Released: 2010, Asylum Ruins
A bit of head scratcher this one, Eclectika being a French black metal band formed in 2001. The band released two demos before their first full length album in 2007. DAZZLING DAWN is the band’s current offering, consisting of a power trio that blends female vocals with the reptile croak characteristic of black metal vocal styles. Finding information about the band is nearly impossible, with no promotional material provided either. After listening to the album, I can understand the lack of coverage.
So why is this album a head scratcher? Well, for starters the album opens with an atmospheric and symphonic instrumental that could fit on any of a number of film scores. A more misleading introduction to an album and its style could not have been done. Once the title track “Dazzling Dawn” kicks in, you realize that you have been bamboozled. Eclectika’s brand of metal is a damn near unlistenable insect buzz of distortion for the first couple of tracks after the intro, production that sounds like it was recorded in (and drums played on) a card board box. Alexandra Lemoine’s female vocals are high and operatic, not far removed from how Celtic Frost utilized female vocals on tracks like “Wings of Solitude”. The two sound very similar. A decent guitar solo kicks in near the end of the title track, which shows that the band can play if they wish, but I doubt you will make it past the muddy frequencies to enjoy it.
However, if you do make it to track 4 then “Les Démons Obsédants Du Regret” is the beginning of a stylistic departure for the next three songs of the album that is somewhat enjoyable with Alexandra handling most of the vocal duties on this acoustic clean track and most of the other tracks. Suddenly the band has decided they do want to be a symphonic metal act, moving into familiar female fronted symphonic territory. Alas, it is not to be as the band returns to the hornet buzz drone of the beginning of the album… but wait there is another shift back to the symphonic! Needles to say this is a perplexing album to try and absorb, the utter lack of direction hampering any attempts at establishing a sound or writing a logical or cohesive song. Whatever.
Sometimes in an attempt to sound unique, experimental or original, bands instead come across as directionless, contrived, and self absorbed. Crappy production does not help either. Doubtless some will say that this went over my head, or I just did not “get it” but I suspect that more will say that aimless meanderings like this prove what can go wrong when bands stray to far from the metal formula.