If a mini-album can convey appropriately the extreme lengths of dense, cryptic and beautiful imagery with music, then Au-Dessus’ self-titled offering should be re-named ‘the picturesque definition of earth-shattering, ethereal black metal chaos’. From the depths of Lithuania, Au-Dessus spring onboard a heavily influenced array of sonically enchanting riffs, chords that are permeated by a deep wall of sound and some damn ferocious vocals that go alongside it.
I’m not typically a fan of black metal. This is no secret. However, I was instantly intrigued by Au-Dessus if not for the intelligent way they craft their pieces of music that on one hand says extremely intense and fast, and on the other suggest intricacy and clever musicianship. Turns out it’s definitely both, and this becomes a common thought throughout the album. With an album spanning five tracks, indicated by Roman numerals only, what we have aren’t really songs separate from each other. What we have here, to pardon a slightly overused cliché, is more of an opaque and dark mysterious journey into the depths that black metal can delve within.
From the offset, ‘I’ is that brooding introduction that’s crushingly heavy for a brief moment, if only to foreshadow the opus that ‘II’ is. Possessed by a heaviness that is weighty enough to crush oceans, and send waves miles high, Au-Dessus bring tormented harsh snarls before serenading with a melodious middle that rounds off at the right time. ‘III’ marks the middle of the road, but merely another hefty course of disgusting, drone-fuelled riffs over some further anger. With ‘IV’, the madness continues tenfold, where Au-Dessus are cleverly able to craft further seamless energy into malleable black metal that doesn’t feel over-the-top or even slightly gimmicky.
Of course, every album needs that sweet epilogue, and ‘V’ is the perfect choice. Blending further melody with brutal-yet-elegant sounding chords, the conclusion of the mini-album is more of what we have heard already, and somehow the cacophony of certain portions of the song make this more of a twisted journey than once thought. Suddenly it becomes apparent that there is more to Au-Dessus than it appears, and so I listen to it again. This could become a regular thing.
If you’re after complex structures and all the right tools for a black metal escapade, then Au-Dessus will tick all the right boxes. However, even if you just fancy some new music to listen to, then it’ll certainly do that for you as well. Nothing outlandish or boring, just a nice half-hour of cleverly constructed, and equally destructive music that will please fans of many metal subgenres. But we won’t get into that argument today. It’s definitely one for the heavy book, though.
Mantas – Vocals, Bass
Simonas – Guitar
Jokūbas – Guitar