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Amesoeurs > Amesoeurs > 2009, CD, Profound Lore Records > Reviews
Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs

Same people, different feelings - 91%

LawrenceStillman, May 23rd, 2023
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Profound Lore Records

As a fan of Alcest, I pretty much checked out this album the moment I heard that Neige and co. had another post-black album with another project. Amesoeurs' self-titled album is a short-lived, concentrated effort by four individuals: Neige, Winterhalter, Fursy Tessier, and Audrey Sylvain. This album blends post-black metal and post-punk to create an album that conveys the bleak and depressive feelings of urban life. To say that the band and album name are ironic would be an understatement. Audrey was at odds with Niege and co. after the album was released and burned bridges with them, joining Peste Noire for a while before joining and leaving lots of projects, which contradicts the band's name because it translates into "soulmates".

Compared to Alcest's sound of hope, cheerfulness, and uplifting, Amesoeurs' sound is the audible manifestation of urban depression. It has grunge's apathetic spirit, but it does not sound as hopeless as grunge does. This is nothing new in metal, as bands like Diapsiquir have done this before, with their black metal/hip-hop sound being the soundtrack of urban decay. But what sets this album apart from others is the involvement of Neige, and it has lots of elements of post-black/shoegaze with a healthy dose of post-punk.

The album shifts between a lot of emotions and tones. Sometimes it sounds cheerful like the title track, sometimes it sounds like a pure black metal track (Trouble), and sometimes it conveys this wistful and depressive feeling, as if it is saying "urban life is this inescapable prison" (La Reine Treyeuse). The cleaner sections might appeal to popheads who want to venture into indie music, but it is still pretty heavy and oppressive in its atmosphere, so consider this a heads-up. Every song here sounds different from one another, but they all have the same feeling and atmosphere of bleakness and depression. Some of the songwriting here ended up influencing Alcest's album Escailles de Lune, which is one of the best post-black metal albums there is.

Production-wise, it is very clean and crisp. The guitars have this airy feeling that gives this album its atmospheric feel, the bass is fairly audible and crunchy, and the drums are also loud and clear while not sounding triggered or programmed. The vocals here are pretty amazing too; some of the best sections of the album are the ones with Audrey's singing, like the ending of the self-titled track. But Neige is no slouch himself; his vocals are pretty good too. His vocals have this desperate and trapped aura to them, like an urbanite trapped in this jungle of steel and concrete, but they are pretty underutilised as a whole.

This is the first and final album featuring these four individuals together. After this album, Audrey burned bridges with the other three members of the group and went her own way, while the remaining three kept up with their respective projects and are still releasing great music today. Despite the band's short life and only releasing one album, what they did here ended up influencing post-black metal for the better, with some of the bands copying this style doing well enough to not be clumped as an Alcest/Amesoeur copycat.

Amesoeurs is dead, and another journey has begun.

Swallowed by the hive indeed.

Highlights: Faux Semblants, La Reine Trayeuse, Amesoeurs

An Intriguing Experiment - 95%

TimJohns, December 10th, 2014

Whenever I come across this profound and sorrowful work of art, there are a mix of different emotions to found. From the harsh and dismal black metal driven tunes to the lighter pop-orientated and beautiful tracks, there are many delightful surprises scattered across the entire album. There is quite the unique blend of sounds and influences, whether it be shoegaze, post-punk, black metal or even depressive rock. "Amesoeurs" are trying to create a one of a kind album that evokes a depressing yet somewhat hopeful and blissful vibe while showing their oblivious inspirations such as "The Cure". The opener is by far the most epic tune on this album where the bass is the driving force followed by a catchy guitar hook that builds up to absolute musical insanity and emotional liberation. The leader of "Amesoeurs" named Neige is particularly known for showing his love for black Metal and shoegaze equally and especially on his own band "Alcest". However on "Amesoeurs", Neige's recognizable sound is quite minimal in the midst of the different musical ideals of the other band members.

Another standout track is the mellow and soft "Faux Semblants" where the angelic voice of Audrey Sylvain is absolutely captivating and mesmerizing. As the albums progresses in what feels like a cool autumn evening with rain pouring down in the streets of an old French village, the harsher and more resentful felt track, "Receuillment" sounds almost to be like the equivalent of what "The Beatles" would have sounded like if they had gone black metal. The same song also contains a brief guitar solo that although has fragments of beauty also gives the listener the impression that something ominous is about to happen. Finally, the last of my favorite tracks would have to be the closer "Au Crepuscule de Nos Reves" even though it is bleak, somber and abrasive there is somehow a deep sentiment that there is a bright shimmer of light shining, showing how beauty is to be found in even the darkest places. The only two minor drawbacks that I have with this album, would be that the tracks do not flow together particularly well due how different the tracks sound from one another and how each track has it's own different feel and approach.

