Eryn Non Dae. is a refreshing math metal act from Toulouse, France, formerly known as End.. Personally, hearing this album was a nice change of pace, as the sound is definitely more niche than anything else that has been coming down the pipe. The music is hard to compare to other math metal bands, or any other bands in general, but I found it to reside somewhere between Meshuggah and Neurosis. I intend for that comparison to be taken loosely. With that said, their latest release, Hydra Lernaia, is something that will most likely appeal to a much smaller demographic than what may be desired.
At first glance, it’s easy to notice one thing: Eryn Non Dae. likes to end sentences. So much so, that they deemed it necessary to include a period in the spelling of their name. Twice (that’s right, the two dots after their old name up top are not a typo, nor a half-assed ellipsis). It is completely annoying to use their name in this review, as the auto-correct in my word processor is constantly changing any letter following their name to a capital. I am not sure if I’m complaining or just making an observation, but at any rate, I found it bizarre enough to mention.
Now it’s time to talk about what actually matters. Eryn Non Dae.’s sound is intricate, discordant, sometimes experimental, and always heavily laden with polyrhythm. It may not appeal to the masses, but in my opinion (and that’s all that matters here), it has some serious kick-ass moments. They have done math metal quite well, making sure that the structure is somehow simultaneously by-the-books and unique. Because of this, I have no doubts that they must have a dedicated following, albeit small, that they are more than worthy of. Particularly noteworthy are the drums, which I felt were masterfully executed and always deserving of attention. The guitars have the perfect amount of variance, meandering back and forth from chuggy and sludgy to discordant and ethereal. My favorite example of this is the closing track, “Pure”, which is also the only semblance of a catchy song on all of Hydra Lernaia.
The vocals have a gritty and depraved feel about them, but they are pretty monotone. I didn’t see this as a huge problem on Hydra Lernaia, but it did slightly detract from the overall experience. The atonal music coupled with the monotone vocals made it hard to stay focused on Eryn Non Dae. during most listens, and I ended up tuning out and using them as background music. I don’t mean to make them sound like they’re boring, because that’s certainly not the case, but at the same time, the band did have a little trouble garnering my undivided attention. It almost seems strange to come to this conclusion, as any time that I actually concentrated on the music, I was really quite impressed.
Lastly, the production job sounds intentionally fuzzy. I say this because despite the noticeable raspy-ness, I couldn’t imagine this album sounding any different. It almost seems perfect, and for some reason, I feel that if it were crisp and clear, it may serve to cheapen the experience. After a while, the fuzzy production melds as part of the music, and it becomes almost natural to overlook it. Describing this aspect of Hydra Lernaia has been the most daunting task of this entire review, because quite frankly, it really doesn’t make any sense that it should work. I’m the type of guy to shake my head at Dark Throne for not making the most of their sound, but Eryn Non Dae. completely gets away with highway robbery in that department.
In closing, I feel that Eryn Non Dae. has achieved exactly what they set out to do, and I must commend them for this. It’s not the catchiest album by any means, but for people who listen to their music with a graphing calculator, Hydra Lernaia will most likely be one of the more significant releases this year. People looking for solid, beguiling structure and head-banging rides should definitely keep at bay, however – this album will do nothing for you. If you like Meshuggah or want to dabble in something more accessible than most of the experimental metal available, I would suggest checking these guys out.
01. When Time Elapses
02. Blistering Hate
03. Existence Asleep
04. The Decline And Fall
05. Lam Tsol Oua
06. Through Dark Skies
07. Opposites From Within
08. Echoes Of Distress