For the past decade, DYSYLUMN have been something of an unsung "dark horse" of the French black metal scene. Whilst exhibiting some of that scene's idiomatic traits - the robustness of the orthodox/religious school, the melancholy of its more lonerist school - the duo have recast them in vivid new iterations. The grandest culmination to date was the band's second album, 2018's Occultation, which longtime fans SIGNAL REX released on vinyl in May 2020. Not for nothing have some called Occultation something of a modern classic: its breadth of vision is firmly rooted in black metal's noblest traditions, but more so aims for the hinterlands of creativity and experience. And now, DYSYLUMN aim for the outermost hinterlands with their staggeringly dense third album, Cosmogonie.
Massive in every sense of the word, Cosmogonie totals nearly an hour and a half of music and is spread across three separate-yet-unified chapters, each bearing their own cover art: Chapitre I - Apparition, Chapitre II - Dispersion, and Chapitre II - Extinction. Respectively, the themes DYSYLUMN are exploring here include the creation of everything from nothing, in the immensity of emptiness; the formation of the primordial chaos, forming little by little the concretization of the elements; and these same elements that disperse in an infinite space until their extinction. It's a titanic endeavor the band have been diligently working on for the past two years, for 2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of DYSYLUMN and the culmination of the project. What lies beyond Cosmogonie is unknown at this point...but its present is blindingly brilliant to behold.
Right from the opening notes of Chapitre I - Apparition, the characteristic churn 'n' spurn of prime DYSYLUMN is felt and in fine form: gutted bass throb, swirling ether of guitar, and tortured throat that seamlessly blends into and out of both. But dive deeper and discover that the duo reveal subtle reinventions of that doubtlessly sturdy aesthetic. Smoke-spiraling shards of melody become triumphant(ly doomed) expressions which lodge firmly within both heart and soul; body and mind are then wracked by eerily reined-in rhythm, which patiently plays its cards and never over-extends itself, allowing space and shade to do their DOOMED work; and vocals seemingly hover above and below, the heavens slaughtered while the hells offer no mercy. All is anguished, but breathtakingly, almost beautifully so. Cosmogonie is so immersive that it feels both like weeks and mere minutes in length... And when rendered in such 3D form as DYSYLUMN do here, the overall album could be absorbed as much as an ambient/atmospheric experience as it is a proudly black metal one. Therein lies their sulfurous magick, inarguably hitting a fever pitch with this three-record set: hypnosis, sublimation, transcendence.
If Occultation belatedly became something of a modern classic, then Cosmogonie has already begun its walk into those hallowed halls. And there sit DYSYLUMN, reigning over all they survey. Subject thyself to their majesty and prepare for extinction!