Despite this, "Amesoeurs" produced an exceptionally memorable, near perfect and fulfilling masterpiece in my opinion. Unfortunately like many metal bands that sound out of the norm and entirely different from the vast majority, "Amesoeurs" did not last long at all and the band members split up soon after the completion of the album. Yet, surprisingly somehow many of the band members still play occasionally with Neige on his own current projects. Over the recent years, this album has become a bit of a cult classic and is strongly appreciated among many metal fans. This is an album that strongly portrays and gives the impression of a bleak and gloomy reality inside a cold, dark and foggy world. As a whole, this album remains to be among one of my favorites in the black metal realm and throughout time and time again has thoroughly impressed me with it's ability to create such a dark, depressing and dismal shoegaze and black metal sound.

Entrancing with their atmosphere - 80%

ancientnostalgia, January 16th, 2014

As a very big fan of Agalloch and Alcest, I was recommended Amesoeurs as a band that somewhat is on a similar plain in terms of musical style. The cover instantly caught my attention, and seemed a visual representation of their lyrical themes of urban mundanity that is delineated on this site. After listening to this complete album, I would still say that the visual images generated whilst entranced in the atmosphere created by these talented musicians matches the album artwork a lot. An abandoned, gothic city of black spires, dystopian and depressed.

The vocals of Audrey Sylvain are truly spectacular - an innocent yet tortured voice that is true perfection in the context of this album. Contrasted against Neige's soaring and shredding vocals, it successfully created a pervading atmosphere that I could compare to Alcest's "Ecailles de Lune", except without any remnants of positivity.

As for my favourite tracks of the album - my recommendations include: Heurt, Recueillement, Faux Emblants, I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX ˆ IX XIX ˆ IV V I IV, and La Reine Trayeuse.

"Heurt" begins with distressing ambient sounds that convey a feeling of suspenseful torture - followed by a typically Neige chord progression - truly depressing yet entrancing and astounding. Audrey Sylvain's vocals begin enshrouded with a radio-like fuzzed vocal filter that further add to the torturous atmosphere of the song. Her vocals cease, welcoming somewhat a punkish chord progression that I found very catchy. The rest of the song is fairly lethargic with strong use of repetitive and unorthodox chord progressions that after some time began to lose me, however the very nature of the chord progressions themselves amazed me as they are so unexpected that they demand your attention.

"Recueillement" is probably my single favourite track on this album - expressing Neige's true vocal talent and the pulchritude that can be achieved and felt whilst Neige's vocals soar over shoegaze-style guitars. This song probably incorporates black metal elements the most of all others on the album, and does so very well. All chord progressions beautifully accomodate Neige's shrieking vocals, whilst the slurred and lethargic guitar picking further amalgamates the atmosphere created by this album.

"Faux Emblants" truly shows off the perfection of Audrey Sylvain's vocals - how they smoothly convey a permeating atmosphere of innocence slightly afflicted by a pondering depression. This song is one of the more punk and shoegaze influenced tracks on the album, and incorporates minimal or no black metal influences. If anything, it is more melodic and hopeful, giving the album a positive light.

"I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX ˆ IX XIX ˆ IV V I IV" commences with an enraged Neige's shrieking vocal assault, accompanied with a chromatic and repetitive black-metal-crust-punk type chord progression. This slowly fades into shoegaze, with unorthodox yet entrancing chord progressions, and then once again returns to the theme of the start. I would say, the first part of the song is the most memorable.

Finally, "La Reine Trayeuse" combines catchy shoegaze depressive riffs with Audrey Sylvain's vocals, however less graceful than "Faux Emblants".

Ultimately, this album created not so much a mystical atmosphere that is often generated by Neige in Alcest, but more a depressive and doubtful emptiness and mundanity of life that I can strongly perceive in their musical themes. Their conjuction of black metal and shoegaze themes, alongside clean vocals against Neige's shrieks, is truly magnificent. The only reason I have not granted this 100% is due to the lethargy often experienced in the later parts of certain songs that I find unnecessary and unproductive to the development of the song. Truly a great album nevertheless! A shame that no more are coming apparently.

If you are a fan of this album; I highly recommend listening to the works of Les Discrets, or Alcest!

Worthwhile album from this ephemeral project - 75%

IcemanJ256, November 18th, 2013

This is one of the last Neige albums I’ve checked out on my quest to discover the essence of his career, much because it has such mixed reviews. My expectations were kind of low, but it’s much better than I thought. It’s quite similar to Lantlos – perhaps not quite as heavy, not as spacey, and a bit more melodic. Compared to Alcest, I’d say it’s less atmospheric and “dreamlike,” and the songs are a tad more traditionally structured. I guess Amesoeurs sort of lies somewhere in between those bands as far as heaviness. It has much more of a gloomy, desolate feel than those other bands, so if Alcest bores you to tears with their dreamy soundscapes, this has more of a hard edge to it.

