Being a fan of both, Otto Dix’s artwork and Eibon’s music, I was indeed immensely intrigued, when I saw Dix’s triptych Der Krieg (the war) as cover artwork of Eibon’s second full length album II (released April 2013). If the band was inspired by the artwork to create their music, or if they chose it subsequently is beyond my knowledge, but if there ever was a cover artwork to match the atmosphere of the respective album, I’d vote for this one.
The album consists of “only” two songs, the first one "The Void Settlers" being about 19 minutes, the second one "Elements of Doom" nearly 24 minutes long. The two songs belong together like two sides of a coin, with a similar inner structure showing different faces and aspects of the same story. And as I feel the music strongly connected to the painting, this is the story of war, which is always a story of violence, chaos, pain, despair, hopelessness and suffering multiplied by the futility and cynicism that is inherent in war itself.
Dix’s approach to these extreme atmospheres and moods in Der Krieg is to fill a large space (of wood in this case) with paint - different colors and depictions to create a myriad of detailed different scenes to be composed into a comprehensive image of misery. Similarly Eibon fill the large space of two long songs with sound. Their colors are mainly sludge, doom, black metal, ambient post metal and even psychedelic space rock - everything that is suitable to create a complete and cohesive image and atmosphere. The songs are carefully and intricately structured, composed of a bazillion different build ups and climaxes, different dynamic drives and tensions. Large parts are instrumental, the vocals rather work as an additional layer than as a constant presence. For one thing this gives room to the brilliant instrumental work especially in the driving space rocky parts with their excellent bass and drum work for the guitars to swirl and spiral around them and for another thing the vocals have their own strong moments of appearance.
What this Parisian quintet achieves here is not only that two songs of about 20 minutes seem to pass in no time, this is merely the effect of what’s far more stunning. It is the huge complexity of structure with an incredible amount of depth and texture created into a vigorous intense soundscape with an organic atmosphere without drowning the details. The fact that the whole affair was recorded live in one take surely enhances this vigorous intensity a lot (and definitely stimulates my desire to attend a live show of these five guys). The production rounds all out well, saving the filthy abrasive grit in the sound as well as the deeper details.
If intended or not, II absolutely captures the atmosphere and emotion of Otto Dix’s painted art and transforms it into a richly textured soundscape.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]