All Important Background
Dvne are an Edinburgh-based band that formed back in 2013 and have one album previously to their name called Asheran which came out in 2017. The band write lyrics and stories it seems based around the work of the writer Frank Herbert and especially Dune from which it would appear they have taken their name.
Now I’ll admit up front that I have never read it, never seen the movie and to be honest don’t actually follow much in the sci-fi genre so lyrically this album doesn’t touch base with me at all.
I would imagine those who love that kind of thing will find a huge amount of enjoyment in the concepts of this (and their first) album. There may be some folks wondering why I am reviewing this if I am not into Dune (sci-fi fans might think me deserving of stoning). The thing is that even though I haven’t got the foggiest as to what it is about I absolutely love the music, the soundscapes, the melodies and the crushingly heavy passages that bashed my skull in.
There are a couple of differences band-wise since 2017 in that they have a new bassist and have added a full-time keyboard player (from the info I found on progarchives.com).
About The Album Itself
The album has 10 tracks and runs close to 70 minutes. It is a mighty opus that really needs time to take in. I found on each listen I was drawn more and more into it. Picking favorite songs is difficult as the quality is consistent throughout. There are no what one might call “weak tracks” here (although 3 tracks are what I would call “linking tracks” for storytelling purposes). I never felt (or feel) like jumping a track but rather I found myself immersed throughout. The playing is excellent and my God they have plenty of atmosphere running through the whole thing. Musically it touches on any number of genres, from doom, psychedelic, metal and prog. It can go from Mastodon heaviness to Floyd beauty without jarring. In fact, it is so tastefully done you won’t noticing them doing it!
A Look At The Songs
As I said 3 tracks are shorter in length (around 3 or 4 minutes) and are linking sections similar to what are found on albums like The Wall or The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway helping the story along. “Weighing Of The Heart” is mostly synths with spoken word by Lissa Robertson (who does vocals on 2 other songs as well) but seems the correct length as I never think of skipping it even though I don’t get the concept.
“Adraeden” is again synth sounds and effects that I felt like I was going through a tunnel (or perhaps a black hole?) and “Asphodel” has gentle singing over a droning note and has quite a folky feel to it. when the guitar comes in it is gentle and slow with a moody melody. All 3 of these seem to go straight into the longer songs that follow.
Talking of the longer tracks I shall highlight as best I can the 3 I most enjoyed. First up “Omega Severer” which has some nice harmonious singing at times with both main vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart and guitarist/vocalist (I assess he is main lead guitarist) Daniel Barter doing clean lines. During the album, one seems to do more harsh vocals and the other clean. The aforementioned Lissa also lends her voice on this. There is a section that headed into the territory of both Tangerine Dream and Eloy and the drummer Dudley Tait adds so much extra flavor with his fills. The main riff on this is also a belter. It grabs you by the scruff of the neck and doesn’t let go.
“SI – XIV” again features a riff that has plenty of groove or swing making it almost nigh on impossible to stay still. My head and feet moved each time I listened to it. It is a heavy track but not without melody. It floats between intensity and mellowness with great fluidity. The last track “Satuya” has a wonderful sense of cinematic scope. I do love the way that the drums power in after the intro, taking charge of it all. At one point they work as a counterpoint to the keys played by new member Evelyn May Hedges who utilizes her keys either for melodies or effects. When it quietens down the vibe is beautiful as the drums slowly on this occasion sneak in. There is a stonker of a groovy riff around the 6-minute mark that could be the best here.
This is a very fine album, one that shows great thought and good writing skills. Whether you understand the concept or not this is a terrific listen. It is completely engaging and with headphones on it sounds especially enjoyable, the mixing/production helping in that regard. Anyone who loves bands that I have mentioned here should absolutely love what’s on offer by Dvne.
OUT NOW on Metal Blade Records
Check out my other articles and reviews here. Tom.