I’d say the style overall combines black metal, post-rock, and post-punk. The guitars can be light and airy, and very melodic, reminiscent of certain Cure albums, usually alternating between more a distorted sound. In fact, all instruments are very clear, crisp, and well-defined – the production here is top-notch. Neige’s wonderful black metal screams are spotted here and there, but the female vocals (sung exclusively in French) are the forefront. I love the addition of female vocals to this style. They are not powerful or ranged by any means; but more of a lethargic, depressive post-punk style, which fits perfectly I might add.

The last song, “Au Crépuscule de Nos Rêves” is probably my favorite. It is one of the only three songs with harsh vocals, but also breaks down into some really gorgeous instrumental parts. It seems like the most sincere and emotional song here and a great end to the album.

This is a challenging one to recommend to a particular audience because it has so many differing sides. Obviously, the closest would be fans of Neige’s other projects, but not everyone necessarily likes this too. It is probably too soft for fans of more “true” black metal, and fans of more classic post-punk such as The Cure, Joy Division, etc. might have a hard time with the black metal vocals. People may have an issue with the clean vocal style or even the language it’s sung in. All I can say is one with an open mind will be rewarded.

Soundtrack to rainy, dark cities. - 95%

greywanderer7, July 8th, 2012

In a way, the sound of this band can be described as The Cure meets Burzum meets Joy Division. With female vocals (I'll get into them later). In essence, this is a post-punk album, with some black metal undertones (unlike the preceeding EP, which was the other way around).

Now, the atmosphere of the album is something else, and definitely something to stand out. It's like the one of a cloudy, dark day (or night) in the big metropolis, it's not angry, violent or desperate, it's more like....resigned. Resigned to live trapped in the concrete jungles which are cities, living just to work in some shitty job, without any actual purpose, and paradoxically, being fascinated with that concrete jungle, using technology, drugs, alcohol, and meaningless relationships, which, unbeknownst to us, are used as an escape to the void (not a Sepultura reference, lol) that modern world has brought to our lives, where everything is automatized, to the point that we ourselves have become some sort of zombies. But it's not an entirely bleak atmosphere, in a more even strange turn, it may result uplifting, and hopeful, and it gives us the sensation that we should look further from the barriers that have been imposed upon us to look for something actually worthwhile. Now, to the actual album...

The production is polished, with the guitars having an airy tone, the bass being audible, and the drums sounding dry and clear, but not triggered. There are relatively few harsh vocals in here, those are only present in 'Recueillement', 'Trouble (Éveils Infâmes)', and 'Au Crépuscule de Nos Rêves', and it's a shame, because Neige is a hell of a vocalist, and his screams could benefit the depressive feel of the album. But, Audrey is a great singer, she sounds innocent, but world-weary, sweet, but bitter, and her vocals have quite a sensual feel to it. They really fit into the concept and atmosphere of the album.

Due to the variety of influences, it's almost impossible to describe the characteristics of the music as a whole, and one could put aside the songs in two groups: the mainly post-punk, 'soft' ones, and the hybrid, 'blackish' ones. To the first group belong tracks 2, 5, 8 and 10. To the second group belong the rest of the tracks, except track 6, which is an ambient piece, and the only filler track of the album.

The songs from the first group have exclusively female vocals, and while they keep the melancholic, longing atmosphere, some of them are much more upbeat then the ones with black metal influences, like the girly (but one of my favorite songs of the record) 'Video Girl', or especially the title track, an almost happy song. But the songs of the second group are more varied, the full-on black metal assault of 'Trouble (Éveils Infâmes)' being unlike the intriguing Joy Division-with harsh vocals formula of 'Recueillement', the blastbeating frenzy with female vocals of 'Heurt', the post-punkish first half of 'La reine trayeuse', which builds up to a black metal part with Audrey screaming, or the crushing dirge that leads to the most intense black metal section in the entire record, on the final track.

In conclusion, this is an enormous mixed bag, and it could have benefited from a greater use of black metal influences. Unfortunately, the band split-up, and it's a fucking shame, because they clearly had the potential to surpass this, but, apparently, they had conflicting ideas about the band's future. In fact, the radical musical shifts throughout the length of this album are the most overwhelming proof of this. It's still extremely good, if it's taken as it is. The tr00 black metal fans will most likely hate it, and the fans of lighter styles may consider the black metal sections awkward or unfitting, so this is pretty much for the 'openminded' listeners. Some songs don't click instantly with the listener, but tend to grow with time.

Oh, did I mention that this is so much better than Alcest in every possible way?

Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs - 70%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

Best known as a side-project of Neige from post-metal darlings Alcest, Amesoeurs is something of a blackened shoegaze supergroup, with members of Peste Noire and Empyrium coming together with Neige to create something quite nice. I am a huge fan of Alcest, and really liked the first Amesoeurs release with the EP 'Ruines Humaines', so I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, 'Amesoeurs' is not the masterpiece debut album that I hoped for at the back of my mind, but it has manages to achieve a sound of its own, which for a supergroup, is a rare achievement in itself.

