The sprawling world of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” is such a glorious tapestry of science fiction that it could very well fuel the imagination of musicians for decades to come on par like what Tolkien and Lovecraft have accomplished in our modern era of metal pulling from all sources imaginable. The sands of Arrakis have so much potential to be had with all of its spice and the sandworms being more than enough to inspire many a metalhead into crafting an experience the likes of which can easily be destined for greatness. While it may be a boast to say that Dvne was the first band to do the legendary series justice in a metal format, I think it’s safe to say that their approach has easily made the biggest impact. After a spectacular debut album four years ago with “Asheran”, it is with a significant upgrade behind the scenes that we’re delivered “Etemen Ænka” and all of the excellence that it offers as what’s easily the most layered and well-constructed effort from this band to date.
With all of the different themes spread throughout the stories of “Dune” and the countless scholarly dives into those pages, how could the geniuses of Dvne not return to us with a performance that is no less than massive after “Asheran” showed us what they’re truly capable of? The resulting album of “Etemen Ænka” is far more than anything that we might have expected for it is an extremely multi-faceted record with so much happening within its confines that it challenges that very tag of progressive metal itself as Dvne goes out of their way to make this performance an immensely fluid one that’s meant to both floor the listen with its undeniable power and enchant them with how alluring it can be at any given time. All of the twists and turns that are constantly thrown our way throughout the absolute entirety of “Etemen Ænka” is staggering with all making the record far more intricate for just one listen, and it’s with every follow-up that the record becomes all the sweeter as we’re constantly finding more and more spice in all of its layers that culminate in a no less than tantalizing creation that’s as mesmerizing as it is well-crafted, and Dvne truly left no stone unturned when forging this massive album since day one. It may be premature to even dare to insinuate that “Etemen Ænka” is one of the more grandiose albums that we’re likely to see this year, but between all the gorgeous electronica, top-tier craftsmanship that permeates every moment of these ten tracks, and an irresistible display of power shown at every opportunity, how can anything else be said with such a magnificent work?
Albums like this that push the envelope on multiple fronts are what great bands are always capable of producing, but it’s always those first few instances of genius that stand out more than anything else when there’s a new talent on the block. That couldn’t be any more true with Dvne and all they brought forth in order to make “Etemen Ænka” the absolute powerhouse of an album that it is, and I’d be stunned to see any band of any kind top this album this year when it comes to raw creativity and power that’s felt in every possible note.
“Etemen Ænka” releases on March 19th via Metal Blade Records! You can pre-order the album here, and stream the singles on Bandcamp here.
1. Enûma Eliš
3. Court of the Matriarch
4. Weighing of the Heart
5. Omega Severer