With a seemingly endless source of inspiration Erang brings us a ninth installment "The Kingdom Of Erang", moving on from the brilliant "We Are The Past" without looking back. As a whole, its a typically indulgent feast of fantasy and boundless imagination with a theme that encompasses a lot of what were familiar with, no surprises or anything out of the ordinary. It is maybe this factor that made it so difficult to asses my thoughts and feelings for this record, Its very familiar, easy to listen to and yet for the countless listens I am left a little unsure of what to say about it.
Over the nine records Erang has grown both as a musician and the fantasy expressed through the avatar. Reflecting on previous records you can hear the difference in production quality and aesthetic choices but most importantly the richness of theme and the expression that comes through at the core, the melodies. The "Tomb Era" had a eerie, creepy vibe of mysticism and forgotten wonder that came through esoteric melodies that expressed through its underlying abstraction. Evolving from primitive dungeon synth the music has matured with direct, fluent and expressive melodies best heard on "Night Of The Troll" as pan pipes, plucked strings and xylophones dance around one another in a spell. The strength of the melodies fuel the fires of imagination and paints vivid images. The aesthetic choices are attentive and subtleties of quieter rolls are further developed behind melodies that have real backing in rich and dense themes that absorb the listener.
In a nutshell, this record didn't feel like anything new, challenging or progressive, and therefore many of my thoughts and feelings remain the same about this music. One thing I'm certain of is the melodic genius displayed on "We Are The Past" is resonating through the kingdom. This latest record may reside in the comfort zone, but its expressions are enhanced by a positive evolution and the fantasy tales expressed in sound are as enjoyable as ever. Especially the opener with its tinge of Black Metal. Snarly vocals and narrow, hazy guitars under epic synth leads were a real treat!
Favorite Tracks: All The Beauty We've Lost, The Underwater Zeppelin Whale, Where The Grey Legion Fell, Night Of The Troll