Although Amesoeurs has long been labelled as a black metal band, the self-titled debut does not embrace the style completely. 'Ruines Humaines' hinted at some pretty fierce depressive black metal, but here, it is as if they decided to go in a different direction than what the EP teaser implied. Instead of being 'black metal', or even metal in general, 'Amesoeurs' might best be compared with alot of shoegaze and post-punk bands. Upbeat drum beats, melodic guitar leads and Audrey Sylvain's soft voice are about as far from black metal as mandarin oranges are from devastating oil spills in the Pacific Ocean(?) Regardless, for those craving a harder edged sound, there are some faster-paced sections that verge on the tremolo picking of black metal, although things rarely get any heavier than Alcest's work with 'Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde'.

Amesoeurs definitely feels like the work of a couple of musicians who each have their own ideas of what they want the band to be. This results in a shift between graciously mid-tempo tunes, more upbeat post-punk parts, and the occasional return to the black metal sound of 'Ruines Humaines'. Whoever wanted Amesoeurs to go the mellow route seems to have prevailed however, because this album favours the lighter side more than anything else. 'Video Girl' and 'La Reine Trayeuse' emphasize an almost-ballad sound to the music, where Audrey's voice takes over with some melancholic melodies and distinctively French lyrics. The execution of 'Amesoeurs' is impressively consistent from the black metal elements to their lightest segments, but the way they approach this dynamic does not sit well with me. Amesoeurs have a strong sound to them, but the lean towards slower songs can lead the album to get a little more tedious than it should have been. Of course, 'Amesoeurs' should not be approached as a metal album, and as long as one isn't expecting a dark black metal record a la Peste Noire, there is impressive beauty to digest here.

Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs - 95%

CyclicChaos8, May 15th, 2009

A kaleidoscopic soundtrack for the modern era; these are the words in the liner notes on the page opposite the band lineup (which, since the flawless Ruines Humaines EP, has expanded to contain secondary guitarist Fursy and drummer Winterhalter). A more apt description of the album as a whole I cannot conjure. Those familiar with Ruines Humaines will be familiar, though will not necessarily know what to expect, with Amesoeurs's first and apparently only full-length release.

Opener "Gas in Veins," easily the best instrumental starter track since Sentenced's "Kaamos," begins with a commanding bass line, expands into an epic, melancholic rock tune, and eventually explodes into spine-tingling post-black metal riffage. "Les Ruches Malades (The Sick Hives)," being the first song proper (and also heretofore only available on a split LP with Valfunde), piques interest and sparks amazement, as female vocalist Audrey's innocent, beautiful singing takes the foreground. Her rich, textured melodies are incredibly striking; the fact that all vocals are in French really add an exotic, comfortable vibe. As opposed to only a third of the Ruines Humaines material being fronted by Audrey (the mindblowing "Fiablesse Des Sens"), she gets to take the center stage on Amesoeurs, performing on six tracks, making instant classics not only of "Les Ruches Malades," but also of the awesome "Faux Semblants (Pretences)" and "Amesoeurs." It's only on four songs, "Recueillement (Meditation)," "Trouble - Eveils Infames (Disturbs - Infamous Awakenings)," and the phenomenal "Au Crepuscule de Nos Reves (In the Twilight of Our Dreams)," along with half of "La Reine Trayeuse (The Queen Milking Machine)," that Neige, mastermind of Amesoeurs and main songwriter/instrumentalist, lends his high-pitched scorching screams. This is exactly the path I was hoping Amesoeurs would take, vocally unbalanced as compared to Ruines Humaines, but switching back and forth between calm and calamity.

All the instrumentation on Amesoeurs is flawless; Neige's emotive and powerful guitar leads seamlessely meld the blissful black metal creations of Alcest (his black metal / shoegaze alterego) with elements of pop, post-rock, and new-wave, most notably The Cure and Depeche Mode. The bass, now handled by Neige also, is wonderfully alive and bubbly, an entity in and of itself, and a fantastic addition to the sound of the guitar melodies. Drumming is incredibly precise, and at the perfect pitch and treble for the material at hand, lending to both the sweeping black metal pieces and the pop sensibilities of the others. Niege and crew also experiment a little, clearly not satisfied with one layer of influence, interrupting Amesoeurs's middle with "I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVII XIX - IX XIX - IV V I IV," a haunting track of lamenting piano within a deep cavernous echo, and ending the album with several minutes of a techno/industrial beat that could've come from Nine Inch Nails.

Anyone who misses this record will be missing out on one of the best musical creations of this decade. It is truly a crushing shame that this appears to be the last creation by Amesoeurs, though I for one will eternally hope that Neige's Alcest begins leaning once again towards their black metal roots, and that Audrey is invited to do some guest vocals. Until then, Amesoeurs will be one of my desert-island CDs and will undoubtedly remain so for a very long time.

