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The label Dusktone popped out seemingly out of nowhere, but has quickly released a handful of records and signed a whole bunch of acts for future endeavors. There’s undoubtedly a theme for the label; I’d call it depressive music, but you might call it cold, bleak, melancholic, whatever. One thing’s for sure and this will most likely become the biggest resource for suicidal music so far this side of the millennium. Grisâtre was the first band to get released, but unfortunately it’s so generic Dusktone got off to a bad start.
This five-track CD consists of three separate three minute long ambient/piano-driven tunes, and in my book it sounds just as lifeless and bland as every other ambient black metal band out there, and lacks any and all appeal to me. Amidst these tune we get served two lengthy songs, both about 16 minutes long, of depressive black metal, or perhaps atmospheric black metal. It doesn’t really matter how you categorize it, ‘cause it all comes down to the fact that it sounds like hundreds of other one-man bands out there, the only difference being this guy can actually handle his instruments and the production doesn’t outright suck.
With IV being the first real song (for some reason we’re counting backwards here) it opens up with a thin guitar sound, slow drumming, a constant keyboard line and shrieking vocals. Doesn’t seem very unique, now does it? Well, it’s not, but it is surprisingly way better than a lot of similar acts. For one thing the drums aren’t programmed (or if they are he’s done one hell of a job making them sound lifelike), and instead of just repeating the same two beats over and over again there’s actually variation in both drum patterns and tempo, while still remaining at a constant slow. The vocals aren’t annoyingly howled in the Burzum manner, like most acts of the caliber are, but are of a more gnarly and shrieking pitch. Riff-wise there’s nothing interesting for me, seeing as I find the guitar to work more as a complement to the keys instead of adding actual substance to the music. But nonetheless 16 minutes of this is too much, and after five minutes or so you’ve heard the song already.
II switches things up a bit by actually going fast, and for a moment the drumming reminds me a whole lot of Ancient Wisdom’s earlier releases. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to leave the droning (not genre-wise, just monotonous-wise) landscapes behind. Unfortunately it only lasts a couple of minutes, and then we’re back to the same slowmotion repetition, and it’s IV all over again. And once again 16 minutes is just way too long.
Admittedly this is not my cup of tea stylistically. I’ve grown so damn bored of the depressive black metal variant that it’s a gruesome task to have to sit through an album like that. I don’t see the appeal, not when 95% of the acts sound exactly the same. Thankfully Grisâtre has some qualitative aspects to offer, and hence ends up with the other 5%. The production, as mentioned earlier, doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a teenager’s livingroom, but is actually quite deep, yet typically bleak. I can see how people who are into this type of black metal will find this to kick ass, but to me it sounds just like Krohm, Leviathan, Vinterriket, Xasthur and whatnot. Just not for me.
Originally written for My Last Chapter