Eclectika last came to the attention of SonicAbuse with ‘dazzling Dawn’ an album we felt offered a clear sense of ambition hampered by a production that failed to match the grand vision of Sebastien Regnier, the musical mastermind behind the project. Here, alongside returning vocalist Aurelien Pers and new addition Noemie Sirandre we return to the dark expanses of Sebastien’s imagination to find that Eclecktika are now more than living up to the tantalising promise displayed on ‘Dazzling Dawn’. With the song-writing tighter than before and the production easily matching the depth of vision on offer, ‘Lure of ephemeral beauty’ is Eclectika’s defining statement to date, offering a bold musical journey that incorporates black metal, ambient and much more over the course of its ten tracks.
One lesson you will learn quickly is not to out this album on without checking the volume of your stereo first – the thunderous opening couples the sound of a thousand war drums beating in unison with huge quasi-orchestral synth lines to create a sense of occasion as the listener passes ‘through the supernova remnant’. It is a statement of intent from the band – a gauntlet thrown down, showcasing a much stronger production from the off and an even more intricate emphasis on subtlety and shifting soundscapes, moving from the epic to the monstrous with fluid grace. The guitars appear on the title track, scything into view with a groove that is reminiscent of Satyricon’s relentless blackened groove. The vocals are laden with venom whilst Noemie’s sweet counterpoint reminds the listener once more of Paradise Lost’s ‘gothic’ album (a strong influence on the last record), her operatic tones providing the soothing balm after the scarifying screams that tear through the verse. It is dark, sensuous music, clad in black majesty and although the production is still pared to the bone, a grand job has been done to maintain each instrument’s clarity and power and the album feels all the stronger for it. ‘Cyclic anagnorisis’ is a thrilling piece of black metal, that veers between dizzying blasts of churning guitar and throbbing low-end menace before the dark, progressive menace of ‘room nineteen’ sees things take a seedy, lustful turn.
The mood of the album continues to turn towards darker things with ‘Sophist’s death: legacy and bitter tears’, a doom-laden track of real power that mixes up huge swathes of orchestral noise with the echoes of screams and avant-garde sheets of guitar before coalescing into a mid-tempo black metal trawl through despair and loss. ‘Trauma 835’ is an unnerving ambient track that shimmers and groans in the blackness like a long-lost addition to the Alien films, before ‘sweet melancholia’ washes the fear away in a tranquil moment of sublime beauty which allows Noemie a chance to shine on her own, which she grasps with both hands. ‘Les sept vertus capitales’ returns to more familiar territory, contrasting the scabrous horror of Aurelien’s tortured tones against the operatic beauty of Noemie over a blistering black metal backing. The brilliantly titled ‘handicapped sex in a mental orgy’ filters the power of black metal through the elemental avant-garde eccentricity of Sonic Youth and, as such, proves to be the outstanding highlight of the album before the instrumental coda of ‘aokigahara’ rounds out the disc with a sound that captures the epic vision of the album in one last orchestral flourish.
That Eclectika were good was never in doubt. However, ‘dazzling dawn’ never quite seemed to reach the full limit of its potential and here the band have corrected the mistakes of the past, demonstrating the fact that they are not only good, but great. The hitherto suspected ambition, here comes bursting to the fore whilst in new vocalist Noemie, Eclectika have found the perfect foil to Aurelien’s ravaged screams. All that said, it must be remembered that this is still an album that operates in the realms of the extreme – it is powerful, horrifying and it requires work and patience if you wish to appreciate the rich wealth of musical innovation that ripples under the blackened surface. A brilliant follow-up to ‘dazzling dawn’, Eclectika are fulfilling their potential and ‘lure of ephemeral Beauty’ is a grand work of which the band should be rightly proud. Epic, ambitious and even beautiful, make sure you add this to your collection.
Find out more at the band’s official website here.