Thursday, 9 April 2015

Nécropole - Ostara (2015) / 86%

Perdu dans la nécropole, Perdu dans la nécropole!

Even though Caverne and its offshoot band Nécropole (they share two members) are French, a country most famous  for Les Légions Noires, its cult scene from the 1990s, these two projects have more in common with the black metal composed by their Nordic friends of Finland (think Baptism or Vitsaus). 

It's cold, sinister and ethereal métal noir but with a clear sense of melodic riffs and leads and a very huge thundering bass approach. That's always nice to hear such a rhythm section in black metal, you often hear the constant state of blastbeats but the bass is usually subdued or even absent. Sometimes, the bass seems to almost bury the guitar and this creates a pleasant groovy side to their music.

A new trend in black metal is to keep a relatively raw or a traditional approach to black metal sound and merge it with a very melodic edge, that's apparent in bands like Mgla or Sargeist for instance. I mean, it's not melodic black metal played with a non Nuclear Blast production but it's a bit more approachable than your usual basement/bathroom/wardrobe black metal. These Frenchmen are doing it too and it works well for them.

Nécropole's compositions are long and involved and features many tremendous riffs, the tempo is mid paced to fast but the songs are packed with content and these seven and eight minute tracks doesn't feel as long, that's always a cool thing. Their sound is very groovy and almost possess a black and roll influence that fellow Frenchmen Peste Noire developed. The vocals have some depressive black metal influences, they're high pitched, powerful and well enunciated, I can understand some of the lyrics (all In French, I love that) and while I don't have access to them, their themes are mostly philosophical or dark instead of the usual Satanic fare that bores me to death.

Compared to their counterparts of Caverne (who are even better if that's possible), Nécropole is less epic and influenced by Québecois black metal (there's a feel similar to Forteresse in Caverne), there's also some pagan influences and let's say a subtle antisemitic/Nazi identity. Both the epic feel and the racist/nationalist side is downplayed in Nécropole. Dumb and bigot views aside, these bands are composing some wonderful music and if you're able to be comfortable enough with your own ideologies for a moment, you'll be fine. 

I know it's probably a stupid thing to say but the most important thing in black metal is the actual songwriting and these guys truly deliver some sort of very magical and entrancing music. Its atmosphere is grandiose and it's even more impressive that it's not pushing its limits towards atmospheric/cascadian/forest/barbecue/camping black metal but stays safely within the grounds of classic black metal. Being able to build a decent, intriguing atmosphere based on the power of your riffs alone is what makes a black metal band a great one, Nécropole is destined to greatness and a proof that the French black metal scene has worthwhile material to offer in 2015 outside of the dissonant fun fest created by Deathspell Omega. I'd say that this demo is essential if you're a black metal fan who's not only into Watain.

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