September 5, 2017

Dvne - Asheran

By Calen Henry. Asheran is Dvne's first full-length album. Their earlier output is a mix of Beastwars and The Sword, heavily influenced by Frank Herbert’s Dune universe. The strength of this mix had Asheran on my wishlist months before its release.
By Calen Henry.

Artwork by Eli Quinn.

Asheran is Dvne's first full-length album. Their earlier output is a mix of Beastwars and The Sword, heavily influenced by Frank Herbert’s Dune universe. The strength of this mix had Asheran on my wishlist months before its release. The final product exceeds all expectations and shows amazing growth for the band.

Asheran sheds the overt Dune themes in favour of an original sci-fi concept and adopts my favourite metal meta-genre, "kitchen sink metal," a genre-independent melting pot of influences, all cohesively integrated. Khemmis are the most prominent example; rooting their sound in classic doom but bringing all manner of traditional metal and doom into the mix.

Dvne's sound is a sludgier concoction that mixes in a dizzying array of other influences; Elder, Baroness, Mastodon, Gloson (though probably more accurately Neurosis), Tool, and Alcest. Moment to moment they sound like dead ringers for other bands without actually copying them. These passages shift quickly into others and mesh with Dvne's original sound extremely well so they never actually fall into a true "sounds like" groove. Though no longer Dune themed their sound still calls back to Frank Herbert's influential series through the use of traditional Middle Eastern riffs and scales throughout the album.

Much like Khemmis, Dvne's formula works because their songwriting is excellent. Jumping between musical styles is always in service of the songs and never sounds like an exercise in self-aggrandizement. The songs swirl through acoustic passages, lyrical guitar work and sung vocals, and some of the heaviest fuzz I’ve heard outside a straight up sludge metal band. They've managed to craft one of those rare albums where its accessibility belies its complexity. The album can easily slip by when played in the background but rewards careful attention and repeat listening.

Asheran stands alongside Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World as one of 2017's best. Though similar, both records complement each other; Dvne's breadth of sound to Elder's depth of sound.

Tagged with 2017, Calen Henry, Dvne, progressive sludge metal, stoner metal
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