Agony and wonder, like in life, go hand-in-hand on Dirge's new self-titled album. Following up on their 2018 debut Ah Puch, the Mumbai-based band unite bitter sludge-laden doom with heady post-metal as they explore some of the deep, fundamental crises and emotions that humans go through. Across four tracks, Dirge investigates what it means to suffer, hope, and ultimately just exist. There's a stark contrast between heavy, riff-slinging onslaughts and moments where the listener simply floats through the warm atmosphere the band creates, and that contrast only improves one's appreciation for the powerful motifs on display here.

Dirge excels at both agonizing doom and aggrieved sludge–two distinct flavors of amplified discontent that delineate themselves clearly throughout the album. Furthermore, they're able to weave them into their adventurous post-metal structures, a talent that shines on this new album: they allow plenty of headroom and oxygen in the quietest parts, only to rip all that out with gutting riffs and heart-stopping crescendos. Even so, there's a sense of gentleness as the band dismantles listeners' emotional states-amidst the brusque, chunky chords you'll find tender notes, surprisingly hopeful harmonies, and cautious pacing. These are difficult topics and even the riffs respect that, in a way.

To dive deeper into the album's narrative, we had the band provide a track-by-track breakdown of the album -- read on below as you listen.



1. "Condemned"

The frustration of being helpless, forms the foundation of this song. We are surrounded by agents of hate, regression, or oppression, always trying to reap benefits from suffering. The unwritten laws of today’s society have been designed to wring the innocence out of humankind. To transcend and evolve out of this situation seems like an impossibility. The song speaks about this feeling of hopelessness that haunts us. It takes the listener on an introspective journey through “the rings of crises” by accepting the futility of hope.

2. "Malignant"

Deep within our mind, is a part of our personality which is evil in nature. It is an amalgamation of a survival instinct and malicious greed. This malignant trait makes one capable of hurting anyone. Once it is triggered a sense of pure malice takes over, dissolving guilt. This song is an embodiment of this hidden trait that all of us possess. Pathological lies spoken for selfish reasons are a prime example of this malignant trait. A pathological liar will weave a web of lies which in turn will end up entangling him/herself. The criminality of the lies may vary for each person, but it’s the same instinct that makes anyone lie. On accepting the futility of hope in the first song/layer, the listener is reconciled with their inner malignancy in this second song/layer of “the rings of crises”.

3. "Grief"

This song talks about losing someone extremely close to you, someone you can't imagine a life without. It leads to a deep wound which never heals and makes you feel entirely numb and shatters you from within. The sorrow we experience in such times is endlessly vast like an ocean. Like Nick Cave said “Grief occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. If we love, we grieve”.

4. "Hollow"

As the last song, hollow ties the entire album together. The first half of the song speaks about situations that are deeply terrifying. It talks about a state of mind in which one is completely drowning in fear. The second half of the song is a catharsis. It is the actualisation of the fact that fear is nothing but a tool that shapes us. It makes the listener realise that without the negative agents in our life, it would be impossible to realise the positive. The song ends with a feeling of relief.


Dirge is available today on Bandcamp.

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