Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gris - A L'ame Enflamee, L'ame Constelee (2013)
And speaking of innovative black metal releases, here we have one that truly sounds like no other I've heard. Mixing classical folk passages with emotive black metal, Quebecois band Gris have made an intriguing and highly mature record. There's no blast beats at all here; rather, there's a very doomy atmosphere with seamless transitions into some gorgeous clean passages. Indeed, Gris' approach to black metal is quite reminiscent of how Empyrium approached doom/death metal. "A L'ame..." is also quite different from Gris' previous album "Il Etait une Foret," particularly because the former has much cleaner production and balances black metal with classical folk in about equal proportions. This is clearly the sign of a band progressing their sound and making a mature statement. I can't say this album impressed me as much as, say, the new Summoning or Deafheaven records, but it is a very deep and complex album that probably wasn't meant to be as immediately accessible as those records anyways. In any case, it's one of the most unique black metal albums I've heard and I'm very interested to see what the band does next.

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