French post-hardcore suit, Merge, recently released their debut full-length album, Elysion, bringing to life a diverse world of dark and brooding yet whimsical ambiences. Opening instrumental track “A Perpetual Spring” features flighty, twinkling keys enticing curiosity, while tracks like single “Wolf’s Dagger” and “Cometa,” contrast these themes with spiking guitar riffs and persistently punchy bass lines, warning listeners this world Merge has created may be enchanting, but it is also dangerous. Anthony Hamin’s vocals effectively transition between unnerving guttural screams and stylish cleans, his range of talent particularly noted in “The Discord” and “Us Against Our Cities,” where he sings “I will leave my promises offshore,” accompanied by a chanting chorus of voices. The album drifts to a close with “In Details Part II,” presenting five minutes of gentle yet soaring instrumentals to summarize the genius transcendence of light and dark themes Elysion has to offer, making it a stellar journey not for the faint of heart from start to finish.
Review by Jen Schwartz