Dirge – Lost Empyrean
Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: 14/12/2018
Running Time: 55:38
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
Good evening, dear brothers and sisters of the one true faith. That being metal, not one of the false prophets and their excuses for religions. Only metal is real. There is no Zuul, only metal. If you’re an Eighties kid you’ll get that reference. If not, I’d like to say sorry for confusing you but I’m really not, so I won’t. Well, that’s started this review off with a faintly negative and nihilistic tone. Again, sorry not sorry! Anyway, shall we see whether Dirge can turn these frowns upside down and whether they are worth discharging mucho dinero on? Walk with me, dear friends of Baphomet, into my playroom. That’s where my kickass stereo is. Ignore the surgical instruments – they are just for decoration, after all. No, that’s not blood, its patina. What? No, I didn’t lock the door behind you, Karen. The deadlocks automatically activate. Please, have a seat. Thank you.
Now we will begin…
A bunch of most estimable Parisians, Dirge took the extraordinary step of announcing that they were splitting up after 25 years two months after they released the record I am listening to, “Lost Empyrean”. This has caused me great upset and consternation because this record is a spectacularly brutal affair and Dirge hadn’t come across my Satanic radar before. Lost Empyrean is absolutely huge. It’s colossal. It’s mountainous, monolithic riffs of splendour and magnificence. And I’m fucking pissed off with the bastards for splitting up on me, especially considering Paris is within easy reach of the village I am slowly purging of all its inhabitants. They remind me of a less polished Crowbar, with elements of Swans, Red Harvest (circa ) and Paradise Lost. This is a splendid set of influences to have in my not actually very humble at all opinion, because PL, RH and Swans are fucking awesome, dude. The production job on this record is that rarest of things – perfect for the music that is recorded. Every instrument is rendered with precision. I can hear every drumbeat with perfect clarity and there is a meaty resonance about them that is normally lacking in metal recordings. Normally, metal bass drums sound like someone smacking some taut polythene with a wet and rather perturbed and upset rat. The guitars are razorwire flails, operating at neck height and are chunky as fuck, man. It is not a subtle guitar sound. It is the sound of electric guitar used properly, as a weapon, not a musical instrument; and the bass. Oh, holy fuck, the bass. If there were emojis on Word documents there would be love hearts all over the fucking page just because of the bass guitar. The rumbling, earthquake inducing, lo fi splendiferousness of the bass sound cannot be overstated.
Fuck me crossways. This is apocalypse music. This is the sound of the slow, drawn out, tortured end of the world. It’s shrieking and grinding tectonic plates being forced apart and the heat and power of released magma flows. This is the sound of a multitude of unstoppable armoured vehicles, covered in demonic sigils and crushing human lives down to chunky salsa beneath their spiked tracks. It is the sound of screaming diesel engines belching foul smoke from blackened exhausts and the roar of high powered high explosive shells demolishing fortifications, before matt black battlewagons crush all resistance under their tracks and plough relentlessly on, on to where you are cowering, hidden away in the ruins. It’s the sound of the end of your world, when the muzzle of a robotically controlled machine gun points to your place of concealment and saws the wall you’re hiding behind in half with a burst of half inch calibre leaden slugs. This record is slower and heavier than your mum in a pair of plutonium knickers with a lead brassiere…, while she is wearing a pair of depleted uranium shoes. It is THAT heavy, if you like droney, shoegaze stuff that is. If you revere Dragonforce, you’ll hate it with a vengeance unparalleled in human history. Lost Empyrean is the slow moving means of your death. It doesn’t rely on speed. It relies on superior quality songwriting and the fact Dirge play slow enough to let the music expand. Like the blastwave of a nuclear detonation. This music is utterly, UTTERLY uncompromising. It will not stop until you have been reduced to your component parts and it is grinning through bloodied teeth at you… There’s no point telling you what the best tracks are. This is an album that REQUIRES your attention from start to finish. It honestly is more than the sum of its parts and is a superior experience when listened to as a single body of work, through headphones, where you can subject your cranium to the type of crushing forces normally experienced by a jet fighter pilot pulling 9g. Or your dad, when your mum rides him like a cowgirl.
I never thought I would say this, but this record is the equal of P.H.O.B.O.S’s Phlogiston Catharsis, a record I judged to be the album of the year last year. They too are French. French metal is fucking astonishingly good. I haven’t yet heard a French heavy metal record I haven’t liked. Dirge (until they broke my fucking heart by splitting up, the absolute SHOWER!) are well worth elevating to the Dark Juan Pantheon Of Wonderful Excellence, where they sit with such luminaries as the aforementioned P.H.O.B.O.S. and Rivers Of Nihil and Gunship and others.
Ejaculate vast wads (of cash, you fucking filthy pervert) and buy everything Dirge have ever done so they will reform and I can go and have my brain turned to soup at a Dirge gig. You need Dirge in your life. Everyone needs Dirge in their life.
Simply staggering. I am literally sat in a dark room on my own with Dirge ringing in my head, wondering how the fuck does metal top this. I’m not sure it can. One thing is for certain, I’m not writing anything else tonight because anything else I listen to is just going to sound like appalling shite. I’m going for a lie down. My brain hurts.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das Patentierte Dunkle Juan-Blut-Splat-Bewertungssystem, just because I like the way it sounds in German) has ruined every pair of trousers it has with many, many Dirge induced sex wees, has levelled its own house by playing Dirge too loudly and is currently sat shell-shocked among the wreckage wondering what to do with itself. This means Dirge are awarded 10/10. Full fucking marks, brothers and sisters of the true faith. FULL FUCKING MARKS.
01 Wingless Multitudes
02 Hosea 8 7
03 Algid Troy
04 The Burden Of Almost
05 Lost Empyrean
06 A Sea Of Light
DIRGE ARE: (were, as it transpires…. this is devastating news)
They did not deign to tell me what instruments they played and I am too drunk to care… you have the internet, you find out!
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