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Quality splited... - 70%

Trepas, August 2nd, 2003

The nowday french black scene is one of the vastest and of the most diversified ; some bands like Vlad Tepes, Mütiilation, Blut Aus Nord and Gorgon are well known of the fans of underground black metal and are respected. But other very good bands from France like Arkham are yet mostly unknown.
The split-demo with Nuit Noire is the second demo of Arkham, and in my opinion there best one (but I don't have heard there latest demo yet). The band claim to be Lovecraftian Dark Metal. But Lovecraftian Dark Black Metal is a better definition I think. By "Lovecraftian", they mean that they use the stories of the american novelist H. P. Lovecraft like principal inspiration, like many other bands like Summoning does with the Tolkien stories. I would like specify that some bands like Kataklysm are inspired by the Necronomicon's mythology of Lovecraft, but Arkham are inspired of the stories of Lovecraft, not only by his mythology.
Like I've said before, Arkham play mostly Dark Black Metal. The music is relativly simple, but it have some melodies. Sometime, there music sound similar to Gorgon, but with a biggest inclination on the atmophere (this atmosphere is mostly in the Dark Metal vein). The vocal is mostly obscur, come from far away with some echo, and is very piercing : it let me think to the vocal of Funeral Frost from Sweden but with a better "control" and more piercing (similar to Vintersemestre on this point). For the drum, it is very rythmed, sometime speed and other time slow, and always harmonized with the guitars and the music's athmosphere. Without being excellent on the technical side, he is excellent for make the beats that respect the music. The best track of this album is "Dreams In The Witch-House" (this song also appeared on the compilation Encyclopedia Pestilentia). This track have a medieval touch that don't realy appear on the other tracks of this band. I have also to specify that Arkham sometime use acoustic guitars, and one time on the album, during the track "The Other Gods", they use a femal vocal that sing in french (they rarely use french on this album).
For Nuit Noire (that mean "Black Night" by the way), I'll don't have as many good words than for Arkham. Nuit Noire is garage Black Metal (without any production and that sound like any band that record in there local with only a normal recorder). For the production and the music, Nuit Noire sound similar to the norwegian band Raven : but, contrary to Raven (that it's good in this vein), Nuit Noire arn't really good. Some riffs are good, but in general it's normal. The vocal can be good, but only if you like vocal totally out of tune. For the drum, it isn't better : his beats are simple, and often inappropriate : that sound often like if he don't complete his beats, and he make some strange progression.
Finaly, this demo is interesting only for the Arkham side : this band is enough original, have a good atmosphere and is pushy. But Nuit Noire, without being totaly boring, have a lack of originality and of mastery. I think that it's a band that have prefere records something of mediocre instead to wait a little bite and make a better work.

Arkham = 9/10
Nuit Noire = 4.5/10