I just expected so much more - 60%

Thorgrim666, April 12th, 2009

Black metal mixed with post punk or post rock seems to be the next big thing in the underground extreme metal scene, and Amesoeurs can be easily considered the cutting edge of a bunch of bands that are trying to expand the limits of this music style. Lantlôs, Wolves in the Throne Room, Fen, Velnias, Farsot, Amesoeurs or even Agalloch (although they can’t be exactly considered a black metal band) are bringing different elements that only a few years ago where almost seen as a sacrilege for black metal fans (I include myself into this category). But in the last years my mind began to open for new ways of approaching the black metal tradition, and now I feel even more interested in this kind of expressions that in mainly purist or kvlt unholy black metal atrocities (however I still love a good new traditional black metal album).

So, more than one year ago, when I heard “Ruines Humaines” for the first time, I instantly fell absorbed by the bleak, desperate portrait painted by Amesoeurs. Three songs in 16 minutes with the perfect combination of agression, melancholy, loneliness, pain, desolation... Only with a small defect, it was too short. As you would imagine my expectations for their debut album were really high.

Finally now I can review the final product and, after some weeks of assessment, my verdict is quite negative. All the passion showed in “Ruines Humaines” is completely lost here, with three impressive exceptions, “Gas in Veins”, “Recueillement” and “Au Crépuscule de Nos Rêves”. In this trilogy Amesoeurs brag about all the virtues that where more than evident in “Ruines Humaines”, they just expand the sound from the previous Ep, giving the final result a better treatment and even a deeper feeling of desperation. They’re a monument to the desolate, individual, lonely, desperate reality that surrounds our current existence, a painful cry to the modern society using the weapons of a thoughtful and mature form of expression.

All the rest, except “Trouble (Éveils Infâmes)” (I will comment this one in the next paragraph), pure melancholic pop/rock, nothing really far away from their, I suppose, idolized Joy Division and Sisters of Mercy, but with female vocals. I mean, I do not have anything against “Faiblesse Des Sens” from “Ruines Humaines”, in fact I think that it’s an excellent song, but none of the tracks sung by Audrey Sylvain in “Amesoueurs” reach the amount of emotion shown in the closer of the Ep. In this debut album, the tunes are harmless, not bad though, melodic songs, with a floating sense of melancholy, but nothing that would move me, as “Faiblesse Des Sens” obviously does.

And, what’s the problem with “Trouble (Éveils Infâmes)”? Yes, it’s black metal, but it’s just a bad song, nothing else. It contributes to increase the level of aggression of the album, but it’s just totally worthless.

The last subject in my analysis is the proportion between black metal songs and their poppy, gothic, post punk creations. While 2/3 of “Ruines Humaines” were black metal (the other 1/3 being “Faiblesse Des Sens), this debut album shows us a post punk band with some black metal elements, as the proportion is roughly the opposite. I know that this sound a bit mathematic, and music is a matter of emotions, but that only gives us an overall impression about the weakness of the stuff included in the album.

I’m sure that some might consider this review a bit partial and purist (I really don’t care about it), but I just want people to take it in consideration, as I think that it’s product of a really mature a thoughtful listening, because I’m not afraid of all those who dare to explore the limits of musical styles, and I’m someone that really understood what this band was trying to express in the debut Ep. It´s just that I was expecting so much more (that’s why I decided to do the review weeks after having the album). Well, I’ll just hope Lantlôs sophomore album to fulfill my expectations.

Shotguns At The Ready. - 85%

Perplexed_Sjel, April 1st, 2009

Every Neige project has seemingly been given the KoRn treatment by the underground fans. Sorry, excuse the joke. When Neige first began his shoegaze inspired black metal projects, such as Alcest, the general consensus was that he is a genius. His revolutionary ideas were praised far and wide. Everybody seemed to be a fan. Nowadays, Alcest and even this creation, Amesoeurs, are treated with contempt by the majority of underground fans and have received, in my opinion, unjustified criticism. I suppose it occurs in all walks of life and that I should merely accept bands like Amesoeurs’ fate. Much loved musicians and bands draw an awful lot of hatred from those who don’t appreciate them. We all do it, I do too. We criticise the hell out of bands who receive a lot of praise, who appear to be verging on mainstream as opposed to sticking with their extreme, underground roots. Amesoeurs have been given the treatment. Like a dirty old dog, they’ve been taken and left outside in the cold winter night. As a fan of Amesoeurs myself, I take the bands criticism with a pinch of salt. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that the French act, who’s self-titled debut we’re discussing here, is the be all and end all of metal music. There are faults when it comes to Amesoeurs, particularly in terms of the individuals behind the music and their childish games. Its no secret that Amesoeurs have broken-up over something so ridiculous and trivial. I am assuming there must be more to it than what we understand, but the facts still remain, for a band to split up over such trivial nonsense is inane. The career of Amesoeurs has been brief but people like myself have been treated to some classy music over the years, ever since the arrival of ‘Ruines Humaines’ back in 2006.

