Having reviewed one record this week that dispensed with eight tracks in a mere fourteen minutes (that would be the mighty G.M.B.C then) we have now moved to the opposite extreme with Euclidean whose EP offers up a mere two tracks in the same amount of time. Hailing from Switzerland, a country that is increasingly placing itself at the forefront of extreme music with acts such as Coilguns, killbody tuning, Arkhan all having released remarkable works of late, Euclidean operate in the realm of atmospheric black metal (ice-cold riffs, doom-laden song structures and a strong progressive twist) previously inhabited by acts such as Khold and Satyricon. Couple this rarely explored realm of extreme music with the stunningly dark, evocative artwork of the EP which hints at the unexplored and the epic and you have a band poised to deliver something truly memorable and exciting.
Of the two tracks the opening track, ‘World of Democritus’ is as powerful a statement of intent as you could hope to hear. With the vocals dragged from the mouth of hell itself, musically, hints of Emperor are heard amidst the elegant structures the band weave and a strong, militaristic feel is incorporated into the music thanks to the martial percussion and carefully regimented riffs. However, there are other forces at work here and this becomes increasingly apparent as shimmering guitars weave their away across the shiny, black surface of the main riff drawing the track towards a conclusion that groans under its own doom-laden weight some five and a half minutes into the record. It is frighteningly well produced, the riffs powerful without overpowering the other instruments and the echoing thunder of the drums adding to the overall ambience of fatalism and despair.
The second track on the EP, the ten-minute epic ‘sphere of Elea’ opens with huge, sludge riffs of tremendous power, overlaid with delicately picked figures that flit in and out of view between the pulverising might of the percussion. The vocals are delivered with a level of seething hatred rarely heard, and yet for all that the music is extreme the effect is dense, hypnotic and mesmerising rather than repulsive. The music is enigmatic, constantly shifting and strangely beautiful, even as the riffs seek to smother the oxygen from the room with their sheer oppressive weight ; there is no doubt that fans of Isis and their ilk will be ecstatic to find a band who continue the journey that band started so well without re-treading the same ground.
At fifteen minutes Euclidean have given themselves a degree of space within which to operate, and they have certainly adhered to the showbiz maxim of ‘always leave them wanting more’, but ultimately the genre of post black metal is one that requires time and patience and the real test will be to see whether the band can stretch their hypnotic musings over a whole disc. On this evidence I would say that the band certainly can – the production (handled by the band themselves) is excellent and, with nods to Australian act The Alchemist (particularly on the second track), Isis, Blut Aus Nord as well as the aforementioned Satyricon and Khold, Euclidean have certainly chosen a rich heritage upon which to base their spacey sound. Available on the increasingly popular bandcamp platform, this is a beautiful, mysterious piece of music that will leave you longing to hear more from the band and it is certainly a piece of music worth exploring free from distraction, thus allowing you to hear the multiple nuances the band have worked into their sound. An intriguing and rather brilliant first step, we await further material from Euclidean with anticipation.
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