Dirge - Hyperion (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Hyperion (2014)


While they began as an industrial band about 20 years ago, French group Dirge could fall more into the sludge metal camp these days. The group's latest, Hyperion, shoots for ambient yet dissonant guitars, falling somewhere between the heaviness of early Baroness and the expanse of early Mogwai. The post—rock keeps the metal from getting too blackened, while the metal keeps the post—rock from getting too flaccid. It's a winning move, for the most part.

Hyperion consists of six tracks, the shortest of which is eight—and—a—half—minute—long opener "Circumpolaris." The tune gradually builds to a shouted mess of a song (a dirge, if you will). It sets the slow, slow, very slow stoned out pace for the rest of the record. Dirge isn't in a hurry to crush to skulls, so while the riffs are heavy, the RPMs are certainly lax. Somewhat surprisingly, this mood holds up for the first five tracks. Song after song, Dirge explores a single, melancholic groove that works, whether in a car or in a bed. It's just heavy yet shoegazey enough to cover an entire day.

The lone dud is the 16—and—a—half—minute closer "Remanentie." While there's a good song in there somewhere (dig those hypnotic tribal drums), the song ultimately devolves into a massive fit of white noise. Most of the record skirts the line between melodic and droning; "Remanentie" tips over. But while it gives the record a bum finale, Hyperion gets so much right in the moments leading up to the end. It's five—sixths awesome droning noodly metal post—something—or—other goodness.