My Diligence – Death​.​Horses​.​Black.


Brussels trio, My Diligence, started out as a stoner rock band in 2015 before changing their singer and slimming down to a three-piece outfit with pretensions to be heavier. Their third offering in 2022 (see The Matter, Form and Power) caught the attention of Listenable Records, thanks to its heavy psych foundations and latent aggression. Now, they’ve secured a support slot with Scottish heroes, Dvne, on their travels through France and Switzerland, and you’ll find few traces of stoner rock in their music. Where their evolution takes them is hard to define, but it’s worth a try.

Opener, ‘Death’, is what happens when you open a mysterious box out of curiosity for its unknown contents. Listen how the syncopated guitars perforate through a suspended electric note looped in delay. Cédric Fontaine’s vocals leap from rumination to intimidation with no warning of a chorus. You wouldn’t believe that this trio used to find solace in heavy fuzz. The reason you can’t hear a prominent bass in the mix is because My Diligence compose their songs from two guitars.

Drummer, Gabriel Marlier, likes to find his stride and relax early on in this album. By contrast, Fontaine’s gut-throbbing vocal technique in ‘Horses’ provides a wonderful contrast with his breezing voice in the quieter moments. A transition to an earth-shaking Cult of Luna moment at 02:50 will raise the question – where did that come from? Yet you feel that there should be something to cling to in this music, like a chorus or a motif that you can trace in a simple rotational movement. But nothing materialises. Likewise, the trio are ambitious voyagers in ‘Black’, but what is their destination? They could be heading nowhere but then they strike you across the face like a severe gale. Vocal melodies sketch a possible escape route from the Marshall stacks, but they seem imprisoned rather than free to burn bright.

Is the aim of this music to create a floating sensation in the listener? My Diligence would not be offended if you called their art contemptuous of structure, and this is where their origins as a stoner rock unit shine through in their songs. Mystical arpeggios and distant voice projections in ‘Auspicious’ lead into a psychedelic haze of distorted guitars and sleepwalking vocals. A darker mood penetrates through the doom passages at 02:46 like clouds on the horizon. The album would benefit from more clarity, which seldom appears outside the few moments that gaze at a post-metal landscape of anguish. ‘Allodiplogaster Sudhausi’ is like the man who seeks a transformative experience in the mistaken belief that the light to which he gravitates like a moth will not blind him. Fortunately, the drummer steers them away from this error with a new path at the six-minute mark. Yet the band deserve credit if their aim is to break free from the rigid structures that make up the banalities of daily life.

Perhaps the best description of My Diligence’s new sound is hallucinogenic metal. Objects blur and distort and threaten to re-emerge with new properties. The lack of structure and disdain for repetition leave you scratching your head. It makes the sporadic moments of ferocious aggression even more enjoyable even if most of this music is abstract. The closing track is emblematic of this. Here, François Peeters plays his axe like a guitar tech for Simple Minds in their heyday while the doom passages growl underneath like injured beasts unable to come to terms with their impending death.

My Diligence might not know where their journey will end, but they’re certain that taking the route from A to B is not the way to do it. 


Verdict


Release Date: 31/05/2024

Record Label: Listenable Records

Standout tracks: Death, Auspicious, Sacred Anchor

Suggested Further Listening: Cave In – Heavy Pendulum (2023), Psychonaut – Violate Consensus Reality (2022), Fissure of Riddles – The Marble Realm (2022)