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Ixion - Return

by Clarissa "Wulf" Wright at 19 February 2018, 8:39 AM

IXION are an atmospheric doom metal band from Brittany, France. Having thrived since 2004, their latest release “Return” (from 30th October 2017) is described as “dark and enriching, heavy and elegant”. These words certainly described my experience of the album. From the first track, “Out of the Dark”, immediately, I was caught by surprise as IXION were not what I initially expected, after hearing this is a doom metal band with gothic elements. To me, this immediately seemed like doom metal, with post-rock and ambient symphonic influences.

The first track begins with airy symphonic sound in a mournful chord sequence. Sound is light and airy, just like the atmospheric album cover (showing clouds). Gentle, clean vocals sing along with the chord changes. Harsh vocals are deep in sound, yet sound smooth in unison with the rest of the band. Piano and electric guitars combine in a melodic riff that carries on with the chants of the vocals. The first track seemed like a slow start, I was unsure if the rest of the album was going to be like this.

“Back Home” seems to undulate as melodies move up and down like waves, slowly sinking you in to a pit of melancholy. “The Ocean” sets you into the middle of the ocean with the sounds of waves, and a vocal ballad, that introduces the main melody of the song, that is then pushed forward with the guitars. Deep growls and clean, high vocals tell a dark and murky tale. I particularly liked the combination of the piano interlude with the slams of the snare and floor toms, which put some winds in the sails for the song.

“Contact” is unusual, and little more experimentation with some interesting, jumpy rhythms. Deep vocal growls call out with the sustained echoes of the guitars. When clean vocals come in, and when guitars get more rhythmically intricate it slightly reminds me of the style of certain progressive metal bands, such as SYMPHONY X. There is an emotional build up towards the end, brought on with the clean vocals.By comparison, “World of Silence” seems more straightforward and smooth, enough to lull someone into a strange dream.

The final track, “The Dive (Fade to Blue Part 2)”, sets off a great finale for the album, with soul grabbing tunes from the vocals, empowered with bagpipes. Deep harsh growls create dark grey storminess in the scene. ‘Moody’, ‘smooth’ and ‘blue’ are words I’d used to paint the picture of IXION’s “Return”. The music led me on an explorative voyage across the ocean. To me, this didn’t sound like the typical style of doom metal that I was expecting, but it seemed to verge on the border of a few different subgenres, which makes it seem quite original. However it is labelled, it connects straight to the soul and manifests an airy, cool atmosphere. Perfect to ‘chill out’ to in the evening.

Songwriting 8
Originality 9
Memorability 8
Production 8

4 Star Rating

1. Out of the Dark
2. Into Her Light
3. Hanging in the Sky
4. Back Home
5. The Ocean
6. Contact
7. World of Silence
8. Stranger
9. The Dive (Fade to Blue Part 2)
Julien Prat - Guitars, keyboards, vocals
Yannick Dilly - Vocals
Record Label: Finisterian Dead End Records


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