Wings Of Lead Over Dormant Seas
5 tracks - playing time: 61:29 min.
Postrock from France. They’re almost old-timers, having been at it since 1998. You know, back when we could still here the faint echo of the greatness that was Ace Of Base. Right. The beautifully titled ‘Wings Of Lead Over Dormant Seas’ is the new album of said French postrock band, called Dirge. Hearing that title I was gunning for a 9 out of 10, but alas I found myself a bit disappointed. The music on the album isn’t as great as the title would imply. Not to say this a bad album, it just could have been much better.
This album is slow as a turtle with a sleeping disorder. No, that’s not true. It is slow as a turtle with a sleeping disorder, who’s dragging himself to the other end of a puddle of glue whilst all his legs are broken. Yeah, that’s it. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, not at all. However, the five songs on ‘Wings Of Lead Over Dormant Seas’ and especially the very long ones, like ‘Meridians’, ‘Epicentre’ and ‘Lotus Content’, rely very, very heavily on repetition. Of course, repetition is something that comes with the territory of postrock, but Dirge takes it to extremes.
After nine minutes of the aforementioned album opener, the song seemingly ends, but not really. It just sort of meanders for about four minutes. During those minutes you only hear some hi-hat noises, guitar fizz and some minor background ambient and atmospheric stuff. The tune still evolves to a certain extent, but this meandering part isn’t exactly making the song more interesting. When they pick their instruments back up, they start it off again with a new riff that is quite good, yet all too fast they revert back to the tracks’ main riff, which is actually not that great and by now getting increasingly tedious.
After ‘Meridians’, there’s a really short track to keep us all interested. The trick works. It’s not in any way faster than that badly hurt turtle of before, but still, in its limited length it speeds up the pace of the CD.
‘Epicentre’ follows. This devastating song is very well accompanied by some screams and a lot of clean singing, a mix they pull out more often during WOLODS. In a movie, the song ‘Epicentre’ would be used to guide a scene where the main character visits the town he grew up in, only to find it completely abandoned, whilst all the buildings are crumbling and the whole village is overcast with heaps and heaps of desert sand.
That barren forlornness is well felt by the listener during the first eight minutes of the song, thanks to the whole instrumental and vocal arrangements. The guitarists have thought of some three riffs for ‘Epicentre’, so it has more diversity than the previous two numbers.
But, in the words of ‘The Wolf’: ‘Let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet’. After those eight minutes, the last six finds the band happy just to keep playing the main riff over and over, given some slight variations and added noise. They should’ve just thought of a way to end the song after about nine minutes, before it became boring, uneventful and overly reproductive: too bad.
Examples 3 and 4:
Track four, ‘Lotus Continent’: same story. Lingering, and going on and on until you really feel like pressing ‘next’. I mean, goddamn! Know when to quit and put your freakin’ instruments down. I have nothing against long songs, so long as they remain interesting. And especially this, song four, does not. To the contrary: it is actually most annoying, because in its final three minutes there’s the exact same snare drum smack every two seconds: greatly annoying.
The closer, ‘Nulle Part’ has the same bass drum smack every other second. It really gets abominable quickly. They do bring in some nice high ambient noises after some ninety seconds though, so that picks it up a bit. But the song never really starts and after a couple of minutes you feel that maybe all the slowness in this song is just schtick. Not a good way to end an album.
To the people of Dirge I say, in short: quit repeating yourselves so insanely many times and learn to know when a song becomes uneventful, and cut that uneventful stuff off. It’ll help future albums.
PS. The finished product, you know, that shiny round thing in the square, plastic container people buy in stores (you know, the two of you who are left), will have a second CD on which you’ll find the title track. That track clocks in at a full hour… I really, really hope that song has more than one riff.