I'm wasn't previously familiar with the French band Ysengrin, but I guess that's not a big wonder despite "To Endotaton" being already their third full-length. The album presents forty minutes of lightly psychedelic goth rock with a retro-doom sound, and with a hint of dustiness and heaviness of '90s death metal - and the harsh and growled vocals strengthen this last notion. Yet, behind everything lies black metal. It's quite an unconventional mixture in these days, and makes it even more surprising that the song actually functions. The digital promo included no booklet nor lyrics, thus they won't be commented.

After the more rocking and freely flowing beginning, at nine minutes the song begins to sound more like thrashing proto-black metal - but later it again manifests influences from goth to vintage psychedelic doom, and from some acoustic parts to close to sludge. Everything is tied together by the vintage soundscape that erases the guitars' harshest edges and gives the lighter parts a nice softness. The soundscape also makes the massive piece an easy but very pleasing one for the ears, and makes the cliche horror-synths sound as they should.

Do note that the song has a brief silence and a switch from light psychedelia to heavier doom around the 20-minute mark to make this album function as a vinyl, too. This, along with the overall quality of riffs and the great sense of style that's brought this mixture of genres together, shows how much thought and effort has gone into creating this album. It's bold and experimental, but with style. The song doesn't sound like a bundle of ten different songs because of the stylish and at times unnoticeable transitions from one style and riff to another, and because some of the "themes" reappearing every now and then during the track's length.

The vocal section doesn't steal attention from the riffs, but moreso serves as a dramatic add. Some quest vocalists deliver cleaner chants and different types of growls depending whether the atmosphere is light or dramatically building, and overall they fit in rather well. The sturdy and nicely oldschool bass-sound does wonders to the songs and their feel, too.

This album is both a bold and successful one. It just didn't manage to create the wow-effect I would've hoped for when noting the possibilities for experimentation and dramatic builds a 40-minute track allows by default. Perhaps seeing and knowing the lyrics would've helped?

Other than that it's a good, solid, well executed and -composed album that isn't a heavy listen despite its structure. Very recommended for fans of occult heavy metal and experimental black metal.

8+ / 10