Written by: KW on 19/04/2018 22:30:50

Eigengrau is the word used to describe the slightly grayer hue of black that people see in the total absence of light. Musically fitting, it is also the name of one of the more interesting bands to recently come out of the Danish progressive rock and metal scene. The band started to gain notoriety last year with the release of their EP “Leap”, which sealed a couple of support gigs with some prime post-rock acts such as Nordic Giants and latest, a couple of shows with Irish math-heads, And So I Watch You From Afar, in support of this debut record entitled “Radiant”.

The band plays enormous-sounding instrumental post-rock mixed with modern progressive metal (or djent, if you will). Like many modern progressive bands, the production is incredibly punchy and clear, yet also leaves room for the dynamics of the post genre. Imagine the lovechild of the hard hitting grooves of TesseracT and the moody, grand atmospheres of Japanese shoegaze veterans Mono, and you will have an idea of what to expect. And this is exactly what meets the listener on the album opener “Once I Was”. It is pretty bold to put a 12 minute track as the album opener, but in this case they pull it off to great effect. Starting out nice and calm, albeit rhythmically complex, it soon evolves into the first showcase of a djenty groove, before a longer passage of melancholic, twinkling guitars envelops the listener. The point where it gets really beautiful though, is in the last 4 minutes or so, where the use of natural harmonics on the guitars really opens up the space and gives the track a very airy feel to it. In conclusion, “Once I Was” does its job as an album opener really well: it showcases the different aspects of the band’s sound with a progressive song structure that flows dynamically between loud metal riffs and drawn out post-rock passages.

Then the first single “Nuuretarik” kicks in and what a song it is. Potentially my favourite track off the album, this monster of a song includes an intro that instantly put a grin on my face. It starts out innocently enough, before suddenly breaking into a bending, crushing riff, channeling some of that TesseracT greatness. This song still maintains the complex compositions mentioned earlier but sounds like a tighter package altogether, finishing it all off in another chilling and brilliant transition into a pummelling outro. The post-rocky middle section also works really well, as it does not overstay its welcome by being too drawn out. However, this is unfortunately not always the case. “Plains” spends most of its 7-minute runtime in a crescendo buildup, yet I found myself losing a bit of interest and focus along the way and the resulting climax just wasn’t powerful enough to compensate. It is far from a bad track, or even an average one, but pales a little in comparison to some of the other cuts.

Another small gripe of mine is the fact that sometimes the heavier parts, which I think are mostly very well written and powerful, do not get enough time to develop and keep the listener in the groove. A prime example of this is the track “Arouk”, which contains another savage, staccato metal riff that just ends way too quickly for my taste. It is such a good riff and I want more of it! The outro to “Omieddaram” is where the band gets it completely right, having the heavy track behind layers of delay guitars before letting the groove do the talking, resulting in way more powerful ending. And this is where I actually would have preferred the album to end, with a bang, as the closing ambient track “Moving Clouds” just does nothing for me. Sure it sounds nice and all, but ultimately it feels slightly pointless as well.

Despite a few minor missteps, Eigengrau has thus created a very solid and impressive debut record, which is sure to make waves in the Danish progressive scene as well as internationally. It is great to finally see this kind of music represented by a Danish band, as we haven’t quite been putting out bands of this caliber in the prog genre until now. If you’re on the lookout for something challenging and beautiful with killer grooves, this is the album for you.


Download: Once I Was, Nuuretarik, Omieddaram
For the fans of: TesseracT, Mono, Mogwai, Tides From Nebula
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.04.2018
Prime Collective

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