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Mon dieu! - 92%

mrdanteaguilar, May 5th, 2011

As true as it gets, la creme de la creme, Darvulia have made their way to the top of the purest black metal imaginable with audible instrumentation, evil atmosphere, ghastly vocals and creative lyricism. L'Alliance Des Venins delivers some of the most grim black metal conceivable. Unfortunately if you don't know French you will not be able to appreciate the lyrical aspect, but you'll still be able to enjoy the crazy guitar riff frenzy and the quality vocals.

All the songs have a true equilibrium between the instruments so every sound is distinguishable, starting with the drums. During the whole release, blast beating is present. Not so fast yet solid blasts appear on every song with very solid fills but you'll be able to find some slow tempo jazzy beats as well, along with hardcore punk fast beats. For example Nous Sommes Les Plaies Infectes De Ce Monde (We're the wounds that infect the world) has a very extended blast beat and ends with some slow jazz drumming. Toolkrh Belladon has some slow tribal drumming perfect for some underworld ritual.

The guitars play some weird sounding riffs that create a psychotic nightmare atmosphere and sometimes the only melody you can hear is from the bass. I think the right word to describe such riffs is dissonant, for every guitar passage has very little melody, These guys don't need to downtune at all to punish your senses and make you go to the darkest place inside your mind. As you might expect, the guitar tone has more treble than bass, as usual in black metal music. That doesn't make this album less relentless or less violent either since the riffs were composed very cleverly and every passage goes into the mix without any flaw.

Perhaps the bass is not as loud as the guitar but let me tell you the bass is very audible and the bassist knows how to play. All the songs have this strange bass-line that in some weird way go along with the guitars. I say weird because the guitar passages have the strangest sound while the bass sounds clean and almost normal, like if it was the only trace of sanity left. Pretty much the bass is playing the main melody all the time so don't expect any kind of virtuoso bass section (that would kill the whole momentum anyway). With all this, the bass line fits perfectly with all the songs and makes this album very enjoyable.

Let us not forget about the vocals that come straight out of the underworld. Raspy, aggressive,agonizing vocals that make the nightmare endure. Even if you don't understand the lyrics, the vocals will transport you to another dimension along with the rest of the music. No exaggeration intended since this guy knows how to pull aggressive sounding black metal vocals without sounding like a hungry vulture or some rat with a cold. If you happen to know French, you'll be able to distinguish all the lyrics since he knows how to enunciate every word, even in such complicated language.

Albums like this make black metal a very strong death meta competitor. While death metal attacks with the crunchiest guitars and the deepest vocals possible, black metal (and more specifically Darvulia) attack with the rawest, weirdest and most mental music possible. L'Alliance Des Venins est hautement recommandable (that means this album is highly recommendable, wether if you're a true black metal fan or not)

We are the vile wounds of this world! - 91%

LordBelketraya, December 3rd, 2007

French black metal, perhaps the cutting edge scene in the genre. This shouldn't be news today. In reality they've been churning out underground, raw black metal since the mid 90's with the well known 'LLN' taking the flame from the hands of Scandinavia. They are the leaders of the bm pack. Darvulia is just another excellent French bm act (also on the excellent "Drakkar-like" Battleskrs Productions) that people seem to overlook due to the popularity of the French 'Black Legions'. But Darvulia's sound doesn't differ that much from the "LLN sound". Obscure song titles that resembles a mix between French and "LLN language" like 'Göqkre' and 'Toolkrh Belladone'. You'd think they were a Black Legions band that we somehow didn't realize existed.

The production is raw, minimal and dark. Really one of the finer points in their sound in all of their works. The lyrics I believe are all sung in French, I love that! Not enough bands do their songs in their native tongue which surprises me, not because of that, but that they speak English so fluently as to write and sing their songs in it. Just goes to show how Europeans can speak more than one language so well as opposed to the US which most seem to have trouble speaking and writing in English. Anyway the standing points on this album are the great riffs and the vocals. Some songs have almost "positive" catchy sounding moments which I found pleasantly surprising. The album has a "Black Legions" feel and sound to it. The vocalist has a scratchy, raw and loud voice which is only enhanced due to the fact that he's doing lyrics in french. Really a unique band in that sense. Somehow the french doesn't come out in an elegant manner which I always thought was impossible due to the nature of the language. Language of love? I think not. This band deserves better recognition.

Basic black metal with interesting riffs - 80%

harvestman, February 19th, 2007

What you have here is basic black metal with fairly creative riffs. The arrangements are conventional black metal fare, not particularly interesting in themselves. The dissonance of the riffs is the one thing that sets this band apart. The riffs for the most part are fairly simple, but they are very effective in evoking a murky atmosphere of otherwordly doom. They are often repeated over and over, which would usually bore me, but helps to expand the dismal atmopshere here. I think this is where the music really excels, in creating a feel of ghostly menace. There are some unexpected breaks in the music, with some slow crawling riffs and a tiny amount of acoustic guitar at one point, although these are infrequent, and I wish there were more of them. The production is raw but adequate, actually very clear for music of this kind. The vocals are in the usual raspy black metal style, although they are slightly more sinister than most.
I don't find the music all that interesting in itself, however. It is essentially black metal with riffs that are slightly more dissonant than usual. They don't take things to the brilliant extremes of some of their countrymen, such as Blut Aus Nord. The vocals, the riffs, the drumming-- all are slightly original and almost cross over into something really interesting, but I don't think they are quite there yet.

