with a band sticking to their trademark sound as long as it continues to be distinctive and interesting. Six songs clocking in at just over sixty minutes, lace up your shoes and get ready for a colossal undertaking as you march through this immense album. Thankfully, their are so many details to indulge in, Hyperion is worthy of multiple listens that will allow you to cherish every last second of it.
This time around Dirge have incorporated some different aspects into their music. Songs such as "Filigree" and the 16 minute marathon "Remanentie" welcome some industrial elements into the fray. Electronic percussion is a nice change of pace that works well with pristine hypnotic tones that carry much of the album. Clean vocals and female voice interchange with harsh, drowned out screams. All of these precise intricacies add a new level to Dirge's gentile mixture of light and heavy moments through out the album. In fact, what makes Dirge so good at what they do is their ability to sync soothing and abrasive
layers of ambient noise, feedback and distorted guitars into a tremendous musical up taking consisting of songs about despair and desolation.
One negative for new Dirge listeners may be the diligent pace of the album. If you can be content with the not so many ups and downs and overall lethargic gate of the songs, Hyperion will be a very rewarding listening experience and will introduce you to a whole new angle of dense and uncelestial brand of post metal. It isn't easy to dissect Hyperion's formula but with stream-lined deliberation you can experience the thoughtfulness that went into such an immersive album. A massive release like this requires intense attention to detail and I hope you join me on this expansive journey.