Au-Dessus — End Of Chapter
In the midst of an explosion of black metal bands, on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, Lithuania's Au-Dessus drops their debut full-length album, End Of Chapter. Instead of going the typical routes of either leaning heavily on the atmospheric aspects of modern black metal, or skewing hard in the opposite direction and opting for more traditional, old school black metal, Au-Dessus include it as but one of the many genres that informs their sound. The resulting collection of material is a unique, intriguing approach to some time-tested genres and progressive metal as a whole.
The album opens with slow-building, dissonant riffing and establishes the pacing for much of the record. The guitar tones are sharp and, aside from distortion, don't sound overly laden with effects and processing. The vocals are a cross between your typical sludge and black metal screams and wretches, but are also fleshed out with clean backing vocals which drone in and out at various points. The riffs are a mixture of slick, palm-muted grooves and sour, dissonant notes and textbook black metal tremolo runs. Au-Dessus combine their various influences very well, rather than writing segments in one style and mashing them together.
As someone who can appreciate Eyehategod and Emperor, a record like End Of Chapter really hits the spot. With only 7 tracks and a 46:35 running time, Au-Dessus do require a bit of a time investment, but the payoff is worth it. The long, sprawling songs build to satisfying explosions of black metal fury and sludge groove. With only a self-titled EP to their name, the band acquits itself very well as song writers on their debut album. Nothing feels belaboured or monotonous despite the long track lengths, and the entirety of the record sounds cohesive and coherent.
In such a splintered music world, it's easy for a band like Au-Dessus to completely escape notice. End Of Chapter is an engaging, caustic and nuanced metal record that warrants a look by anyone who considers themselves a fan of progressive metal. The album has it all: slow, brooding builds, tasty midtempo grooves and flashes of all-out blastbeat frenzy — all tastefully executed. I've gotten a lot of value from repeat listenings of this album and strongly recommend giving it your attention; another quality post-black metal album for the masses.
A strong progressive metal release from 2017, Au-Dessus successfully combine elements of black metal, hardcore, sludge, and post-metal into a thick, hearty mix on End Of Chapter. A strong debut effort from an interesting project; I highly recommend this record to anyone with an appreciation for caustic, sprawling metal tracks that run well beyond the typical 3-4 minute song length. Three quarters of an hour afford the band time to showcase the depth and variety in their sound, and End Of Chapter has me keen to hear more material from the band in future releases.
Release date: May 19th, 2017
Record label: Les Acteurs de L'Ombre Productions
Mantas — vocals, bass
Simonas — guitar
Jokūbas — guitar
Šarūas — drums
- XII: End Of Chapter
Published: October 19th, 2018.