Monday, October 08, 2012

Eryn Non Dae: Meliora (2012)

Improved, Against All Odds

Hydra Lernaia, the debut full-length of France’s Eryn Non Dae, made my list of the best metal albums of the last decade. A year later, I set out to write a complete review of the record, because there are so few out there, and what’s out there is usually misguided.

It’s easy to be misguided about these guys. They were clearly ahead of their time in 2009. Three years later, they’ve finally blessed us with a follow-up. Meliora is an incredibly difficult-to-define, love-it-or-hate-it experience. I will do my best to describe this music, but you should be aware that the description and list of influences do not adequately capture how they really sound. You must hear it for yourself.

I hate all djent. I hate all deathcore. I’m bored with three-fourths of groove metal and post-metal. How could all of those disparate genres be relevant to a single review? Well, clinically speaking, END has elements of all of those. It’s as if they took Gojira’s brand of groove metal, cherry-picked the few good parts of deathcore, ran it through the Meshuggah Algorithm to make it insane, and then threw in some weird post-metal guitar leads to make it even weirder. The vocals are drawn largely from the school of Meshuggah, although if anything they sound even less human.

That is the simplest way to describe it, but the description is too absurd to be of much use. It doesn’t sound like they’re cramming a bunch of influences together. It sounds like they are completely and purely doing their own thing. And they do it so well that it avoids all of the pitfalls that you might expect. The weird time signatures, dissonance, and djent chords are there, but they certainly don’t sound artificial or stilted; instead, they sound more genuinely like they get the feel of Meshuggah than anyone else. The “breakdowns” are so intricate that they certainly can’t be the product of the idiocy that fuels most deathcore. The atmospheric post-metal guitars are never relied-upon to push the music forward, which could be boring, but are there as one more layer of interest.

The above could describe either of their records, but Meliora is truly a step forward for the band. It seems a little less chaotic than its predecessor. The songs seem more measured, more planned, more coherent. There is of course a trade-off between chaos and coherence, but they’ve struck the right balance.

In the end, they have improved, against all odds. I love it. If you love Meshuggah, and get pissed off any time someone calls them a djent band, chances are you’ll love it too.

The Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy Meliora


  1. I get the feeling, from your description and the sample song at the bottom, that this record is just not for me. Since I've always struggled with Meshuggah, I guess that's no surprise.

  2. This is not really grabbing me either. I have made my opinions on Meshuggah pretty well known. I consider their early stuff vastly superior to their current sound.

  3. I suspect that may be the case for most of my readership. Meshuggah is pretty far outside the norm of what I cover, in a sense. I've also made my feelings about Meshuggah known, so you know they are deep in my musical DNA. It's just not often that I get into anything else technical. However, I do like their weirdness and their extremity.