24 Apr 2016

Eudaimonia: "Hymn to the Dying World"

Ambiguous performance in black metal, atmospheres and moods
The Danish one-man effort Eudaimonia, while not entirely beyond categorization, is a project of highly diverse compositions. At a point you think you've gotten to know the band and its sound with all its facets of ambience, atmospheres and black metal-esque fluctuations, only to get thrown off by the addition of other foreign elements, forcing you to reevaluate you thoughts of Eudaimonia. As such it is a band that avoid pigeonholing.

From Hymn to the Dying World, the project's fourth outing, it seems that experimentation is of the essence. The constantly fluctuating soundscapes both affords the one-man project great room to expand and test out new arrangements, but at the same time limits its enjoyability and flow. A double-edged sword, if you will. Most will find the album hard to get into and mostly unable to hold attention for an entire sitting. Tracks like Crepuscular Rays and As the World Dresses in Shades of Autumn have a sort of sonic poem to them, and - coincidentally - are also among the least "metal" of the lot. They stand testament to the great variation found on Hymn to the Dying World, but also speaks of the quality that Eudaimonia is capable of.

"...for more adventurous people it could be a source of constant intrigue."

The esoteric disposition of the album is both its mainselling point and its greatest weakness. It stands to reason that the many currents - both uniquely interlocking at some points and almost mutually exclusive at others - would turn most casual listeners off the album, but for more adventurous people it could be a source of constant intrigue. Hymn... offers a large amount of different moods, with the opening track Mountains of the Sky inclining toward heavenly, grandios themes rather than, say, desolately cold and reprehensive like other tracks.

Often albums like this work great as a whole, but with Eudaimonia it feels as though the difference between the individual compositions is so great that it impedes continued listening, making it instead an effort where you would listen to singular tracks depending on your mood. The album - and the band, for that matter - is highly surprising in many aspects. From the outside it could well have been some Agalloch-styled opus, but it isn't so simple that you can blindly liken it to one or two styles or bands. There are multiple appealing passages on the band's fourht release, but other less appealing stretches drown out those on the long run. The lengthier compositions I found to be the most interesting, mood-setting and listenable, but ultimately the album feels a bit too sporadic and not uniform enough.


Released in 2012 independently

Eudaimonia on BANDCAMP
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