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Those God-Damned Vocals - 60%

FullMetalAttorney, December 13th, 2011

Flenser contacted me with a promo copy of the sophomore full-length of Bosse-de-Nage, simply titled II.

The promo materials call this "minimalist" black metal, which is something I find interesting. It's interesting because this is clearly post-black metal, complete with the riding-on-waves feel of most bands in the genre and a heavy reliance on the loud/quiet/loud dynamic. Why not call it that? Perhaps "post-black" has taken on a bad reputation with its hipster associations.

Everything about the music is simple and its intent is to lull you into a trance. It's high-pitched most of the time, but when the bass guitar becomes more prominent is when the band really shines. Most of the time, it's the drums providing the real interest with simple but effective patterns. The music, considered on its own merit, is actually pretty good, but the vocals could be a deal breaker. They have a whiny quality to them that's just a little off-putting for me, but could be unbearable to others.

But back to the hipster associations of post-black metal, this album reminds me a good deal of Liturgy. And with its lyrical/thematic focus on such things as, well, stuff that sounds like hipster bullshit, I'm sorely tempted to toss this in the same bin. But with a historical association to the unassailable (in my mind) Aesop Dekker (Agalloch/Ludicra) and a respectable up-and-coming label like Flenser, it's tough to be so cavalier about it.

The verdict: honestly, this is the first time I've felt internal pressure to self-censor (no outside pressure was applied) in the hopes of getting more promos from the label. But my first duty is to be honest with myself and second is to be honest with whomever may read this. The album is ultimately pretty average with some very good features (the drums and, when you can hear it well, the bass) and some very bad features (the vocals).

Originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/