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Dirge - Down Last Level CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.91 | 4 ratings

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4 stars "Down Last Level" is the debut full-length album by French post metal act Dirge. The album was released by the band themselves in 1998.

The music style is slow and crushingly heavy post metal which reminds me a bit of Neurosis mid- to late nineties output. Dirge is no Neurosis clone though. They certainly have their own style. In addition to the crushingly slow heavy riffing there are programming and samples in the music too which work to great effect and create a bleak atmosphere. The samples are mostly of people speaking but also just noises that supports the music. The vocals are shouting, angry and at times melancholic but there are actually not that many vocals on the album. The album features an extremely unpleasant and dark atmosphere best exemplified by the sample in the song "Weak" of a female rape victim telling her gruesome story. It actually made me physically uncomfortable. That song features a drone section that lasts 12 minutes before the actual song begins and I wasnīt too happy with that section before I understood what itīs meant to symbolize. Most unsettling.

The musicianship is overall strong and I especially enjoy the many samples and programmed noises and sounds. I really think they give the music an extra dimension that sets Dirge apart from most other post metal acts. The more "ordinary" post metal sections are also played with lots of conviction and passion. if I should mention one issue itīs probably that Dirge tend to overuse some of their samples a bit but itīs not a big problem.

The production is raw and unpolished. The raw sound suits the music well.

"Down Last Level" is a good quality post metal album. Iīve been disappointed so often by post metal bands that try a bit too hard to sound like some of the big bands in the genre like Neurosis or Isis but Dirge has really made an album that, while still being influenced greatly by Neurosis, can stand on its own two feet and sound original. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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