Thursday 9 March 2023

DIRGE - DIRGE (Album Review)

Release Date: March 10th 2023. Record Label: Immersive Sounds. Formats: CD/DD

DIRGE - Self-Titled: Tracklisting






Ashish Dharkar - Guitars

Varun Patil - Guitars, Backing vocals

Harshad Bhagwat - Bass

Tabish Khidir - Vocals

Aryaman Chatterji - Drums


Sludge/Post-Metallers DIRGE return after a five year absence with their new self-titled album and it seems the band have gone under a Psychedelic and Prog Metal makeover when compared to their acclaimed 2018 debut album. DIRGE play a heavier and blend of Sludge/Post-Metal with the band hitting all right progressive notes within the Psychedelic Doom stratosphere. Taking cues from bands such as YOB, NEUROSIS and ISIS but doing their own creative spin on the Atmospheric Sludge Metal genres and subgenres but adding an impressive slab of Emotionally Charged Doom Metal for the more gloomy parts of the album.

The album runs about forty three minutes in length across four epic tracks with DIRGE adding layers of heavy Psychedelic sounds and world-weary Ambient/Post-Rock rhythms when the time calls for it. The vocals from Ashish are mostly harsh screams and loud growls with a passionate feeling and the music which is brought across amazingly well within the outstanding opening track Condemned. 

Condemned allows DIRGE to build their Post-Metal complex grooves which have a classic contemporary feeling to them. When they start adding layers of SONIC distortion then the band venture the realms of YOB and PALLBEARER usually play but the intense guitar shredding leaves them to play their own convincing style of Post-Metal. The song remains constantly bleak, aggressive and filled with wonderful twinges of Psych Rock/Metal. 

Second track Malignant starts rather peacefully and quietly for the first few moments with distinctive Ambient and Melodic Post-Rock tones before changing into a more heavier landscape. The song is both equally melodic and beautifully VIOLENT when the faster guitars appear. The SONIC EXPERIMENTATION is perhaps the best part of the album that keeps DIRGE on their toes to conjure up more classic sounding Post-Metal beats that have a sluggish attitude where the lyrics are concerned. The intelligent use of Ambient and Post-Rock soundscapes brings a more creative attitude that harks back to the early days of PELICAN and ISIS. 

Third song follows a similar path as Malignant but with perhaps a more Progressive Charge leading the way. The added use of Synths on this track was an inspired choice. The excellent vocals drift in and out at the start of the song. The song does have a long drawn out DRONE sound which does take time to fully get going but it’s good to hear DIRGE playing a different style of music. The song becomes more exciting and perhaps more relevant towards the later stages where everything comes together for a more cohesive and direct style of music. This is still a fantastic song that backed up first rate instrumental work on the early stages of the song. 

The final song is Hollow which is more reflective and personal compared to the other tracks of the album which you can tell by the different shades of music that appear on the track. Harsh vocals inject with the cinematic based grooves that once again are melodic and fraught with intense anger. DIRGE changes the tempo of the music quite frequently on this track and this allows this to be perhaps the standout track on the album. DIRGE start to offer their own creative identity with this track and play a song that shows off their musical talents down to a fine art. Psychedelic and Sonic based rhythms offer a more WORLD-BUILDING style delivery with some of the best guitar solos and intense drumming heard on the album.

DIRGE's self-titled album benefits from exquisite production values which allows this to be one of the best-sounding and most interesting Post-Metal albums I’ve heard this year. This album has an ultra-modern feel but also wouldn’t be out of place if it was released back in the Post-Metal heyday of the early to mid 2000’s. 

This album remains a deeply fascinating and bloody exciting listen that will turn many heads within the respective Sludge/Post-Metal Underground Scenes. 

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe.

Thanks to Sheltered LIfe PR for the promo

Dirge  is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Immersive Sounds


Facebook | BandCamp