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Flame, Dear Flame : The Millennial Heartbeat (EP)

German Epic Doom band Flame, Dear Flame deliver a stunningly effective female-fronted debut EP.

Music, as with any art, comes best to fruition when created with contrasts. Think of the effect that a pool of swirling black and grey gives to an eventual rise of dark blue that dynamically lightens to the shade of the sky. Without dark, there can be no light, and thus, gloom, a predominant trend in our beloved genre, is best realized when juxtaposed against the radiant luster of illumination. In music, these contrasts or dynamics can be realized by a host of elements. These can range from rhythm to melody (or lack thereof) to the particular instrumentation, voicing, and timbre of such. Bands with the most fortuitous legacies have personalized their use of dynamics and contrasts creating music that cements itself firmly imprinted into our very souls.

Flame, Dear Flame is a young band. Formed just two years ago, the band are still unsigned. They have independently released their first offering of original material, an EP titled 'The Millennial Heartbeat'. Composed of three medium length songs, the EP runs just over twenty-one minutes and is a stark compendium of uniquely crafted Epic Doom that manages to dazzle with its use of dynamics, mighty, majestic riffs, haunting melodies, and soaring, crystalline female vocals.

For such a young band, Flame, Dear Flame has a mature sound, one that many bands toil decades to achieve a semblance of. The production of the EP is truly of the highest echelon. The drums keep the pace with a tempered fury with cymbal crashes contributing a gorgeous wash over their respective accents. The guitars have an inherent dualism as the cleans are lush, poignant, and pensive, while the distorted tones have the majesty of Candlemass combined with the spectacle and grandeur of the older sounds of Anathema. Maren Lemke’s vocals tie everything together, though. Her voice resonates throughout the three tracks combining soul, narrative, and splendor.

'The Millennial Heartbeat Part I' starts things off somberly. Initially, there is a sense of hushed reverence permeating, but soon enough, the heavy guitars make their appearance. Judicious playing allows things not to get too cluttered. The main riff, though simple in nature, ventures into a dissonance that when resolved and combined with Maren’s voice, becomes pure bliss. As the bass collides underneath, it gains its prominence by forcefully pushing against the guitar chords. One could think of the music as a global map populated by diverging continents represented by each member.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the album is the final track, 'The Millennial Heartbeat Part III'. Opening with large swathes of hanging Doom chords, a clean guitar section is next presented. This particular part has an eerie, pervasive feeling that permeates deeply into the mind as it is perfectly paired with the hauntingly enchanting vocals. It is simply impossible not to be reminded of classic tracks from The Gathering such as 'Strange Machines'. Maren’s vocals strongly resemble those of Anneke van Giersbergen and that is meant as the highest of compliments. Overall, though, Flame, Dear Flame retain stronger ties to their Epic Doom roots than their Dutch counterparts. It is after the midway point that the song begins to limitlessly soar into perilous heights. After a quick interlude, there is a Black Metal-sounding part that gives birth to a prolonged melodic exercise. This sets up the triumphant return of the song’s original, epic majesty. The pairing of a soft, clean guitar riff and Maren’s last repeated lyrics of "And all their deeds will be as though never done" sends the song off with a rich, palpable sense of melancholy.

It is a privilege to witness such a prodigious first outing by a band. With three carefully crafted songs, the EP’s impact is solidified firmly. Ultimately, it is the greatest of successes for not only does it elicit repeat listens but also leaves one voraciously yearning for more. This is not to be missed for 'The Millennial Heartbeat' is quite the auspicious beginning for a captivating band that command emotion, atmosphere, and unbridled creativity.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. The Millennial Heartbeat Part I
2. The Millennial Heartbeat Part II
3. The Millennial Heartbeat Part III

Duration : Approx. 21 minutes

Visit the Flame, Dear Flame bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-08-23 by Chris Hawkins
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