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Raw depressive BM with heavy moods on split - 73%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, October 21st, 2013

Interesting that bands still want to release singles, let alone split singles. Two depressive black metal bands from France and Sweden respectively feature on this split with one song each. Their styles complement each other well, each act having a very raw sound with atmosphere in the background.

French act Feigur leads the way with a medium-slow track "Le Mâne" where the mood of the music seems heavy and oppressive. The whirring guitars have an exposed open-wound texture and the vocals are very anguished if overly melodramatic and sometimes just plain hammy. Lead guitar solo has a piercing shrill tone. The song splits almost in two unequal halves with a quiet, sorrowful and almost meditative instrumental interlude. A comparison can be made between Feigur on the one hand and Alcest and Alcest-related band Amesoeurs on the other: Feigur have a harsher sound, and the singing is equally as harsh and screechy, but somehow I feel that if any one of Neige's acts were to perform with Feigur, in next to no time the two would be playing together as one unit in which nothing comes across as off-kilter for either Neige or Feigur.

Lustre's contribution "The Final Beauty" can be just as uncompromising and unforgiving in its industrial-grade sandpaper BM guitar approach. The guitars raise a rhythmic noise cloud shaped by tremolo guitar and powered by steady if unremarkable percussion. Those pure-toned synthesiser melodies can be too obtrusive in the mix, pushing the black metal riffs and melodies backwards into the background. The song is repetitive and some listeners will find it boring. There is a sense that Lustre might not have known how to take this song into a different dimension, one not perceived by normal human senses.

I have to say that though he has the better sound, Lustre ultimately loses to Feigur in having a highly repetitive song that doesn't seem able to go in a definite direction that might take the listeners on deep spiritual journeys and find out something about themselves they hadn't known before, like resilience in the face of personal suffering or chronic stress. Feigur combines harsh, keening BM with moments of melodic-guitar self-examination, amid an atmosphere of isolation, loneliness and gradual loss of hope. Yet there seems to be a resolve to pull oneself together, forge a new path and confront one's crises, however dark they are. Lustre's music does have a slightly robotic quality to it, due perhaps to over-reliance on preprogrammed percussion and rhythms, and this might alienate listeners in a way not intended.