One of the most frequent accusations that are addressed to bands dedicated to funeral or death doom (by those who do not like the genre, of course) is to always move within narrow boundaries without opening to variations on the theme. The fact that this happens or not does not determine at all the goodness of a work, in any case Return, Ixion‘s third album, amply demonstrates that the musicians belonging to this musical genre know perfectly what is a stylistic progression. The French duo, which made itself evident with two excellent works such as To The Void and Enfant De La Nuit, continues with Return to develop its imaginary sci-fi / space cloaking it this time, however, with more airy sounds, which at different junctures are open to post metal as well as to some progressive; everything happens, however, without having even for a moment the feeling that the doom background of Ixion is distorted, since in terms of emotional and melodic impact the album is a further step forward in a qualitative sense. If the rhythms remain always very controlled, atmospheric elements take shape more and more and keep the link with doom thanks to melancholy, always the main element of a melodic development that belongs by right to a dark progressive but also dreamy traits; so it happens that Julien Prat and Yannick Dilly end up giving moments of a crystalline beauty, within a compositional development that assumes really peculiar aspects, even finding at times inevitable references to the cosmic afflatus of Pink Floyd and, staying on the French territory, to that of the last Monolithe but with a greater tendency to the creation of a song form, or even of Alcest, for the natural lightness of certain passages. It appears exemplary, to fully grasp the essence of the album, a splendid track like Hanging In The Sky, very close to the wonder caused by the last album of Throes Of Dawn, in which the melodic research touches high peaks, with a guitar solo placed in the final hardly removable from memory; it must be said, indeed, that the instrumental work of Julien Prat surprises for balance and execution in more than one moment, as well as are appropriate his interventions in growl to support the fluid clean vocals of Yannick Dilly. Considering that even in doom, as in all other genres, unfortunately, there are bangs of traditionalists who turn up their nose at the stylistic deviations of the bands, I fear that this work of Ixion runs the risk of not being understood by many: I myself, on the other hand, believe that, when a group has done things in the best way in the past remaining in a well-defined compositional alveo, there is no reason to change course, but Return goes well beyond these trivial considerations, proving in my opinion one of the most exciting works of the year. The only advice I can give to those who want to make it their own is to approach it knowing that the album will have the emotional impact of a caress and not of a jolt: having established this, there will be no more obstacles to prevent the flow of sound of Return through sensitive souls, ready to welcome the clear beauty of the notes that unfold from Out Of The Dark to the final atmospheric enchantment represented by The Dive (Fade To Blue Part 2).
2017 – Finisterian Dead End Records