It’s still soon, but not too soon, to forecast that the new album of the Lithuanian post-black metal band Au-Dessus will become one of this year’s best albums. The first two advance songs from the album are that good. The first one appeared earlier this month, and the second one is here for you to discover today.
The band’s first release was a self-titled EP (albeit a 30-minute EP) released in 2015. Its five tracks were labeled “I” through “V”. The new album is named End of Chapter, and the song titles pick up where the first release left off, beginning with “VI” and closing with “XII: End of Chapter“, which is the enormously powerful song we’re bringing you today.
The song that debuted earlier this month is “XI”, the song that precedes the closer that we have for you now. As I wrote after I first heard it, it’s a mind-bending piece, heaving and oppressive, pavement-cracking and eerie, a hybrid of deep sludgy riffs and flesh-rending vocals, percussive cannonades and wraith-like guitar vibrations. It builds in intensity and destructive power, coiling the tension like a big winding spring and then releasing it in a glorious display of shimmering, heart-pounding melody.
“XII: End of Chapter” is no less daunting or emotionally wrenching. As it unfolds, it’s burly and swaggering, dissonant and dire, and then lacerating and maniacal, the guitar seething and whipping in a deranged fury over the deep drive of a pummeling rhythm section. The voice you hear is a chasm filled with tortured souls; it reaches truly stunning heights of torment and agony.
There is an interlude in the song, the pace slowing to a collapsing crawl through a lake of tears. It’s beautiful in the strange way that the raw wound of intense grief can become beautiful when manifested in musical terms. The song adds a further fascination when Au-Dessus preserve that aching melody — except in incinerating form — when they erupt in another display of shock and awe, with that voice rising in soul-searing cries of emotional turmoil. Even the solo guitar instrumental at the end oozes pain.
Perhaps it’s premature to begin making forecasts of success for the entire album on the strength of two songs, but I don’t think it’s a risky gamble. Listen for yourselves and make your own judgments.
End of Chapter will be released on May 19th by Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions. The album’s cover, which is one you’re not likely to forget after seeing it, was created by Valnoir of Metastazis, whose niece Mathilde was the model and whose eyes (instead of coins) you will see in the following video.
Below you can listen not only to the song we’re premiering, but the one that precedes it on the album. To pre-order, go here (digital pre-orders are available at the Au-Dessus Bandcamp, linked below):