Amesoeurs, the so-called rip-off merchants of the underground scene have drawn a lot of attention from angry black metal fans. Apparently, a fair chunk of the material on the new record has been stolen from the ideas of other bands. Is it not acceptable for a band to show their influences openly in the modern world? I imagine every musician has one source of inspiration or another and perhaps taking another bands sound and evolving it into your own, mixing your own ideas and thoughts into the process whilst you’re at it, isn’t so much ripping-off others’ content, but putting a new spin on something that has become dated and overused. This multi-talented French act don’t seem too similar to any band I listen to, perhaps apart from Alcest, who’re probably also rip-off merchants for that matter. The problems within the music of this record lie not in what sounds similar to someone else, but within the general content and construction of the songs. For example, Neige takes command of the vocals at certain points and with this new found appreciation for subtlety, his harsh black metal rasps don’t sound as effective as they might have done with Alcest, back in the early days of that particular bands creation. I like his vocal performances for Alcest, both the screams and the clean vocals, but when it comes to Amesoeurs, I’m looking for laid back and relaxing, which is something Audrey brings to the sound of Amesoeurs. Surprisingly, this is something I must have missed in the early days, Audrey also controls the bass, which seems far more prominent and promising than the lead guitars, which comes in the form of two guitarists. Her performance, perhaps ironically considering the problems behind the scenes, is somewhat of a saving grace to the lesser songs, such as ‘Recueillement’.

Neige seems to have been affected by the issues surrounding the band as his performance seems somewhat under par to that of ‘Ruines Humaines’ or even Alcest’s material, including the fully blown black metal outing of the first demo. His vocals are typical of his sound, but alongside the mainly driven bass sound, which constructs a low lying sadness beneath the waves of surprises that struck me throughout, but they don’t deliver when contrasted with the beautiful voice of Audrey. To my ears, there are a number of different sounds on this record. From the black metal inspired ‘Recueillement’ to the indie-like ‘Faux Semblants’, which features a groovy lead guitar, challenging bass, mellow percussion and fantastic clean vocals. Song writing is technical and often odd in its multi-purpose approach. I suppose the indie feel I’m hearing is where the post-punk elements really blossom. The bass driven qualities of bands like Joy Division are on show throughout the piece, inspiring and delivering a suitably ‘nice’ feeling (which isn’t so much like Joy Division as their music is often described as depressive). The mood shifts are interesting (typified by the inclusion of a depressing piano interlude and the uplifting ‘Faux Semblants‘), too. This is what I don’t understand about the sparse inclusion of Neige’s harsh vocals. They don’t suit the laid back mood of the record, especially when the bass takes full effect. ‘La Reine Trayeuse’ is a typical song for Amesoeurs and perhaps my favourite (despite absolutely adoring ‘Les Ruches Malades’ which was included on the last split with Valfunde). The lack of guitar effects, the counter-acting bass that supplies a bag full of melody, the clean female vocals (which, at times, can be some of the prettiest I’ve heard without sounding condescending) and the mellow percussion make this Amesoeurs record a honest portrayal of what black metal, fused with elements from post-punk and shoegaze should sound like. Love it or hate it, its refreshing in a world where fans complain a lot about there being too many depressive black metal bands formed straight out of the bedroom in a house owned by the musicians grumpy mother.

Oh noes! Their last album! Pffft… Good Riddance. - 20%

crypticmyth, March 30th, 2009

French black metal darlings Amesoeurs are back. This self-titled release is their first and apparently, last album, after releasing the Ruines Humaines EP. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them reunite a couple of years down the line if not for anything but the gimmick value, because that’s how their music comes across to me: a mere gimmick.

On offer is a bland arrangement of wimpy modern rock riffs stuffed with sickeningly sweet pop melodies and a bass-drum combination that will work faster than any sleeping pill. The riffs are basically heavily diluted latter era Katatonia/Anathema riffs on repeat, which painstakingly plod forth and (mockingly) watch your boredom gradually change into vexation. And then there are the vocals. A vital factor which contributed to my dislike of the album was the female vocalist. Even the odd passage of music that may evoke a modicum of interest, is ruined by weak, whiny, pretentiously ‘artsy’ vocals that fall back on unmemorable vocal melodies and pseudo-intellectual lyrics that ‘portray a world of urban decay’ and whatnot. Neige, the architect of this project, lends his harsh vocals from time to time and is a welcome relief although his screams are too little too late to salvage the music. The only songs worth a listen are the opening instrumental, Gas In Veins which heaps ambient layers atop a mid-paced melancholic pop riff and I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX – IX XIX – IV V I IV (Video Girl, Gas In Veins… can anybody think of duller song names? As a word of advice, stick with French if your English is lacking – though I can’t comment on the quality of the song names titled in French), which shows a vague hint of aggression and has the strongest inclination towards black metal compared to anything else in the album.

I cannot see accustomed black metal listeners digesting this album unless they have a fetish for female vocals. Just as fellow reviewer GK had noted on his Alcest review (, shoegazer music and black metal does not go together. Really, there are thousands of other albums that can genuinely instill a sense of melancholy, despair, nostalgia or anything else that this album may falsely promise to deliver. This is not worth your time unless you’re the scenester that needs to get this because everyone else has it.

