Tuesday, November 28, 2023

RüYYn - Chapter II: The Flames, the Fallen, the Fury

French one-man act RüYYn's debut EP from a couple years back hardly lit my world on fire, not that its wintry and isolated disposition was intended to do so, but it was rather long on the anticipated atmosphere and short on memorable compositions. Still, there was some obvious potential there that has now been followed up through the first 'full length' proper, and right away you can notice a stark elemental difference, fire and fumes and darkness as opposed to the blinding white squalls of its predecessor. Like that debut, the songs here are numerated rather than named, the usual double edged sword which can promote cohesion to the whole via individual anonymity, but also sap the tunes of some level of remembrance in the process...

That is to say, if they are not good, and Chapter II: The Flames, the Fallen, the Fury takes only a few tracks to prove that it's a notable improvement over the prior material, with a heavier sense of loss, emotion and urgency that is cultivated through more distinct riffing and overall songwriting. This is traditional European black metal embellished with the post-modern dissonance and atmospherics that are rather widespread these days, but it's also very well balanced with some spaced out, higher pitched guitars and melodies that capture a sense of longing and melancholy (even right off in the bridge to the first track, "Part I"). The bass has a tangible presence, flooding beneath the streams of chords, and Romain's vocals, which have a little more robustness than your typical rasping, and a good level of sustain when he wants to bark a line out over the desperate, melodic hostility of the guitars and beats.

Although there's the same sort of uniform sense as there was with the debut, I think the tracks here are just set up far better, for example how the first cut breaks away and surges into "Part II" with that great double bass-driven attack. Each ends and begins with a renewed sense of identity and a wonder for the listener at what is going to happen, and to their credit, almost all of these seven pieces is fleshed out rather well with some interesting atmosphere, bleak or brooding trepidation. Where the EP had its limitations, Chapter II is far more of the 'total package' that one can wander through repeatedly, and cements RüYYn as a project to pay attention to amongst the ever-present French BM scene. Not as wild or experimental as a Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega, but also not entirely conventional or predictable.

Verdict: Win [8/10]


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