Posted on: October 8th, 2009 MCD reviewed @ JudasKIss webzine

Eibon – Eibon MCD (Aesthetic Death Records)
Written by Simon Collins

Original post

This self-titled MCD from Parisian doom outfit Eibon is the band’s second release, following their 2007 split with Hangman’s Chair. Eibon was founded in 2005 by bassist Stéphane Rivière and drummer Jerome Lachaud, both formerly of Horrors Of The Black Museum, with the line-up being completed by the addition of singer Georges Balafas (ex-Drowning) and guitarist Max Hedin (also ex-Horrors…).

Classily presented in a monochrome digipack sleeve bearing imagery of jagged precipices and bleak horizons, this release consists of two long tracks, totalling 22-and-a-half minutes of playing time. ‘Asleep And Threatening’ gets right down to business with tumultuous drum-rolls and ominous whines of feedback, before a ferociously downtuned guitar riff lumbers into earshot. As doom goes, this isn’t as slow as it gets, but this is a vast, authoritative, sludgy sound all the same, definitely within the ambit of bands like Eyehategod, Isis and Pelican.

Georges Balafas’ harshly growled vocals are the icing on the cake – I believe he’s singing in English, but to be honest it’s hard to tell, and the sleeve doesn’t include lyrics. In any case, the phrasing and delivery are spot on. At four and a half minutes, the song moves into a slow section with what sounds like sampled operatic vocals interspersed with doom-growls. There’s a lot of atmospheric rumble and swoosh behind the guitar which sounds like synth work, but if so, no-one’s owning up to it, and I guess it’s possible that this is all produced with effect pedals. The song builds to a dramatic climax with epic, chanted, Bathory-style background vocals. ‘Asleep And Threatening’ is powerful, coherent and attention-grabbing right from the start.

‘Staring At The Abyss’ is the slightly longer track, and if anything, it’s even more impressive than the first, opening with a lonely strummed acoustic guitar which fades into a hypnotically repetitive sludgy groove, bludgeoningly heavy yet retaining a melodic edge. At around three minutes, there’s an instrumental breakdown in which a tremelo lead delicately embroiders notes over the top of a massive bassy riff and spacey swooping tones, lending an almost Hawkwind-like psychedelic tinge, and there’s another long instrumental excursion at around seven minutes, the song eventually bowing out amid a black metal-style fusillade of fast picked notes and a swirling windstorm effect.

It’s not often that I play a disc by a band I’ve never heard before and feel so instantly impressed as I did with Eibon. Everything just clicks smoothly into place, everyone’s pulling their weight, and the production is clear, yet leaves just enough rough edges to give a bit of a kick. All too many new bands fall into the trap of thinking that sounding ‘professional’ entails using Pro Tools to buff all the passion and personality out of their music, but not this one. Eibon’s music manages the difficult feat of sounding sludgy, heavy and clear all at once. There are loads of little unobtrusive elements bubbling away beneath the surface of the music, yet the band never neglects their core mission objective of huge riff delivery.

Even the brief running time of the CD doesn’t feel like a problem. Some of the doom releases I’ve most enjoyed recently have been the four Monument Of Urns 3” CD-Rs, which all clock in at around 20 to 25 minutes, and whilst Eibon don’t really sound a hell of a lot like Monument Of Urns, there’s something to be said for delivering music this heavy and intense in manageable bite-sized chunks.

There are quite a few notable French doom bands, Monarch and Habsyll among them, and whilst Eibon don’t display the same extreme tendencies as those two bands, this first solo release convincingly demonstrates them to be totally worthy of flying the tricoleur of doom. I feel like I’ve got to track down that split album now, in the absence of any further product.

Filed under: Digi-MCD 2008, Reviews