Review Summary: A Post-Rock Masterpiece from Beginning to End
Enjoy Eternal Bliss is an album that thrives off of emotion. It isn’t an album that has strung out buildups that lead to lukewarm climaxes. It isn’t too complex in structure or entirely epic in length. Instead what unfolds across the four lengthy tracks on Enjoy Eternal Bliss rivals the Post-Rock greats in both sound and scope, yet with an external force pushing it beyond limits. Simply, Enjoy Eternal Bliss is one of the extraordinary Post-Rock albums not only for its incredible crescendos and mesmerizing instrumentation, but because of its raw emotional impact.
The album does not damper on subjects or stories to extremes for the listener to try comprehending or relate to. It plays off of human emotion without the use of lyrics, leaving the music to be a lingering flame. Yet, each song ignites different parts of the listener’s imagination. The triumph of “We Flood Empty Lakes” is matched by the beautiful ode to love in the form of “A Song for Starlit Beaches” while the chilling hardships of “Dash and Blast” are endured and conquered by the sonic hell of “Illuminate My Heart, My Darling”. The variety of tones and meanings played with across this four song LP are paramount to the music’s overall message, which I believe is that every day is different. Some lead to triumph and happiness, while others lead to melancholy and sadness. Yndi Halda plays this game to perfection, creating an album that can be listened to despite one’s mood.
While many of the great Post-Rock titans thrived off of creating a wasteland of an atmosphere for their music to thrive against, Yndi Halda almost seems to take a complete 180 from that course. It may at first seem as though the band takes their ques especially from Godspeed You!, they offer a much less complex sound in return for something that never grows boring. I feel that even the greatest Post-Rock albums suffer from having those dull moments, where tension becomes so lackluster that the interest in the listener begins to sink fast. Yet, I have never found that to be true about this album. For how sprawling each track is, (especially Illuminate My Heart My Darling and Dash and Blast) they cease to have any moments lacking in tension or beauty. The only song that comes close to becoming a little overbearing would be A Song for Starlit Beaches, but even that has its moments of chills and grand ascensions.
In the end however, one half of the record outclasses the other just slightly, which is saying a lot considering the weaker two are still superb post-rock tracks. The first song being “We Flood Empty Lakes”, which is a song that emphasizes success and triumph to a high degree. Essentially building off of the title of the track, the song is meant to be a message of hope. It is musically dense, with soaring strings building up to loud walls of sounds that remain echoing in the listener’s memory once it is over. Especially the final movement, which builds up with a heroic drum roll playing off a beautiful string instrumentation up until a single stand still moment; where everything stops, and is let go in one grand gesture. Yet, it isn’t even the best moment on the album. That belongs to “Illuminate My Heart, My Darling”’s second movement. The dancing strings combined with the clashing drums create a tension that continues to grow in scope in size. It continues and the drums begin to clash and cascade, while more strings join in. It is at the crescendo where everything collapses, and a chilling wall of sound lead by a single guitar shatters all expectations.
This album serves as a testament to what post-rock is. It is the embodiment of the standard post-rock set up, build-ups that lead to crescendos that escape through an outro. The formula has been done before, but never perfected to this extent. Enjoy Eternal Bliss is one of the greatest post-rock albums of all time, and anyone who hasn’t heard this by now needs to at least give it a shot at some point in their lives.