JUNE 13th 2013

Review by Anka

Finally I hear something new that is not metalcore coming out of France. Eclectika is a trio hailing from Dijon, France that formed more than 10 years ago. They label themselves as experimental/post-black metal. Being a sort of fan of the genre, I expected a LOT from their new album. So I guess this should serve as a warning that you’ll not hear what you think you’ll hear.

Eclectika‘s new album “Lure of Ephemeral beauty” starts off pompously with a cinematic, well-written part that will definitely get your attention and raise your expectations. What follows may or may not lose your interest. If you are a fan of mellow repetitive black metal with operatic vocals, I can anticipate you’ll like most of the album. If not, look away.  

There’s black metal, but it’s a rather modern, simplistic type, more like black’n’roll, if I may say so, ‘cause I am not even sure if it is generally accepted that black’n’roll is a genre. However the mood is dark and gloomy, and the feeling derives mostly from repetitiveness and the keyboard effects.

All the bombastic orchestral arrangements are gone and won’t be heard in their fullness throughout the album again. Some attempts happen, but they are not integrated very well and even sound forced in at times. There are some beautiful melodic lines in the riffing, and there is a good atmospheric experience altogether, but I don’t feel there’s anything new in there. The blend of black metal vocals and female operatic vocals works pretty well, and yet I feel they could have done more in that direction.

I didn’t like the female vocals production, it just doesn’t work for me. I would assume it’s a bit of a more difficult mix when you deal with operatic vocals, but nevertheless the raw, “out of the picture” feeling is not to my liking in this case.  Singer Noemie Sirandre has a beautiful, angelic voice, mostly in the mezzo and soprano range and she sounds like she could be part of a band like Therion at any time.  Unfortunately there’s not much to back her up and like I said, the mix doesn’t do her justice.

I didn’t quite get the Trauma 835 song, which is, well, experimental but only at the synth level and nothing else. Good moments? Acoustic guitar passages like on “Room Nineteen”, “Sweet Melancholia”, “Aokigahara”, are definitely the highlight of the album for me. The last track is a rather atmospheric instrumental that is actually worth checking out if you’re in the mood.

Definitely not an album meant to reach out into an untapped fan-base. It is their third, but in many ways it sounds like a first release. Maybe the fans of female-fronted metal and of the new variations of black metal will give this a chance, but this is not an album to keep on the favorites list for long.