Ikarie - Arde review
|Release date:||March 2023|
02. Santa Sangre
03. La Sed
04. 40 Días
05. Surcos (Ciutat Morta)
06. Kanno Sugako
09. Titane II
10. Flores En El Asfalto
According to Ikarie, “if Cuerpos En Sombra was about pain, Arde is about transformative rage.” This rage hasn’t particularly transformed the band or their musical approach from how they sounded the last time we checked in with them, but when one has already landed upon a winning formula, simple refinement more than suffices.
Ikarie had a successful first musical release in 2021 with their debut EP, Cuerpos En Sombra, which received a lot of appreciation when it appeared in the May 2021 edition of Clandestine Cuts. This release was so successful, in fact, that later in the same year, Cuerpos En Sombra was expanded into a full-length album, with this debut coming courtesy of Avantgarde Music. The full-length version received a similarly warm reception, obtaining nominations in both Best Post-Metal Album and Best Debut in that year’s awards. When reviewing the album, Nik highlighted the band’s fusion of post-metal in the vein of Cult Of Luna and Amenra with Peaceville-era death/doom. It’s a fusion that remains broadly intact on Arde, and remains equally effective.
Post-metal is notorious for featuring extravagantly long songs that allow for epic slow burns; Ikarie are a bit more restrained than some of their peers in that regard. Out of a 10-song tracklist, five fall within the 5-7 minute window, while the other half of the tracklist is comprised of quasi-interlude pieces clocking in at around 2-3 minutes. One point Nik made in his review was that he would have liked some of the interlude tracks on Cuerpos En Sombra to have been developed into full-length songs, and while these tracks fulfil their objective here on Arde, I too feel that there are strong ideas in most of them that would have served as good bases for a more fully fleshed-out musical exploration, particularly the moody title track (which features an Andrea Dworkin quote), bleak “40 Días” and ominous, textured “Kanno Sugako”, all of which capture the essence of different phases of Cult Of Luna.
Those death/doom elements are perhaps less prevalent here; “La Sed” and “Titane II” are the songs most indebted to doom. The former is a grim, trudging beast, steadily pushing forward through the darkness propelled by sedate drums, crushing waves of guitars, but with some melancholia woven in via layers of lead guitar. In contrast, “Titane II” embraces the melancholia from minute one, revelling in sad melodies and sorrowful tones as it makes its slow journey. These aspects of Ikarie’s music, particularly the sadder tones, are executed so well that, on the one hand, it leaves the listener hoping for a bit more in the same vein. In contrast, Ikarie are such a strong post-metal band that, when they stick approach, one is immediately swept up in their new vision.
“Santa Sangre” is engulfed in a bleak atmosphere, once again nestling somewhere in between Amenra and Cult Of Luna tonally. Despite the relatively short track lengths in comparison to bands such as those, they still commit fully to building tension; “Santa Sangre” pulls back after a minute in, and slips into a sparse, ominous atmospheric passage, one that builds very slowly and temptingly, such that the catharsis when the heaviness returns is all the sweeter. A later song, “Tomie”, goes in a very similar direction, with an initially weighty introductory passage swiftly giving way to a teasingly ambient mid-section that Salvation-era Cult Of Luna might have incorporated. “Surcos (Ciutat Morta)” does not opt for the loud-soft-loud structure; instead, an initially frantic beginning with fast pounding drums is the zenith from which Ikarie descend into the abyss, gradually slowing and shedding layers (although some eerie electronics are introduced partway through to add a fascinating new dimension) before ultimately collapsing into nothingness.
Ikarie have entered the musical arena right from the off with a very clear vision of what they wish to convey and how to go about doing so, and have immediately established themselves as a force in post-metal, one that takes cues from established bands but also has enough distinct elements to distinguish themselves from the crowd. The band are masters of atmosphere and tension, regularly accomplishing in 5 minutes what many post-metal bands struggle to do in 10, and have swiftly followed up a stellar debut with another strong outing in the form of Arde.
||Written on 16.03.2023 by|
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