French bard’s new adventures in the shadowy domain – descent into the darkness and ascent into the light.
Erang is one of those artists who lead penumbral existence, not progressing much into the public view in order not to compromise their equilibrium and keeping their creations tempered yet alluring enough to draw attention. This album, his seventh in the line first drawn in 2012 and titled after a song from one of its predecessors, explores fantasy themes in a quasi-Gothic setting which renders the results rather unique, as it’s the other side of metal, where all the austerity and opulence are measured with keyboards that encompass harpsichord elegance and organ solemnity. So, while percussion adds a threat to such Arcadian tapestries as “The Erangers,” there’s no heaviness, no riffs, no vocals, too, save for the countdown to the clanging middle section of “Through The Windows Of Time.”
Aiming for timelessness, a violin cuts sadness out from the depth of “The Age Of Wonder” and, on “Autumnal Lullaby,” acoustic guitars pour haziness into the atmosphere of honeyed fatigue. But it’s bittersweet, never more so than in the piano-punctuated pavane “By The Starlight” or the transparent “A Bard Without Beard” oozing magical hypnotism, before “Litany Of The Capricorn” introduces court dance drone to the sonic palette. Its paleness is riveting, yet the playful pop of “Feu Follet” serves as a turning point, as the album’s last third careens towards grey new-age, and no matter how vibrant pieces like “Return To The Dark Dungeon” are, these lack drama and dynamism, dissolving the “Funeral For Erang” finale into the ether. An elusive way of the divine shadow, indeed.