Originally written for

A kaleidoscopic soundtrack for the modern era. - 98%

Aetheraeon, March 30th, 2009

There really is no better way to describe Amesoeurs' self-titled album than by quoting the words used by the band itself on numerous occasions. “Amesoeurs” really is “a kaleidoscopic soundtrack for the modern era,” reflecting the world around us in all its different forms and idiosyncrasies. A world of cheap thrills and store-bought lives, with the people living their lives in this world seemingly oblivious to the fact that their lives are not nearly as grand as they struggle to convince themselves. Despite claiming that their music does not carry a specific message, it is still food for thought and seems an appeal for striving towards a life of emotion and feeling in a world that seems to have developed itself to run wholly without.

Musically “Amesoeurs” is a very diverse album, showing influences from nearly every genre which could be taken to fall within the category of dark music together with a somewhat pop-music sound at times. The main influences, however, are post-punk and black metal and these get combined into a perfect symbiosis which is Amesoeurs' music. Songs vary between upbeat, up-tempo songs and blistering black metal with accompanying screams by Neige. Most of the songs have their own separate feel (aggression, dejection, acceptance, etc.) and overall the album is more of a collection of songs rather than having the separate songs form a whole. This is definitely not a negative point, because each song is good in its own right and there is no real need to have them link up more than they do.

The vocal sections are mainly filled in by Audrey Sylvain, whose voice is lovely and rather nice to listen to. Neige's vocals, on the other hand, on play a small part on the album and what saddens me slightly is that there could have been times where both vocal styles were used together. Lyrics are all in French and although a lot of potential listeners probably do not speak French, it does not seem like it should be much of a put-off in this case, since the music and the vocals in their own right are more than apt at evoking the right atmosphere and feelings. The production is incredibly clear, which makes everything as audible as one could possibly wish. On the one hand, this is great, because it makes the music easy to take up and it seems to fit well with the concept of industrialisation and mass production, but on the other hand it may have been taken slightly too far and a tad more dirt on the production might have made everything sound just that much more interesting.

Personally, I think everyone should at least listen to this album once and see how they feel about it. There is a lot to be found on the album and each person may take something else from it. As far as I am concerned, this album could only have been brought forth in our bleak and dark age of industrialism, urbanism and lifelessness and as such it is a near-perfect reflection of just that world.

(Originally written for:

Not bad, yet not that great - 70%

HeidraCatharsis, March 17th, 2009

One of this year’s most anticipated metal albums has arrived(or leaked, at any rate…), the first, last and eponymous full-length album by Amesoeurs. I’m one of all the people that have pretty much injected Ruines Humaines intravenously for years, considering its well-balanced mix of melancholic black metal and bleak post-punk to be the perfect soundtrack to urban sadness and desolation. Thus, I’ve been looking forward to this release ever since I first heard about it.

My expectations were not sky high, seeing as a black metal band with a single, unique and highly acclaimed EP or demo releasing a full-length album three years later is usually a recipe for disaster. Therefore, I got pretty much what I expected. There is a solid quality throughout the album, but it never really takes off. The shoegazing dreamers of French black metal, Neige and Fursy Teyssier, are good at spitting out vast quantities of clean minor-key melodies and complementary fuzzy black metal-chords. However, they and the rest of the music fail to retain the sloppy, Joy Division-esque post-punk atmosphere that the EP was overflowing with, which is quite a loss.

The production is definitely one great aspect when it comes to why this release doesn’t live up to the standards set by its predecessor. I would never be as bipolar as to say that dirty production is good and clean production is bad when it comes to metal, there are numerous examples overthrowing this narrow-minded doctrine. Either the production fits the music or it doesn’t, and in this case it doesn’t. It’s too clean, really. Any music that smells of post-punk and new wave needs a certain amount of sloppiness, in my opinion, and this album could serve as a textbook example for studio engineers. The immaculate and squeaky clean drums sets a perfect example. And now that I mention it, the drumming is also quite a general let-down. It encapsulates a feeling that I get from pretty much everything about the music; that the band are trying to force the black metal elements in there just for the sake of it, rather than to let them come naturally. This can be heard in the last song, Au Crépuscules De Nos Rêves, which start out as a beautiful, doom metal-ish piece with great chord progressions and Neige’s famed vocals, only to explode into a frenzy of supersonic blastbeats without the guitars changing rhythm or melody at all. And blastbeats with this kind of production… It really doesn’t sound good.

Also, on this record, the band displays an irritating habit of putting washes of random noise in between the songs, which fill no apparent function and evoke no atmosphere or feeling at all. And that’s coming from a huge fan of noise music, and noise in music.

And also, the vocals. As most of us already knew, Audrey handles most on the vocal duties on the album. Neige’s screaming, although far from as good as on the EP, takes up 2½ songs. Audrey has a smooth and beautiful voice which fits the music extremely well, but on those few painful moments on the album when she tries to scream from the top of her lungs, it sounds ridiculous.

