Funeral doom as a genre plays to a niche of fans that like their metal utterly crushing and full of forlorn. In general, it requires a certain amount of stamina to play as greater emphasis is placed on each note to create that all-encompassing sensation of foreboding; You are expected to explore every valley and peak of the soundscape created, rather than just the arrangement. It’s a story played in notes and textures, above lyrics and aesthetics.
Ennui (meaning “boredom” in French) elegantly paints a gloomy frame with each album and their latest, ‘End of the Circle’, is no less engaging than their previous releases. The two-piece outfit hails from Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, a region of the world known for its polyphony roots, an aspect that is apparent in the music of David Unsaved and Sergi Sengalia.
‘End of the Circle’ consists of three lengthy dirges full of heavily down-tuned guitars and tormented thinking, the perfect outlay for a funeral doom record.
First track, “End of the Circle”, changes paces at several points but consistently maintains the pace of a slow slog to the inevitable. Easily the best track on the album with its strummed guitars and ethereal keyboards, but also the one track that will test your endurance at 33 minutes and 45 seconds.
Second track, “The Withering Part I – Of Hollow Us” is holds onto its beat for longer periods but rarely ever lets up on its grinding march. Also has a nifty post-rock segment at the half way mark, but that just allows the empty space to be filled with the overbearing guitars to bring back to reality of the subject content of the album: the cyclical nature of pain.
Third track, “The Withering Part II – Of Long-Dead Stars”, guitars are tuned to a higher setting to highlight the final track’s foreshadowed ending and what a gloriously stretched out ending it is.
The ‘End of the Circle’ weaves in and out of the valleys the band reaches during the quieter, more ambient moments of the album, giving a sparse minute to catch your breath before the guitars pick up and the drudgery hammers in, not unlike the dull throbs of pain as one’s heart beats steadily.
The vocals are executed superbly; the guitar work is mesmerizing along with the minimalist keyboard approach and the overlaid instruments give ‘End of the Circle’ that brooding atmosphere so compelling in doom metal.
Many say a band is only as good as their last release , so how does this release measure up to Ennui’s previous record, ‘Falsvs Anno Domini’?
The difference can be heard in the hammering drums as they take a step back to allow the keyboards and low-key synths more room to spread out and weave the mood. The guitars sound and feel a little less fuzzy thanks higher production values, improving overall album quality.
Holistically, ‘End of the Circle’ stays true to its name: Every time you think there’s an ending, it unfolds itself, creating a new dreamscape to let your mind wander until the next passage is heralded in with a heavy riff and a growled confession – you end where you started. This album will test your mettle as each song stretches well over 20 minutes and unless you’re in a comfortable position with coffee, you might get distracted.
Ennui continue to produce expansive and likable funeral doom metal and ‘End of the Circle’ shines as another example of how to subtly tweak your sound whilst remaining wonderfully consistent. Give this album a listen and let your senses go for a stroll.
‘End of the Circle’ is out 5 September 2018 through Non Serviam Records.
Get a sneak peak at the album:
‘End of the Circle’ Track Listing:
1. End Of The Circle
2. The Withering Part I – Of Hollow Us
3. The Withering Part II – Of Long-Dead Stars
David Unsaved – Vocals, guitars, keyboards
Sergi Sengalia – Backup vocals, guitars, drums
- - 7.5/107.5/10