The oversaturation of a music genre begets much interesting discussion and (usually) tiresome shit talking. And I get it – it can be disheartening to see something you’re into become a manufactured shell of its former self. Still, just because there are a lot of bands aiming towards a specific sound it does not necessarily invite staleness or unoriginality; there’s a reason why the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a thing. Metide attest to this wonderfully, showcasing how a crystallized genre such as post-metal can sound exciting while staying true to its sonic blueprints through their second full-length record Erebos.
What instantly gravitated me towards this album is its sense of release, a genuine manifestation of pent-up confusion that is interpreted and streamlined through solid songwriting. Every beat and melody placement, along with the flow between each track, feels intentional in ways that are immediately tangible – not to mention the battering production that accompanies it. It’s all a voyage into and out of darkness that perfectly alludes to the record’s title – a deity from Greek mythology that symbolizes its personification.
The plunge begins with “Acheron” and its swirling orchestration of synthesized distortion, clean guitar leads in conjunction with dizzying pick scrapes, oscillating whispers, and impending drum tom grooves, leading way to a collection of riffs that are both grand and hard-hitting. The band’s use of space further amplifies the murkiness and enveloping nature of the instrumentation, which is applicable to any track found on Erebos. This is also true for their subtler, more eccentric passages: such is the case with “Styx”, where psychedelic musings coexist with borderline-grunge vocal wails, impressively giving an edge to this otherwise despairing track.
Speaking of the vocals, they certainly hold their own and complement the temperamental nature of the record very well. Tough as nails yet keen on musicality, the way they are delivered displays a power that is not overbearing while also not being afraid to flow along with the atmospheres conjured by each track. This is evident on tracks like “Lethe” and “Phlegethon”, where the solemness of the melodies found on the former meshes solidly with the grittiness of the vocal performance, while the latter sports a sludgy demeanor that is of course a stellar pairing with vocals such as these.
Erebos is not without its surprises, as electronic embellishments make their way through it in a tasteful fashion, adding more depth and weight to this foray into darkness Metide instill on you. These can be perceived on tracks like “Acheron” and “Phlegethon” as subtle textural enhancements, but the meat of it is found on two of the album’s shortest tracks, “Cocytus” and the title track. “Cocytus” is akin to reaching towards the very bottom of a pit – complete darkness surrounding the song as heavily compressed percussions muddle the accompanying unnerving strings and shouts that could only be explained as desperate pleas, particularly evident through the repeating line ‘hold me closer to you‘. In a similar vein, the title track introduces a harrowing piano lead soundtracking an onslaught of distorted cries, moans, and whimpers, trading places with harsh walls of noise that crush what little space is left on the song – all juxtaposed by a sullen monologue that sets this almost hypnotizing tone to ultimately execute a fitting closer to an overall visceral record.
Erebos is undoubtedly an album worthy of being included alongside solid post-metal releases of this year. Metide take great care in studying and appreciating this beloved genre while simultaneously introducing parts of their own sound and personality to present a fresh, well-rounded final product that excels at balancing heaviness and atmosphere rather seamlessly – a successful effort at personifying darkness through sound, I’d point out. If this is just their sophomore album, then it’s safe to say that whatever future releases the band may have in store might just leave us surprised.