ELEANORA // MERE - WHITE VINYL (LP)
RELEASE DATE: 6th November 2020
Gent, Belgium’s Eleanora presents like the sound of worlds and eras colliding in the most harmonious of fashions. In many ways they are the prototypical modern metal band: acutely aware of the designs and important beats inherent to numerous subgenres of heavy music, and eager to approach them with a carefully alchemic sensibility that facilitates the creation of a fresh sound from familiar components. But there is also a distinctly nostalgic flavor to their new record MERE, a certain something that harkens back to a deeply exciting period for metal fans (or at least metal fans of a particular age demographic). Hearing Mere for the first time is not unlike coming of age in the early years of this century, discovering bands like Botch, Converge, and Circle Takes the Square, and realizing all of the possibilities beyond what was previously perceived. That freeing feeling of finding artists that rejected the rules and instead did exactly what they wanted with no restrictions was incredibly important for so many listeners who were looking to expand their understanding of the music they loved. What those bands did to construct a crossroads of metal, hardcore, screamo, and punk (and create blueprints for subsequent subgenres like mathcore and post-hardcore) are enticingly similar to what Eleanora does for post-metal, black metal, and sludge.
What ties MERE together is the way in which the band blends their more overt modern influences with somewhat less expected elements of hardcore and screamo that will no doubt be dear to the hearts of listeners who lived through the formative years that took place for heavy music now going on two decades ago. MERE functions like a bridge between eras, a table where multiple generations of metal fans can gather and celebrate the persistence of innovation. The best attribute this album holds is its subversion of expectations; opening track “AMOS” traverses classic metal riffage, pit-opening hardcore grooves, and spacious post-metal journeying all in just under four minutes. Elsewhere on the album, “ELDERS” scorches, while “EB” drips with atmosphere; “KORRE” scales emotional crescendos, while “SAMARIA” chugs along methodically and purposefully. Everything finally comes to an intense head on the album-closing title track, which is unleashed ruthlessly and breathlessly on the listener, all while maintaining a sharp sense of discipline, revealing the savvy songwriting skill that brings Eleanora over the top. It takes a precise touch to present a sound that feels simultaneously unrestrained and carefully controlled, and in that spirit, MERE stands out as an example of a band performing at the top of the their game.