When we speak of an album as “ambitious”, we might mean different things — perhaps as little as a band simply trying to do something they’ve never attempted before, or perhaps as momentous as when a group reaches toward high levels of songwriting extravagance and performance intensity that, if successful, could leave listeners shaken or spellbound, or mentally and emotionally altered, to a degree that more commonplace achievements don’t achieve. On their new album Cosmogenie, Dysylumn’s ambitions are of the latter kind, but don’t stop there.
The album is also a massive work, extending in length to an hour and a half. And conceptually it spans three separate-yet-unified chapters, each one with its own cover art, with subjects that include (to quote from press materials for the album) “the creation of everything from nothing, in the immensity of emptiness; the formation of the primordial chaos, forming little by little the concretization of the elements; and these same elements that disperse in an infinite space until their extinction.” And thus the three chapters in the album are respectively named Apparition, Dispersion, and Extinction.
Of course, ambitions are merely goals. The loftier the ambitions, the greater the difficulty in achieving them and the higher the risk of failure. In the case of music, the test of success is in the listening. What we have for you today is a part of that test for Dysylumn, a premiere of the second Part of Cosmogenie’s second chapter, “Dispersion“, in advance of the album’s release on October 9th by Signal Rex.
Cosmogenie as a whole really is a titanic work, not merely in its length but also in the breadth of the experiences that it creates as it moves from the opening track through the last one. Black metal provides the sturdy scaffolding for this French duo, but what they’ve erected from that platform is quite extraordinary and elaborate, a visionary creation that’s worthy of the grand scale of their conceptual narrative.
While “Dispersion II” doesn’t fully capture or by itself represent the album as a whole, it is a sure sign of how brilliant, and how wrenching, the music can become within Cosmogenie. By itself, it’s elaborate, dynamic, multi-faceted, and capable of leaving a listener both spellbound and shaken. And the changes that occur within the song happen fluidly and often with masterful subtlety, but are nonetheless unmistakable.
Launched with a pounding rhythm, the song unveils a dancing melodic harmony that glitters with sparkling energy. The vocals, by contrast, are deep and grim – and high and lacerating. When the momentum subsides, the glittering quality of the music persists, but the mood of the melody becomes shadowed with a sense of tension and simmering angst. The drums and bass thunder again, but the melody now seems feverishly distraught, and the roaring and screaming vocals reach new heights of harrowing despair.
Still, there’s a sweeping, near-celestial quality to the music, which mounts in urgency as the snare snaps at the listener’s neck and also subsides into uneasy tones that begin coiling the tension again through jittery fretwork and seething sonic waves. The pain and rage in the vocals is unrelenting, and keeps the feeling of a knife under the listener’s throat even as the music crests again in a panoramic finale that’s both splendid and haunting.
Signal Rex obviously knows how special Cosmogenie is, and thus on October 9th will release it on triple-CD, triple-vinyl LP, and triple-tape formats (as well as digitally).
If you allow the player below to continue running you’ll also have a chance to hear the previously released track “Extinction I“, which prompted these impressions when I first heard it:
“Earth-rumbling depth in the low end, a gripping drum performance, and riffs that savagely rake and seethe with unnerving dissonance… plus the shining trill of beguiling but beleaguered guitar melodies and varied forms of spine-tingling vocal intensity — all of these qualities make the song a transfixing experience (and a disturbing one).”