Eibon - _II_
(Aesthetic Death, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (6.5 out of 10)
Three out of the five members comprising the French sludge/doom group Eibon played in Horrors of the Black Museum, which is probably the most unheralded and overlooked doom band in recent times. It offered a macabre, horror-laden doom of the strangest kind, coupling epic left-field doom aesthetics with horror flick affiliation embodied in the abundance of samples taken from classic, black and white movies oozing with gloomy, gothic atmosphere; taking Mortician's modus operandi into the realm of traditional doom, more or less. Their only full-length album _Gold From the Sea_, released in 2008, was an oddball of a metal album -- triumph for sonic mystery and inventiveness, even though its own cohesiveness as a complete musical endeavor was somewhat dubious, or maybe just too strange for the habitual ears.

The demise of Horrors of the Black Museum marked the inception of Eibon, being a totally different musical entity; still metallic and rather decent, but gone were all the quintessential elements that set the former apart from anything the metal underground had known. With the emergence of the sludge boom (pretty much years after the original brand of -sludge!- had seen its own demise), Eibon must have realized that would be metal's new hyped hot topic and jumped the wagon, or so it seems.

Come 2013, and instead of continuing with the same streak of non-conventional metallic bizarreness, the founding members had decided to take their venom and exploit sludge even further, being a style of doom the French underground knows well and excels at, with musical entities such as Overmars, Dirge and Year of No Light.

That being said, descriptions or tags of musical styles are often inaccurate and reductionist. case in point: _II_ isn't a pure form of sludge, mind you. It isn't on par with anything Eyehategod, Grief or Black Sun ever recorded. Not as 'pure' or hostile, nor as hateful as the aforementioned, but rather more complex and ambient, introducing drone, melody and psychedelia in measured quantities. Hence, dubbing _II_ as sludge/doom is a tad far-fetched and misleading. If anything, this kind of music is at best post/atmospheric hardcore with sludge leanings, so take that into consideration.

A couple of long, long tracks comprise the album, with broad and wide guitar strokes, simple and repetitive stoner-meets-punk choice of riffs, a wall of sound that sometimes can be masquerading musical flows (not suggesting any flows per se in this album, though), an average vocalist that's nothing but archetypal to the style with slight black metal leanings, and the usual rhythm section that alternates between speedy onslaughts and occasional breaks in the natural flow, with the emergence of slow, apocalyptic pounding and drone galore.

The album is well written and performed overall for what it's worth, and on that account nobody can complain, but for the most part it is a faceless album having no personality par excellence. You might have heard the same album performed by other sludge doomsters, but in the end, _II_ is a middle of the road effort that's neither too offensive nor ear-splitting in its dissonant architecture. Sure, the ritualistic drumming coupled with the background drones and the guitar solos are effective enough to warrant the album as worthy, in addition to the impressive technique with which the band build up their aural narrative tension, but ultimately, no wheels have been invented here -- just decent, well executed, mildly atmospheric, lightweight (an oxymoron?!) doom for the youth of today.

Contact: http://www.aestheticdeath.com/

(article published 24/3/2014)

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