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Eibon = trés bon! - 87%

drengskap, September 8th, 2009

This self-titled MCD from Parisian doom outfit Eibon is the band’s second release, following their 2007 split with Hangman’s Chair. Eibon was founded in 2005 by bassist Stéphane Rivière and drummer Jerome Lachaud, both formerly of Horrors Of The Black Museum, with the line-up being completed by the addition of singer Georges Balafas (ex-Drowning) and guitarist Max Hedin (also ex-Horrors…).

Classily presented in a monochrome digipack sleeve bearing imagery of jagged precipices and bleak horizons, this release consists of two long tracks, totalling 22-and-a-half minutes of playing time. ‘Asleep And Threatening’ gets right down to business with tumultuous drum-rolls and ominous whines of feedback, before a ferociously downtuned guitar riff lumbers into earshot. As doom goes, this isn’t as slow as it gets, but this is a vast, authoritative, sludgy sound all the same, definitely within the ambit of bands like Eyehategod, Isis and Pelican.

Georges Balafas’ harshly growled vocals are the icing on the cake – I believe he’s singing in English, but to be honest it’s hard to tell, and the sleeve doesn’t include lyrics. In any case, the phrasing and delivery are spot on. At four and a half minutes, the song moves into a slow section with what sounds like sampled operatic vocals interspersed with doom-growls. There’s a lot of atmospheric rumble and swoosh behind the guitar which sounds like synth work, but if so, no-one’s owning up to it, and I guess it’s possible that this is all produced with effect pedals. The song builds to a dramatic climax with epic, chanted, Bathory-style background vocals. ‘Asleep And Threatening’ is powerful, coherent and attention-grabbing right from the start.

‘Staring At The Abyss’ is the slightly longer track, and if anything, it’s even more impressive than the first, opening with a lonely strummed acoustic guitar which fades into a hypnotically repetitive sludgy groove, bludgeoningly heavy yet retaining a melodic edge. At around three minutes, there’s an instrumental breakdown in which a tremelo lead delicately embroiders notes over the top of a massive bassy riff and spacey swooping tones, lending an almost Hawkwind-like psychedelic tinge, and there’s another long instrumental excursion at around seven minutes, the song eventually bowing out amid a black metal-style fusillade of fast picked notes and a swirling windstorm effect.

It’s not often that I play a disc by a band I've never heard before and feel so instantly impressed as I did with Eibon. Everything just clicks smoothly into place, everyone’s pulling their weight, and the production is clear, yet leaves just enough rough edges to give a bit of a kick. All too many new bands fall into the trap of thinking that sounding ‘professional’ entails using Pro Tools to buff all the passion and personality out of their music, but not this one. Eibon’s music manages the difficult feat of sounding sludgy, heavy and clear all at once. There are loads of little unobtrusive elements bubbling away beneath the surface of the music, yet the band never neglects their core mission objective of huge riff delivery.

Even the brief running time of the CD doesn’t feel like a problem. Some of the doom releases I've most enjoyed recently have been the four Monument Of Urns 3” CD-Rs, which all clock in at around 20 to 25 minutes, and whilst Eibon don’t really sound a hell of a lot like Monument Of Urns, there’s something to be said for delivering music this heavy and intense in manageable bite-sized chunks.

There are quite a few notable French doom bands, Monarch and Habsyll among them, and whilst Eibon don’t display the same extreme tendencies as those two bands, this first solo release convincingly demonstrates them to be totally worthy of flying the tricoleur of doom. I feel like I've got to track down that split album now, in the absence of any further product.

This review was originally written for Judas Kiss webzine:
www.judaskissmagazine.co.uk

Awesome !! - 98%

hellhippie, January 21st, 2009

France's Eibon are back with their secondary effort ; another e.p. simply self titled this time around . In keeping with their brief tradition of releasing two songs at a time this one clocks in at over twenty minutes . These guys are not fancy , as the packaging , title and presentation of anything they have done shows . Exactly what a great doom band should do and trust me they do it well .

This e.p. is a brutal , crushing , heavy weight of a sophomore effort . Immediately the listener is drawn into a feeling of despair as Jerome Lachaud's larger than life sounding drum kit introduces you to some of the heaviest riff work you will ever hear . The first track "Asleep and Threatening" is aptly named here as this is just what this monster does . This music threatens your senses and beats you to a helpless bloody pulp as the utter heaviness , brutality and beauty of a doom laden classic should .

Max Hedin's riffs and Stephane Riviere's bass have a habit of slowly leading you into an unexpected wall of sound that is thick and dripping with the early days of singular riff worship , yet this is layered with so much more than a single riff or idea . There always seems to be a heavy Black Sabbath "Master of Reality" influence when this great band produces something of this magnitude and you can absolutely hear it here . Then the excellent execution of singer Georges Balafas screaming as if his legs are being put through a meat grinder compliments the whole experience . Make no mistake , this is a brutal , masterful , downer of an experience .

Next up the second and unfortunately last track on the album "Staring at the Abyss" starts of with an almost angelic sounding little acoustic intro that slowly builds up to one of the most triumphantly evil riffs one can believe . This is the soundtrack to every nightmare and vision of a barren desolate wasteland any visionary has ever or will ever have . Many images and feelings come to mind when listening to this song as you are slowly dragged down in the deepest depths of your conscious and subconscious . This song lives up to it's title and more . Heavy , then slowly , softly tormented , this is a ride on the wings of the archangel himself as the listener is brought into, and out of a pure state of a most evil roller coaster ride of emotions . Both unbelievably suffocating and beautifully triumphant once again this never lets up . Riff after riff , the song weaves in and out perfectly until a well earned end . One of the most hauntingly perfect , beautifully somber experience's this doom fan (and yes I'm a huge fan) will ever have .

With every release and there have only been two , these masters seem to get better and better . This being much more layered with post apocalyptic themes and tones . A masterful work created by obvious fans of the underground and all that's heavy . I worship this band because they represent all that the underground was and is . An absolute triumph of sludgy ,deep grimy perfection . If your a fan of unbelievable pure soul crushing doom then this is 100% for you . If not here's an idea , go invade your older brothers heavy metal collection . Start cranking "Ratt" and "Guns and Roses" , stand in front of the mirror with that tennis racket dad left in the garage and be the best goddamn air guitarist you can be ! Better yet just break out the Tylenol and razor blades and end it all you fucking poser you ! If you think you know what heavy is and don't worship this well then your probably not a fan of the underground at all !!! Track this down .