(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Scottish band DVNE, released on July 28 by Wasted State Records.)
You know what really grinds my gears?
Seeing/hearing people bleat on about how “there’s just no good new music out there anymore”, when, in truth, it’s never been simpler or easier to find something that caters to your specific tastes.
It’s a particularly frustrating attitude when you consider that the discovery of new music, whether on purpose or by accident, can be one of life’s great joys, and seeing people make such sweeping, and ill-informed statements – blithely dismissing, through their own ignorance/arrogance the absolute wealth of impressive, imaginative, and downright inspiring artists and albums out there – just pisses me off no end.
Of course I can kind of understand it if you’re used to simply passively consuming whatever you’re spoonfed by tv or radio – there’s only so much of the same shit that you can swallow after all, and only so many times you can regurgitate the same pre-chewed “opinions” before you actually make yourself sick – but the fact remains that it only takes about five minutes these days to find something new and exciting online.
Heck, sometimes it’s not even that hard. Sometimes you just stumble upon something that blows you away entirely by accident. Like I did a few months ago when I came across DVNE.
With two releases already to their name, the Edinburgh-based quartet were already a well-established and well-honed musical entity by the time I found them, but it has to be said that their new album demonstrates a sense of creativity and melodic maturity, not to mention a grasp of truly captivating, fearlessly progressive song-writing, above and beyond anything they’ve done before.
Imagine, if you will, a fusion of Crack the Skye-era Mastodon and Dwellings-period Cormorant, with perhaps a dash of Isis/Neurosis thrown in for good measure, and you’ll perhaps have some grasp of the manifold musical delights to be found on Asheran.
From the lithe, undulating riffs and scintillating melodies of opener “The Crimson Path” to the multi-layered, dreamlike tapestry of sound and sensation that closes “Scion”, DVNE take you on a phenomenal journey through a sublime sonic landscape of mountainous metallic riffs and majestic rivers of melody, here and there delving into deep valleys of rumbling groove or galloping across sweeping psychedelic plains with reckless abandon.
In between these two monolithic progressive pillars the listener is treated to one riveting display of Prog-Metal brilliance after another, every track packed with a blend of gorgeous melodic guitar work (“Descent of the Asheran”), harmony-drenched hooks (“Viridian Bloom”), and truly electric intensity (“Rite of the Seven Mournings”), powered by the prodigious percussive talents of drummer Dudley Tait and topped off with the striking dual harsh/clean vocal combo of Victor Vicart and Dan Barter.
What’s more, the task of picking out a particular stand-out track is rendered pretty much impossible by the sheer, unceasing quality on display across the album’s length and breadth. For although every track clearly has its own identity, its own unique twists and turns and evocative, enigmatic touches, each one also contributes equally to the greater whole, allowing the band to craft one hell of an epic musical narrative along the way.
This truly is a phenomenal release, and one that richly deserves all the praise it’s been getting online, and more. As a matter of fact I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see Asheran mentioned quite prominently in a few AOTY lists come December.