Or, perhaps more pertinently, Waiting for the Endless Song (to end)… That’s not a dig, I promise you, but with five out of seven songs weighing in at over ten minutes in length (and one at a tick under twenty), this latest excursion from Melbourne outfit The Eternal into the world of pain and sorrow is going to take up every last ounce of your concentration if you’re to get anywhere with it.
But, if you approach the album with plenty of what the blessed Michael Bolton might have described as Time, Love and Tenderness, well, one of the albums of the year awaits you.
Opening up proceedings with a twenty minute long song puts you in the picture about the band’s intentions from note one. This is difficult listening, notwithstanding the sheer tonnage of beautiful instrumentation you’ll be asked to listen to. The Wound puts the listener through the wringer, exhausting the critical faculties even as it delights the senses. The albums best track, In the Lilac Dusk, does exactly the same but possibly doubles it’s impact because (a) it’s heavier and (b) it’s a mere stripling at only ten minutes in length. Whatever, both songs will rank amongst your highlights of the year if you count yourself a fan of finely crafted, bombastic doom/death.
And though the band obviously take their cues from the British holy trinity of this sort of stuff – that being Paradise Lost, Anathema and (especially) My Dying Bride, as I’m sure you’re aware – they remind the listener of their own cultural heritage with a quite stunning reworking of Icehouse’s Don’t Believe Anymore from that band’s underrated Sidewalk album from 1984.
After one listen you’ll never be able to listen to Iva Davies again without suspecting him to be some sort of closet misanthrope. I promise you.
The song itself acts as a nice breaker of the overwheeningly heavy atmosphere of the rest of the album; it’s sombre, yes, but the aching melodies worked in to the song by Davies make for a beautiful listening experience. It’s a dark light, but a light nonetheless.
The Eternal have proved once more with Waiting… that they have the confidence in their own abilities that allows a band to make their music unrestrained by the need to meet industry mores or listener peccadilloes halfway. They stand or fall by the music they create, willingly, and on this record they stand in triumph. This album is hard work, yes, but it’s work worth doing.
Waiting for the Endless Dawn is out now on Inverse Records