Saturday, November 26, 2011

NEIGE ET NOIRCEUR - Hymnes de la Montagne Noire CD review

NEIGE ET NOIRCEUR - Hymnes de la Montagne Noire CD
Sepulchral Productions
Genre: Black Metal/Drone
Rating: 5/5

Although I've never heard anything before by this Montreal, Quebec one man black metal act the name looked familiar. A few years ago Terrorizer Magazine did a great informative write-up on Canadian Black Metal and I believe this one man band, Zifond is the one man responsible for all the instruments as well as the vocals, was mentioned in it. I say that because a name like NEIGE ET NOIRCEUR, which translates into Snow and Blackness, clearly stands out. Also NEIGE ET NOIRCEUR are not new to the darkness. This is the third full length since starting out back in 2005. Hymnes de la Montagne Noire is not as raw or harsh sounding as what I've heard from other French Canadian black metal artists. Musically Zifond mixes a healthy, or better yet frosty, dose of Norwegian second wave era aggressiveness with icy ambiance to created an atmosphere along the lines of early ENSLAVED and mid-period EMPEROR. The drone aspects are felt with the extensive synthesizer usage. One of the best moments coming on "Hymne II – Neige Noire" which is balanced by melodic paced yet epic coldness and a blizzard of harsh blasts. Pardon all of the winter metaphors in use here but the temperature dropped in the middle of the night and I'm waiting for the heat to warm up the house this morning. Obviously it's a perfect time to be listening to this one.

Zifond's nod to cold Nordic bliss doesn't end with the previously mentioned bands. On "Hymne IV – L’aube des magiciens" there's an obvious influence from BATHORY's latter period which starts out like a cold wind blowing across the snow caps and hits you in the face, knocking you to the ground as the ambiance covers you as if you're seeing stars after a knockout. This bleeds into "Hymne V – Le chemin de la montagne noire" one of two over ten minute pieces on here. Once again the BATHORY influence is evident while Zifond adds a more harsher vocal interpretation. This and "Hymne III – Là où demeure la sorcière des neiges" are highlighted by the broken sections within each cut like breaks in a storm front which make every second of this an exciting listen. At certain times you're being overwhelmed with pummeling fury were as at other times it's melodic beauty. The final cut on here "Les Bûcherons", sounds out of place as far as this release plays out. It's a cover song originally done by BERURIER NOIR an early 80's French Punk Rock act. Sorry but they're an unknown to me but Zifond (I'm guessing here) runs it through his own icy mindset filling it with foreboding death doom atmospherics and frigid cruelty before anything resembling punk rock can be recognized. After listening to Hymnes de la Montagne Noire a few times I doubt the heat could remove the numbness which this release delves out in avalanches.




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