Sunday, 16 September 2012

Neige Éternelle – Forêt Nord-Côtière : Shattered icicles of hatred 80%

In the midst of the cold Labrador current, a dark mist shall appear. As the wind lays his grasp on the fir trees outside, the windows of your frail little shack are frozen, the candles are laying on the floor, fire can't survive here. Grab the snowshoes on the wall, yeah, the ones just beneath these antlers. There's nothing synthetic about this winter, nothing. The cold grasp of the white danger will attack your sanity and it will destroy your will to live. Your naked skin, victim of the howling wind is getting blue, the door opens, you put your fur coat, a gritty warmth traded against mirrors and you search for your flask in the inside pocket, you twist the cap and drink a sip of whisky. Despite the snow storm, you step forward, seeking, drinking, it's freezing but it's rewarding. Your beard full of shattering icicles is moving, it makes a strange sound buried under the sound of the cracking sound, but there's another sound coming from the middle of the frozen river in front of you, there's a man wearing a checked shirt with no sleeves singing his life, his face, bloody and dark appears lifeless. You approach him, his screeching voice resonates, the ice, albeit being thick starts to split. The icy cold water welcomes your soul, your breath stops as the liquid penetrates your lungs, intoxicating, deadly.

That's how the demo made me feel like, but here's the actual non pretentious content ! Neige Éternelle's first demo is a very promising delivery of fast paced aggressive black metal from Baie Comeau, a town located approximately 420 kilometres north-east of Québec City and near the Saint Lawrence river. This maritime identity is reflected in the demo title "Forêt Nord-Côtière" or north-coast forest in English. Just like many coast villages in Norway, this region of the province has many fishermen and the comparison with the Scandinavian brothers doesn't stop here, this 4 songs demo is a really strong black metal release in the vein of Gorgoroth and other Norwegian black metal bands. It's fast paced métal noire in French and for a first release, it's fucking promising. The main thing I liked is the Sti's vocals, they're the traditional black attack, but they're very in your face and even understandable at time and that's something fun for a French speaker, the lyrics are about patriotism, sadness and hate. The snippets I understood were well written and I'd like to read them, sadly the band was out of tapes when I told them I wanted to write a review the demo. The good vocals are complimented by the production who puts them in a very graceful place, not too buried, not too loud, simply the right amount of venom and hate.

Sti, the front man of the band
Their style of black metal is very well produced and it almost sounds like a professional album and I had to remind that I was listening to a demo throughout my first listening, I was quite impressed to say the least. The production fits both the 2 fast paced songs and the 2 more atmosheric ones and the band succeeds at being emotional and pertinent in both of these style. The atmospheric side of Forteresse is definitely comparable in both themes and sound. Don't get me wrong, it's not ambient or Darkspacey, it remains aggressive and fast. Also, there's a cool raw epic edge in Neige Éternelle's music, it makes things interesting without the need of technicality or complexity. While the riffs remains simple, the drums are quite dynamic and gives a very natural feel to the adequate songwriting and musicianship of these guys. The drums on "Fier patriote" are quite awesome and it's one of the highlight for me and I'm usually not quite listening to the percussions.

While not as ground breaking as Neige et Noirceur, the atmosphere of their music is convincing, no frills, keyboards and droney atmospheres, this is pure coldness created by fast snowstorms, eliminating all life forms. Pure coldness, pure black metal. Check this band, they'll release their first full length album this autumn and they'll play Sepulchral production's fest, the second edition of Messe des Morts in November !

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