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caspian, July 23rd, 2008

First off: what the hell is with this band name? Can you even get "estatic melancholy", or, for that matter, Melancholy ecstasy? To their credit, at least they don't have meaningless song titles, nonetheless, meaningless/annoying band names are a pet hate of mine. 5 Points off for the horrible band name.

And it's a bit of a shame that the band name is so awful, as everything else about this is pretty damn solid. It's not the best stuff in the world but I've listened to this a lots of times; and repeated listening suggests that a good deal of thought and time went into this. I'll start off by saying the production, for one, is absolutely perfect. The guitars are all trebly, in fact everything's fairly sharp and cutting, but the mix is still pretty much perfectly balanced out in terms of instrument level and frequencies. The drums have a raw, terrifically uncompressed feel and have some really great definition- the cymbals for one sound fantastic- I for one am used to fairly mushy stuff from the crash and ride but here, oh man, it's just beautiful hearing some genuine top end. I know it's a bit odd going on and on about this production but it's just so great!

Of course production, no matter how awesome, does need to be backed up by some quality song writing if we're going to have an album that's going to be more use then a reference CD for a sound engineer. It's a shame that ME don't back up their eargasmic production with songwriting of a similar ilk because then we'd probably have an album for the ages but as it stands this is still pretty damn solid. Being hopelessly out of my depth in black metal and its' many variations it's kind of hard for me to come up with some good comparisons, but I guess early Ulver (1st and 3rd) is kind of close; maybe add a bit of Burzum and the pleasant fuzziness of Drudkh and you're there. It's a fairly simple formula that isn't mind blowingly unique or anything but pretty enjoyable, and ME seem to go at their instruments with a fair bit of energy.

That is definitely something that makes this record a good deal more enjoyable then most Ulver/Burzum rip offs. There is some energy here, and whereas Drudkh only ever seem to do well when they do the whole 3/4 time sig, 90bpm thing, ME fool around with a variety of different tempos- plenty of appealing, melodic blasty sections (definitely like Nattens_Madrical with more bass) combined with some rather effective slower things- I refer to the first track's outro which sounds like a non-effete Alcest, if that's possible, and much of the middle section of the fourth track. The whole sound manages to be quite relaxing and soothing- ME manage to get a fair bit of speed up here and there but it's still very melodic and consonant; if it wasn't for the vocals (nothing special here; adequate but hardly special shrieks and the like) then there's nothing here that would offend your girlfriend. Probably a decent album to play around chicks, actually.

I really like this record- I'm not entirely sure why, as while it's quite consistent in quality throughout the songs there's nothing, save for the first song outro, that I would describe as being incredibly amazing or anything. I guess it's just that there really is nothing bad about this record, on any level- the production is amazing while the songs, riffing and instrumentation ranging from great at best to acceptable at worst. Almost everything is a rather pleasing melodic blur, and the tunes manage to be fairly relaxed and melancholic without being overtly prissy or, for lack of a better word, gay. No, I guess overall this is a pretty good album; not incredibly ferocious but with plenty of good parts- and really, really good production. Recommended if you're like your black metal, and absolutely essential if you record it.