If you’re going through something, Eneferens 2018 album “The Bleakness of Our Constant” is one you may want to listen to. With this work, Jori Apedaile (who writes and records all instruments and vocals) has painted a vivid soundscape through which he filters the emotions of struggle and the search for understanding.
Unconventional song structure, a mixture of heavy and bright tones, and distinct, oppositional vocal styles make this album worth listening to a few times over. In my experience, the musical arrangements put you in the midst of a vigorous journey, while the lyrical content places that journey in the center of Apedaile’s mind, watching his own life shift as he searches for balance and meaning.
The first song, Leave, is an instrumental that sets the mood and prepares the listener for what they are about to experience. A lack of vocal explanation doesn’t hold this song back, but makes it all the more impressive, as effect-laden guitar harmonies build an atmosphere that is both blissful and melancholy. Not overly-technical, it strikes the perfect balance of complexity and repetition to allow the listener to engage emotionally with the track. It’s a good opener that establishes this album as the soundtrack to whatever personal grievances you may be going through.
This Onward Reach begins with pounding drums and frantically-strummed, yet bright guitar tones that took me by surprise. As a whole, this song is a lesson in paradox. The tempo is fast and upbeat, the tone creating a feeling of euphoria before a slower cadence of growling vocals enters the fray. The lyrics tell the story of finding comfort in something destructive. The character is in a place where they begin to see that something they thought of as love is causing decay. He agonizes as he discovers through experience the fact that he can still see beauty, even as the situation becomes an ever-growing weight that crushes him into suffocation. The thing with which he struggles is a “hollow contour” with nothing substantial contained within. It’s something to admire from afar, but as one ventures closer, he can see that the layers are withering. He pulls away, but the lyrics suggest that, as one thing improves, another worsens. The vocal section ends with a few well-sung clean lines that aim to drive home the point of desolation. The final four minutes of the song is filled with a variety of riffs that are beautiful at times, and chaotic at others. It’s a tug-of-war, of sorts, and there seems to be no positive outcome.
Another standout track is Amethyst, which I feel gives a closer look into the broader picture that was painted in This Onward Reach. The lyrics describe the loss of someone close and how that relationship granted the power to change. Awake finds Apedaile singing clean vocals over catchy harmonies as he seemingly questions the idea of a higher power. When the vocal section ends, the composition intensifies, and once again, this song has the ability to build both a positive and negative energy in your head.
Weight of the Mind’s Periapt keeps a slow and constant rhythm that eventually house rumbling vocals that give the impression of a distant thunderstorm. The lyrics in this song are ambiguous to me. It could be about a higher power, or it could be about a person whom Apedaile was/is close to. Either way, it is a discussion of the negative aspects of whatever relationship it explores. The guitars in this one aren’t as tonally bright as in other songs, but I think they fit nicely with the vocals and subject matter. Overall, it is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
The second and final instrumental track, 11:34, seems to be some sort of dark chanting over synths that reminds me of completing a quest in Skyrim. It tells me that we’ve made it to the end of something, but gives me the feeling that something new is about to begin. To me, this track is a good buildup to the finale.
The closing track, Selene, is honestly more what I expected from the album. After a slow buildup, the middle section of the track comes in with an aggression and heaviness that isn’t matched anywhere else. Eventually, the riffs become brighter, but the intensity lives on as Apedaile chants overtop. The last few minutes of the track revisit and reimagine some of the earlier riffs. I think this is the best track on the album, as its many different parts come together in a way that not only sums up the album, but shows the listener the different layers of Apedaile’s artistry. It’s a gnashing of what is, and what is to be.
If I had to find something negative about the album, it’s that there aren’t a lot of lyrics/vocals. The song structure threw me off at first, but it’s grown on me as I played the album on repeat while writing this article. “The Bleakness of Our Constant,” as I’ve said before, is a journey to listen to. The album is an introspective written while Apedaile was in a dark place and searching for a way out. Some of the songs sound bright and positive, but upon further inspection of the lyrical content, it almost seems like the music put a mask over the situations that are explored in the lyrics. I’m not sure if this was purposeful, but it was effective. Lyrically, the album can be translated in a number of ways; the most prominent to me were love and loss, the search for/questioning of a higher power, or, perhaps, addiction. One thing I like the most is that the lyrics can mean whatever you need them to mean in order for you to connect with them.
One of the first things I read of this project stated that it was “beautiful metal from the north.” After spending some time with this album, I must say, I agree wholeheartedly.
Eneferens will be at the Sub Alpine on Tuesday, July 16th with Skies of Terra and more TBA.