Review Summary: The journey has come to an end. Now, let's build an empire.
Few things make me happier than to contemplate a band fulfilling a promise. Asheran
was released in 2017 and it quickly became the mirror that all big (and aging) names of the sludge and post metal scene didn't want to look at. Dvne had brought something fresh to the menu, something that none of the titans of the genre have been able to create in recent years: a spellbinding blend of dazzling melodies and sheer brutality packed in an hour of probably one of the best progressive sludge and post metal hybrids you stumbled upon that year. Asheran
was indeed, like nothing you have ever heard before.
certifies this was not a fluke. The nomads of Arrakis are back with a record that takes their debut to the next level. This new release is everything Asheran
was but bigger, heavier and I'd say even "better", but that will be a matter of discussion that will last for the best part of the year and beyond. As soon as "Enûma Eliš" fires up the album in a way that would make Baron Vladimir Harkonnen sweat like a boiling pot, there's a noticeable improvement in the overall sound quality of Dvne's latest. It's not a surprise to see the master architect of Swedish post metal legends Cult of Luna, Magnus Lindberg, credited as the man in charge of mastering the already fantastic mixing job carried out by Graeme Young at his Chamber Studio, in their hometown of Edinburgh. Seriously, in plain and simple language, this thing sounds fucking massive.
For an album that clocks on over an hour, Etemen Ænka
doesn't let the weight of its length burden you more than necessary. The album is divided in different sections: The first three tracks are kept at bay by the first of three interludes, "Weighing of the Heart", which, along with the second interlude, "Adraeden", they both sandwich the colossal "Omega Severer". Wiki fact time: This is a track that was released previously in November last year along with a redux of an older song, "Of Blade and Carapace", as a harbinger of things to come. If you were among the ones flying side by side with the Scots, you will find familiar ground here. "Si-XIV", one of the band's favorite tracks, and "Mleccha" form the hard body of the second half, which ends as majestically as expected with "Satuya", which is introduced by "Asphodel", a lullaby sang by collaborator Lissa Robertson in what is the last interlude before the album meets its end.
There's so much to talk about Etemen Ænka
that it'd take a fool's lifetime to describe the myriad soundscapes that Dvne wants to take you through, plus I'd be spoiling one of the most exciting sonic trips of recent years. Dan Barter and Victor Vicart screaming at each other under a storm of synths and furious riffs, Dudley Tait unleashing on his drum kit on a constant 3/4 lashing out with extreme virulence as Gavin Grealy's booming bass tones battle against the powerful currents the band conjures on the seven chapters that tell this new epic are some of the traits of this second album. However, there's also a breathtaking splendor that radiates in contrast with the described onslaught, and like the Kwisatz Haderach the band so much revers, it is omnipresent. Whether it comes from (I believe) Vicart's clean anthemic singing, the frantic power chord progression or the brief quiet passages sprinkled throughout the album’s surface, I do not know, but it's the kind of beauty which presence is felt, as your heartbeat will no doubt signal you several times across Etemen Ænka
The Scots have traveled wide and far. 2013 saw them releasing their first EP, Progenitor
, which immediately raised eyebrows and made jaws drop as they teared down stages around the UK. It was followed by a two-track mini-album titled Aurora Majesty
a year later and it wasn't until three years later when Dvne stomped its way through with the life-affirming Asheran
, which took them around the world supporting acts like Crowbar and participating in a good number of festivals. It was clear at the time that Dvne was a special band, far from being one of many clones of the genre, and with this sophomore full length, their journey in search of their place among the greatest has finally come to an end. Now sit, listen and watch them build an empire.