Just over two years ago, the London quintet The Ever Living bust the region’s post-metal scene wide open with their fantastic self-titled debut EP. Foreboding, cinematic and borderline apocalyptic in nature, the debut captured the ears, eyes and imaginations of many a listener and press type with it’s downbeat riffing, monolithic structures and it’s failsafe ability to conjure an engulfing atmosphere that felt like it signalled the end of days. Whilst it may have taken them a considerable amount of time, the band are finally on the cusp of releasing their follow up debut; Herephemine. More ambitious than it’s respective predecessor, it’s a record that attempts to indulge in a multitude of textures, dynamics and sonic colours.
The sheer tower intensity found within their aforementioned EP is not only evidently omnipresent but amplified to a stunningly devastating level. This isn’t a record that warmly greets you and gradually introduces you to the blanketing themes, constructs and ideologies found within. From the very get go, opener ‘The Great Defeatist’ swarms you with it’s iron tidal breath, drowning you in forever darkening despondency. As the moniker suggests, it’s a bleak, pessimistic preface to an outing that offers no respite from such forsaken ideals and themes. Such a statement is only reinforced by the monumental second track ‘New Mutiny’, which further expands on the lyrical concepts and sonic symphonies present in a grandiose fashion, incorporating a sense of universal decay and exile through wide spanning post-metal and sparsely implemented vocals.
Whilst this record is certainly multitextured and dynamic, swinging from rage to condemned melancholia whilst contained within a consuming maelstrom, it would be challenging to label it as prismatic and multicoloured. Such a term implies a level of multitude and contrast between lyrical themes, human emotion and sonic philosophy, whereas the dominating emotional state expressed here is one of despair, grief and perturbation.
Of course, this is by no means a criticism in itself. This after all is a post-metal record at heart and in sound, a genre that is mostly reserved for expressing such listed emotions and effects of the human nature, something that Herephemine excels at. The reserved and limited amount of programming and electrics further compliment the droning and expressive riffage contained within and the harsh vocal efforts complimentary of frontman Andrei Allen are voluminous and vast in depth and expression.
However, where the group excel in conjuring such dense and immersive atmospherics, such a lack of diversity may be the bane for listeners. Clocking in at 66 minutes, this by no means a brief adventure and the album never deters away from such despondency or it’s formula. Some of the instrumental tracks featured loose some of the continuous momentum along the way and some of the longer tracks linger without offering much content whilst slightly rehashing structures that are utilised within the record. It’s not a titanic issue but it does feel a slight trim would be complementary in some aspects to create a more comprehensible listen. But yet, such skill and musicianship are undeniable and the emotions conveyed are tangible and cinematic in nature.
It’s easy to draw parallels of this debut and the full-length debut of Devil Sold His Soul, who’s ceremonial A Fragile Hope constructed the emotive foundations of which Herephemine sits upon. It’s by no surprise that Johnny Renshaw was at the producing helm of this record, adding the vivid emotional rage that made his band, the aforementioned Devil Sold His Soul, so popular. In all, Herephemine is by no means a brief listen and may be a touch too daunting for listeners seeking a more compact adventure, but this is still a desolate and forsaken journey that is certainly worth travelling.