As you should know by this point, I am a huge proponent of post-rock, especially when it is done extremely well. Lane and I did a month-long column on the genre last year called “Post-Rockgust” and every day since I posted my last installation in that column, I have sincerely regretted leaving out one band: Dirge. This band is phenomenal in every aspect and I fell in love with them after listening to their 2011 album Elysian Magnetic Fields (albeit, quite a while after its release) and the other day I learned that the band was releasing a new record this year. And then I got the record, titled Hyperion and… Holy shit. It usually takes Dirge a while to release new albums and I can see why. They have a ton of shit to work through and perfect and they’ve done it.
The first song on Hyperion is the astonishing opener “Circumpolaris” which harkens back to the last A Storm Of Light record that I loved so much. Coming in at eight-and-a-half minutes of madness and sludge, this track honestly doesn’t feel that long. I could listen to it for days on end. But then you have the next track “Floe” which incorporates a bit more static and melody into the mix, keeping the heaviness and power quite apparent however. I get a slight early-era Mastodonian vibe on this song which his never a bad thing, I can say. Vocally, I love Marc’s vocal execution: raw and stunning growls and beautifully haunting clean vocals thrown into the mix together. His vocals towards the end of the track are some of the most tortured and harrowing I’ve heard in some time. It’s pain. It’s honest.
“Venus Claws” is the next track up and the third in a row that damn-near hits the nine minute mark. I think people with a short attention span when it comes to music may have tuned out by now, but if that is the case, you have seriously made a mistake. “Venus Claws” opens up with a beautiful acoustic intro before exploding into a frenzy of sludge and angst. There is a mesmerizing guitar run around the three minute mark that will hypnotize you. Seriously, I got lost in it. I find myself constantly closing my eyes and nodding slightly, listening to every single word of this song. The mixture of male growls, male clean vocals and female clean vocals all layered evenly throughout is astounding over this music.
The next track is what I assume is the title of the album is derived from, “Hyperion Under Glass.” The thundering music that slowly seeps in is like that of the heavens, harkening you towards the light. And then the unexpected happens and we enter into an acoustic interlude. This interlude leads us into the meat of the song, which, while being heavy, is probably the lightest song on the record. It’s still a force to be reckoned with, but it isn’t as crushing as those that came before it. Again, the vocal layering is astounding and I can’t help but get caught up in the pure emotion of it all. The creepy synth that comes into play in this song is almost unnerving with how foreboding it is.
“Filigree” marks the first track to break the nine minute mark, coming in at almost eleven minutes. The intro is dark and haunting and sounds like the opening of a psychological thriller. The track comes to fruition close to the two minute mark and the beautiful guitar work comes in immediately, quickly followed by Marc’s best clean vocal performance on the record. This track has my overall favorite guitar work, which is a spectacle all by itself. The albums final track is also its magnum opus, the sixteen-and-a-half minute “Remanentie.” This track is a guitarists wet dream, chock full of wonderfully choreographed riffing and the execution is otherworldly. The programming and aftereffects added to the track really add the creepy, haunting atmosphere that it needs to be exactly what it is. As we get closer to the end of the track, it takes a strange turn and we get bits and pieces of electronica effects thrown in but it doesn’t damage the track as a whole. For a sixteen minute track with absolutely no vocals, this is a beauty and a beast all in one. Dirge are amazing. That is all.
- Rating: 10/10
- Label: Debemur Morti Productions
- Release Date: March 14, 2014
- For fans of: A Storm Of Light, General Lee, Omega Massif
- Favorite track: “Filigree”