The Eye Of Time:
With the release of last summer's Acoustic, French musician Marc Euvrie surprised listeners who'd been introduced to his The Eye of Time project via 2012's self-titled debut. In contrast to its dark and cryptic tone, Acoustic lived up to its title by clothing its pieces in cello and piano garb. Yet while the sonic worlds presented on the two releases are dramatically different, they document sides that comfortably co-habit in a composer whose background encompasses both classical training and ties to the French DIY punk and hardcore scenes.
Arriving as it does after the refined elegance of Acoustic, ANTI, not surprisingly, returns us to a hellish realm where despair and annihilation reign, though not so completely that rebirth isn't ruled out. In Euvrie's own words, “I try to drag the listeners into hell as deep as possible so that they don't have any choice but to be beaten to the ground and to jump back into light.” The track titles alone suggest as much, for while there might be “Collapse,” one is also encouraged to “Embrace the Truth, Face the End of All Things.” A number of artists are cited as possible reference points, Portishead, Edvard Grieg, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor among them, but the one that comes closest to mirroring ANTI's spirit is Third Eye Foundation. Nowhere, in fact, is the similarity between The Eye of Time and Third Eye Foundation more audible than during “Retrospective Memory” where beats, guitars, piano, organ, and strings collectively moan like some disease-ridden organism desperately fighting for breath.
It certainly doesn't take long for the forty-three-minute album to establish a harrowing tone when “A Perfect World” opens with two minutes of amplified swarm. But just as one's about to surrender to its all-consuming attack, the noise recedes, leaving a peaceful piano motif in its wake. Be forewarned, however: disembodied voices, detonations, and violent string stabs soon emerge to reinstate the piece's horrific quality. Here and elsewhere, Euvrie draws upon both sides of his persona, and classical melodies and instruments repeatedly find themselves dragged into the diseased muck of his darker side.The mournful organ setting “Collapse” plays like a requiem for a dying civilization, but it's the title track that's the album's centerpoint. Stretching out to a towering fifteen-minute length, “ANTI” hits hard from the first moment with a punishing drum groove and then builds upon it with seething flurries of strings and organ; midway through the drums drop out, leaving the remaining instruments to wail with even more desperation, before the percussion elements return to guide the track to an ultra-intense climax. In this final section, the volume level is so high and the density so strong, the drums almost vanish within the relentlessly roiling mass. At such a moment, ANTI feels light years removed from the comparatively genteel world represented by Acoustic.