AARA – En Ergô Einai

AARA – En Ergô Einai

Ara is a kind of large parrot. To name this parrot a double "a" implies unique quality and so it is with this Swiss black metal ensemble on their 2nd album, where the traditional black alternates for truly progressive and gorgeous richly multimelodic tapestry, bringing such names as early Alcest and latter Dark Tranquillity to mind, but the effort is marred by inconsistency and not the best production.

The journey begins in 2018 when two guys, only known as Berg (Mountain) and Fluss (River) form a black metal band, releasing the debut LP, "So Fallen Alle Tempel" a year later on Naturmacht Productions and "Anthropozän" EP (2019) already on Debemur Morti Productions. The concept for the 2nd album, this here, "En Ergô Einai", is born out of the fascination with The Enlightenment, the Renaissance movement of forward thinkers who had sought to divorce man from religion and classes, allowing for the development of science and culture. Stripped from the protective religious and class layer, which, though it had enslaved it, also gave it its significance, mankind was forced to seek raison d’être elsewhere, which had led to more questions than answers.

The album begins on a very moving, gorgeous note with a captivating acoustic melody, "Arkanum", before exploding in a cacophony of multimelodic power, over 9 minutes of essential black metal yet not a second too long. Right away, the old Alcest fights for permanence with Dark Tranquillity-ian melodiscism, tremolos with powerful riffs driving the melodic essence to its conclusion in "Stein Auf Stein", a somewhat slower, more varied and nuanced affair yet ultimately still with plenty of speed. Also the concluding track, "Telôs", deserves recognition, Fluss screaming like Stéphane "Neige" Paut (Alcest) in competition with Berg’s driving breathtaking keyboard melodies and atmospherics, my favorite, extremely catchy track ending with a short Gregorian chant.

Whereas Aara starts and concludes the album on a fabulous note, "Aargesang (Aare II)" and "Entelechie", while still beautifully melodic, appear one-dimensional and formulaic in comparison. It is also in these tracks that the screechy and ear-biting heavily trebled production begins to efface as a major flaw. Finally, as was my issue with Loviatar, the album feels more like an EP than a full length, at nearly 34 minutes. Such length is advisable with brutal death but not with atmospheric black metal.

Overall, I would recommend "En Ergô Einai" (especially "Telôs" and "Akanum") to all who love atmospheric black metal but appreciate occasional ebbs and flows. Now if Berg and Fluss got a better production next time, that would be greaaat.