It’s not that often that sludge and stoner rock/metal gets progressive but progressive Scottish experimentalists Dvne most certainly are….particularly on fascinating new album, Etemen Ænka!
Admittedly, Etemen Ænka is not a massive step away from the kind of output that has seen Mastodon become masters of the craft over the last decade or so but Dvne should not be marked down for treading a similar path; especially when their music is this interesting, this fearless and this poised.
We’re in progressive metal territory so you’re already expecting long songs which journey through all manner of transitional elements and Dvne, in that respect, do not disappoint. It helps that the Dvne use keyboards judiciously, balance shifts in rhythm expertly and harmonise beautifully. It also helps that the huge sound the band are going for comes across as well as it does, with its wall of sound aesthetic conveyed with drama and a sense of identity.
Heavy as all fuck when necessary, subtle and emotive when warranted, this is a band who have taken the eye-opening potential found on 2017 debut, Asheran, and truly kicked things up to the next level. Anyone already familiar with Asheran will appreciate the magnitude of that statement.
It’s worth repeating that Dvne’s use of synths really has added another dimension to their already formidable sound. Opposed to feeling ‘tacked on’, Richard Matheson’s synths have been utilised in a manner that serve the songs perfectly; becoming just as integral to Dvne’s overall sound as the pulse of Dan Barter’s drums and Dudley Tait’s bass and Dan Barter and Victor Vicart’s expressive riffs.
With each song building and building into a climax of orgasmic proportions (ooh err missus), it’s nigh on impossible to pick out highlights as Etemen Ænka‘s grand narrative must be experienced in its entirety if maximum fulfilment is desired. Suffice to say, use “SÍ-XIV” (conveniently provided above) as a primer and then dive into the whole damn thing.
Enough gushing. We shall conclude as follows….
You can file Dvne’s Etemen Ænka right next to Iotuun‘s Access All Worlds and Stortregn’s Impermanence as progressive metal albums you NEED to hear in 2021! 8/10
Dvne’s Etemen Ænka was released on March 19th, 2021 via Metal Blade Records.