In conclusion: I got what I had anticipated, an album well worthy of the Amesoeurs logo on the astonishingly beautiful cover, but not living up to the greatness of the EP. Any fan of black metal, post-punk, goth or any dark music at all needs to listen to this at least one. It has potential to appeal to a large audience of which, I imagine, a small portion will be black metal fans. Nevertheless, I’m glad to see Amesoeurs disappearing among the tall, dark building silhouettes under the clouded nightsky holding their heads up high, their legend and their impact on music forever intact.

What I expected... it's amazing. - 100%

TheTwilightIsMyRobe, March 15th, 2009

Ever since the first time I heard this band, I have been absolutely obsessed with them, listening to the Ruines Humaines EP and the Valfunde split religiously. So when I heard that they were working on new material, I virtually jumped for joy.
This album takes on a one-of-a-kind style, combining the post-punk and shoegaze genres with some black metal. Though they have kept more to the post-punk/shoegaze side of their genre with this album, they still keep a very bold sound. If you enjoyed songs like Faiblesse des Sens and Les Ruches Malades from their previous work, you will surely love this album.
I can’t compare the sound of Amesoeurs to any other artists I know of. That is something that I like about it. They truly are a one of a kind, unique band playing some of the strongest and most inspired music I have ever heard. The main themes of the music here are modernity and the danger and bleakness of urbanization and the industrial age. Even if you cannot understand French, this is still very inspiring material, as the atmosphere is good at hinting at the themes they are trying to purvey.
All I can say is that I highly recommend this to those who were a fan of the Ruines Humaines EP, especially the songs featuring Audrey on vocals. The majority of the songs on here feature her on vocals, though the music does kick up at points with very strong black metal passages featuring Neige on harsh vocals. If you understand the French language, then this album will be that much more amazing. It is a damn shame that this will be the last we’ll hear from this amazing band.

Landmark - 94%

Ruined_By_Idiots, March 15th, 2009

I found it remarkable how much of an impact Amesoeurs created simply with their 3-track Ruines Humaines EP and the Valfunde split, but this spoke volumes about the quality of the material on offer. It was enough to set this group apart from the crop of depressive/down-tempo black metal (or however you wish to put it) that seems to be growing in popularity at the moment, and the female-fronted track Faiblesse Des Sens cemented this as a band that proudly wears its influence of early post-punk. The urban filth, isolation, dissonance and claustrophobia created by groups such as Joy Division, The Virgin Prunes, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Killing Joke, etc., is something that should so obviously be similarly identified with black metal yet appears to have been tapped by very few bands.

So, anyone who was expecting an hour of shrieking black metal from this Amesoeurs full-length will be deservedly disappointed, especially as the band had apparently expressed an interest in pursuing the sound they achieved with Faiblesse Des Sens. However, there were still some surprises to be had, both positive and negative from my own point of view. Firstly, I was keen to hear more of Audrey Sylvain's vocals and more songs with an upbeat tempo, and this was delivered in spades, although something I was hoping for was a lot of play-off between Neige's harsh screaming and Audrey's clean singing; unfortunately the two more or less stay within their own songs. Whilst the songs themselves stand alone as brilliant pieces with great individual character, it feels a little jarring to go to from a beautifully melodic track straight into something abrasive and dissonant, or vice versa. There are only a few instances in the album where they try to create a smooth transition between strong elements from both post-punk/rock and black metal within the one song. However, I have to admit a certain delight when I first heard the opening blast beats of Heurt which were completely unexpected, yet Winterhalter, as when playing for Peste Noire, knows how to beat a kit to absolute death. Fast, tight, and massive.

As I mentioned though, the songs have a great individual character to them. This album is full of melody no matter what style the band is playing, even within the walls of guitars backed by pounding drums. Neige's vocals sound more solid and controlled compared to his previous work. Audrey's singing is gorgeous and ethereal, and even lends an uplifting quality to much of the music.

The production job is difficult to critique, the sound is like crystal. Although given the spacious and slightly raw sounds of the aforementioned bands such as Joy Division with strong driving bass lines (as Amesoeurs also have), I do wonder how this album would sound if it were recorded in a similar manner. The bleak grittiness and concrete scum of modernity can be heard in these bands, and Amesoeurs clearly deal with similar sentiments.

Finally, I have a slight disagreement with the review below from March 14 - whilst the title track is indeed absolutely stunning and possibly my favourite too, this has nothing in common whatsoever with post-rock (as opposed to post-punk). This album features none of the organic, laboured build-ups, peaks and releases which are the hallmarks of post-rock.

All that aside, I have no hesitations recommending the album to people looking for something a little different. The kult bedroom brigades will probably loathe it and continue their miserable keyboard warrior lives in western suburbia, although I'm hoping that this album will open up ears to new types of music and set a benchmark for this style of black metal. Amesoeurs say it's all over, but never say never.