Dissonant, interesting and original black metal. - 85%

KayTeeBee, June 25th, 2006

Having released a couple of demos and an album (out of which I only have 'Shabattu, Danse Lunaire' and 'L'Ombre Malicieuse'), Darvulia's latest, L'Alliance des Venins, puts the southwest band in front of the whole french black metal scene, being one of the better albums that came out so far this year. This album stands out because of its dissonance. Never have I heard anything this directly dissonant (just listen to Manoir aux cadavres d'enfants, and you'll get a picture). Guitar tone is pretty raw, but would still sound itchy to the untrained ear. Song structures are pretty basic, but what makes this album most interesting are the unique riffs. They sound like a black metal version of Cheval de Frise (another french band, not metal though). Blastbeats and cliches make little to no appearances on the album, which is refreshing.

The drums were recorded very professionally, not taking up too much space or being too low in the mix. Vocals are average, but some parts really think outside the box (middle of 'Nous Sommes les Plaies...'), with some freaky shrieks/screams a la Amaka Hahina. To get a clear picture of the sound of this band, think of some of the LLN work from bands like Brenoritvrezorkre or Vlad Tepes. Then, think of clean yet dirty production, good riffs, and major dissonance. Keep the same type of freaky vocals (which you can actually hear clearly), and you've got L'Alliance des Venins. This is a piece of art which reveals itself only after 2-3 listens, but instead of being one of those grower album, it becomes different and the listener get used to the dissonance, which makes a dark and eerie atmosphere without sounding too raw or like dark ambient.

Overall, extremely refreshing album which stands out simply because of the riffs. Definitely one of the best french bands around for 2006. One of the bands to look out for in the future.

Refreshing, Hypnotic, and Grim! - 76%

RickJames, June 5th, 2006

Darvulia’s is among one of the less heard, however interesting acts in the French black metal scene. Their L’Alliance Des Venins is a palate refresher, aside from countless clones and pretentiously evil acts. The music may conjure up comparisons to Deathspell Omega, yet only similar in less favored rhythm structures, and at times taking a break from the void that some worthless blastbeats fill. I personally think of them having a sliver analogous to Belketre; not in sound, but in principle, bringing along their own noir-ish soundscapes among mesmerizing riffs and uncanny atmospheres.

The production here is decent; a mid-fi effect overall sets the tone. The vocal work here is average, but the production makes it well fit, almost intermeshed into the collective vortex. The guitars and drums seem toned down in volume, but they nonetheless accompany each other very well. Even worse, the bass is apparently absent. Most unfortunate….

Other than the partly competent production, the music itself is enigmatic, and at times captivating. Riffs turn hypnotic with their repetition, and Darvulia never stops to take the predictable road. In some of the songs, namely “Göqkre”, La Seineuse, and “Toolkrh Belladone,” (which are in fact, some of the more notable songs, but not because of the following) you can notice some of those single note melodies and slow drums similar to DSO’s Kenose, furthermore adding a grim and malicious sound.

The songwriting is effective, and Darvulia takes notice to change up things with good taste. At lengths usually around four minutes, the songs don’t waste their welcome. I just would’ve hoped for something much more intense and with a greater spirit. It’s damned short, at 35 minutes, and 26 seconds, but I think it’s a nice effort among more of the zombified copies taking up space and precious breath.

The definition of Black. - 95%

queen_cyanide, April 4th, 2006

Having released numerous demo’s and a full length in 2002, Darvulia’s second full length release will definitely set the bar for the underground Black Metal scene this year. Compromising of Kobal (formally of Fornication) and Akhron (formally of Nuit Noire), Darvulia play an interesting, atmospheric (yet raw) Black Metal that is particularly unique to the French scene (for example, Vlad Tepes).

The production on the album is somewhat muddy (as expected with most Black Metal releases of this nature), however all instruments are easily definable in the mix. Vocally, this is very similar to early Abruptum releases – well illustrated in the track “Toolkrh Belladone”.

The album starts off with “Güqkre” – a fairly typical Black Metal riff, but then breaks down into a very eerie and unusual sequence, which reminds me (personally) of the unusual discordant passages of numerous contemporary classical composers (a good example would be Alfred Schnittke’s work with violist Yuri Bashmet). This jarring duality of notes continues throughout the album – usually separated with equally discordant midly thrashy passages (ie in “La Semeuse”).

Overall this album has highly competent tempo changes, ranging from the blast-beat driven Black Metal riffs to the mid to slow paced passages consisting of particularly unusual chords and leads. Although the thashy parts of this album would appeal to most metal fans, the broken down and slow passages would only really appeal to those inclined to the "blackest of the black" (heh). This is a serious band, easily illustrated by their true musicianship and pretty “grim” – for lack of a better word – song titles (for example “Nous Sommes Les Plaies Infectes De Ce Monde” translates to “We Are The Repugnant Wounds Of This World”). Metal fans looking for catchy melodic riffs would not particularly appreciate the unique nature of this album, however there is an abundance of emotion (however cold it may be) which would clearly delight the most ardent of Black Metal fans.