Review: IGNEA / ERSEDU “Bestia”

Review: IGNEA / ERSEDU “Bestia”

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Now, here’s a nice metal symphony of mythological stories and diverse musical elements.

Some background might be needed. I’m reviewing a new split disc, and this one involves two bands with female vocalists, who both deliver some pretty good separate and joint efforts. Those bands are Ignea and Ersedu, two similar acts influenced by symphonic, power, melodic death metal and Ukrainian mythology, which is the inspiration behind this sort of concept album.

Yes, this is a “theme album”, with every song being about a mythological character or creature. The lyrical themes of this album are one of its most fascinating elements, you want to learn more about them, and luckily, they’re detailed in the press release. But let’s talk about the music first.

The 2 first songs are by Bestia, and they kick off with the ferocious “Bosorkun”, which starts like an angry death metal number, followed by a melodic and pretty catchy chorus, that sounds like it could be performed by a symphonic or folk metal band. Then it ends on the sound of howling wind. It’s about a disease spirit who want to help humans, and so it has the right blend of sweetness and ferocity.

It’s then followed by “Magura’s Last Kiss”, one of the most creative tracks, about a death goddess dying to bring peace among humans. It has the same growled verses, sung choruses, and a raspy, harsh spoken-word part that begins and ends the song. It’s the most original track, and has a fitting dark but romantic atmosphere.

“Mermaids” sounds already like a repeat of the Ignea formula, but it has a nice blend of growls and vocalizations, and some nice touches from a stringed instrument. It’s also the first collaborations between the two bands, and they sound pretty good together.

Then it’s Ersedu’s turn to play two songs. “Black Garden” is a heavy track with menacing growls and a chorus with eerie, high-pitched clean vocals. It sounds suitably dark for a song about a girl falling in love with an evil god, and disappearing in him.

“Eaters of the Sun” is in fact not about the apocalypse, but about accepting that everything is a blend of light and darkness. It’s also a really heavy death track, with a melancholic and melodic chorus. This makes you notice that, while Ignea and Ersedu might sound very similar at first, they have some notable difference: Ersedu is much heavier (seriously, before the chorus, their songs sound like something off the death/black metal albums I often review) and their singer’s clean vocals are higher-pitched and have a more melancholic tone that gives their music a darker edge.

The album closes on the joint effort “The Symphony of Bestia”. It’s 14 minutes long and it’s an instrumental with keyboards and an orchestra, and, well… it sounds indeed like a real symphony, but it also sounds like two bands messing around on keyboards for 14 minutes. It sounds good, but doesn’t really grab and hold my attention. There is a bunch of sounds I recognize, but they’re so disorganized I don’t know what it’s trying to tell me.

This is the only weakness on this otherwise creative and very well-made album. The other tracks are enjoyable, and interesting to talk about. I like the way both bands blend different subgenres, so there’s something for everyone. This is a really good folky death/symphonic metal split disc.

Release date: October 21, 2021

https://www.facebook.com/ignea.band/
https://www.facebook.com/erseduband

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