Just as cynics and would-be music fans continue to lament over the shifting dynamics of the music industry, voicing distaste for modern mainstream music whilst simultaneously refusing to take the time to dig any deeper, it’d be easy to claim that the post-metal genre is becoming somewhat saturated by a crop of bands churning out the same mix of atmospheric and metallic intensity that has underpinned the genre since its formation. However, with a little more research, acts like Ddent are not too far off.
This Parisian duo’s debut LP, آكتئاب, was a stunning affair that saw sprawling masterpieces full of mournful tones and psychedelic grandeur – in fact, it’d be doing it a disservice to call it simply post-metal. Strangely, then, it’s almost unsurprising to say that follow-up Toro is even more expansive, experimental and transcendent than its predecessor. It is simultaneously the band’s heaviest and most accessible work to date, capable of moments of post-rock-esque elegance as well as those of doom metal-esque intensity. Though it’s instantly loveable for its dense atmospheres and enchanting musicality, Toro grows increasingly rewarding with each listen, consistently enthralling enough to make you forget – or, more accurately, not notice to begin with – the absence of vocals.
The way multi-instrumentalist Louis Lambert and drummer Marc Le Saux construct a song is intricate and considered, with graceful melodies and gloomy atmospherics building tension, proving just as captivating as the moments of out-and-out metallic power they occasionally give way to. These moments of doom-driven riffs are far-and-away the project’s most thrilling encounters to date, but the duo’s penchant for exploratory songwriting means you never come to expect them, and as a result, their impact is consistently bolstered by catching you unawares.
Imitating the nature of thought, which this album inspires you to get lost in, each of Toro’s movements flows into the next, creating one seamless piece of music that tells a narrative through a rich tapestry of boundary-pushing metal.
Toro is out now on Chien Noir. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr