AU-DESSUS - End of Chapter (Les de Productions CD 2017)
Another great album came from French label Les de Productions. I have to say that so far most of the stuff, which I have heard from them was excellent. There were maybe two or three releases, which I didn't like at all, but most of the stuff was killer. This label specialized in rather specific genres, for example in the more experimental and progressive (post) black metal, so it's not necessarily thing for everyone, especially not for more orthodox listeners. But I like such music! This time the label delivered an album from Au- titled "End of Chapter". And it's been a great pleasure to listen to this CD, I have to say that the music of this Lithuanian band truly grasped my attention and I played it with enormous pleasure. It's one of those experiences, when the music with its feeling and sound will drown you. You will let it devour you fully when the atmosphere is almost hypnotizing. You should play it on headphones, it is the best way to experience it all and then nothing else will matter, but the music.
I wouldn't call Au- music black metal, even if it has some blackish influences. That post metal tag may be annoying for some, but you can't help but admit it fits such bands and such albums perfectly. Through its 45 minutes "End of Chapter" takes us for an interesting journey, where the tension will grow with each of the seven parts of the album. From strict musical point of view Au- delivers a fantastic variety on their full length. You'll find many different styles and sounds here. Obviously that post metal tag means that a lot of riffs are dissonant, creating very specific sludgy atmosphere. Such passages of post metal instrumental parts are always truly intriguing and they never fail to impress me. I have to say that I love their riffs. A lot of the guitar parts are fantastic, whether they're more melodic or progressive or when the band slashes through with razor sharp . They create great atmosphere and with that variety like for example in song "VI" I am sure you will find it also as truly special.
The band takes a lot effort to make sure though that the balance between that progressive and slow paced part of their music and more aggressive and ferocious one is done the right way. So, if you want to hear more black metal parts then I believe that "End of Chapter" should not disappoint you. Almost every song has to offer a blasting and aggressive, insanely vicious and pissed off fragments, which should satisfy your hunger. Mantas' vocals sound like possessed then, he screams like maniac, bringing even more ferocity to the sound of Au-. Occasionally he also uses some clean vocals, but mainly he uses sort of screams, which to my surprise doesn't disturb me at all. I am actually really blown away how well such genres as sludge and post metal can merge with black metal elements and create such a monster of an album like "End of Chapter". Genres, which normally I don't listen to so much, when played in more extreme and vicious, darker way turn into such jewel... Fantastic thing and so fuckin well done Au-! Song called "VIII" is definitely the best one, I think, it sound insanely well but is also a fine representative for the whole album. Check it out! "X" is also one of these special songs for me, it's more progressive and filled with some beautiful passages; absolutely masterpiece.
Summing it all up then, "End of Chapter" is very good album. I had not much expectations for it, maybe because Au- are Lithuanian and to be honest, this country isn't a place that would have a great and worthy scene. But the result is very good. Poland may have their own great acts like Thaw or Outre, but Lithuania has Au- and they should be proud for that! I also like such Inquisitor and Dissimulation, Crypts of Despair is also damn good... so, it looks like Lithuanian scene is going stronger!
Standout tracks: "VI", "VIII", "X"