B-Mac Album Review: Dvne, Etemen Ænka

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

Metal Blade Records has been longed celebrated as one of the best independent metal labels ever created. Next to Nuclear Blast, Metal Blade has a slew of heavy metal acts that come from all walks of life. From progressive to death, metalcore, stoner, avant-garde, sludge, and black metal, this label has it all. Recently, they just signed a new band out of Scotland that uses sci-fi themes and imagery to along with their sludgy, progressive style that is combined with stoner rock. They call themselves Dvne, and they just created their first Metal Blade album, Etemen Ænka. I am big on sci-fi, so hearing lyrics of that nature with this type of metal music intrigues me. Sophomore albums are tough because it either helps establish the artist or breaks them, so let us find out if this record can surpass their debut, Asheran. 

We start with “Enûma Elis.” Sound kicks in after 25 seconds of silence, and then a progressive guitar riff enters. Victor Vicart and Daniel Barter both perform stellar stoner soaked guitar licks while also being aggressive on the vocals. “Towers” is a monster of a song, filled with sonic, sludge sounding riffs and singing that is even more vicious. Vicart does an excellent job adding a pop vibe through the synthesizer. The bass line was exceptional, thanks to Jack Kavanagh. “Court of the Matriarch” is introduced through Dudley Tait’s jazz influenced drumming. He is like Buddy Rich and Mike Portnoy rolled into one. The song goes into different phases, first gentle as a lamb, then raging like a beast in a cage, finishing in the middle with an up-tempo beat. Vicart and Barter are a killer guitar duo on this tune. Up next is “Weighing of the Heart.” Robertson tantalizes the listener with a hypnotic keyboard melody as she speaks mysterious words. This then leads into “Omega Severer.” Strangely, the melody in the beginning is similar to Linkin Park’s “Somewhere I Belong.” I really dug the hellacious roars Vicart was belting out as he and Barter put me in a trance with their soloing that enraptured me. Robertson continues to dazzle on keyboards and her siren-like singing.

We come to the halfway point of Etemen Ænka as we listen to “Adræden.” It is very atmospheric with keyboard melody on loop, adding some electronica feel to it. Trippy as hell and very sci-fi influenced. “Sì-XIV” is the first single. Dvne are a collective unit on this song, combining the elements of electronica music with their stoner/sludge sound. Tait is adaptable with his drumming, changing it up each sequence of the song to match the mood. The guitar work is impeccable, full of pure progressive adrenaline. “Mleccha” is another solid number as Dvne continues to explore the boundaries of mating progressive and stoner metal together. Kavanagh and Tait attack the rhythmic section with precision and excellence. This song is pure Mastodon inspiring. “Asphodel” brings the group down a peg as Robertson sings very sweetly. It has a folklore feel with the simple guitar melody accompanying the ambient keyboard beat. It is very lovely. Etemen Ænka concludes the 11 minute epic “Satuya.” This song is all heart and desire as each member performs with fiery intensity. It is not until 4:30 into the song that Vicart screams his lungs out. I love how the sound keeps building and then slowly dies down to an ambient pulse. This is the swan song off the album.

Dvne have taken what they created from Asheran and built it up further on epic scale with Etemen Ænka. Produced once again by Graeme Young, this album does surpass their debut in a big way. It is like listening to Dream Theater, Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age, and Superjoint all at the same time. Metal Blade sure have an eye talent because these guys make a fine addition to their ever-growing roster. To Dvne, I salute you. Horns up!!!

10/10

Track Listing:

01. Enûma Eliš
02. Towers
03. Court Of The Matriarch
04. Weighing Of The Heart
05. Omega Severer
06. Adræden
07. Sì-XIV
08. Mleccha
09. Asphodel
10. Satuya

Follow Dvne on their social media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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