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Raw and brutal / impassioned and exploratory - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 5th, 2015

"L'aurore de notre triomphe" ("The dawn of our triumph") is an early release for both Eole Noir and Sombre Chemin, back in the early 2000s. Eole Noir's side of the split is raw and brutal, spilling fury and venom in runaway trilling guitar and a vigorous percussion work-out. The raspy singing is sharp and spits out poison lyrics. "Du renversement des valeurs" ("Of the reversal of values") is the dominant track on this side and demonstrates what EN is capable of: melodic and powerful BM with a lot of varied drumming and rhythmic work. The guitars are thin and minimal but their texture is jagged and abrasive enough. Plenty of good riffs give the song a distinctive identity and the production is just clean enough that everything can be heard clearly. The song quickens and becomes more urgent and impassioned as it continues. "Il n'en restera que poussière" is a short and very acid-sounding piece in which a phantom voice dripping in reverb shrieks over puttery synth beats and a surprisingly lackadaisical guitar riff loop.

Sombre Chemin's part of the split sounds more garage in production with a slightly smoother guitar tone, very tinny and soft-sounding percussion and a vocal that sounds as if the singer is trapped in a metal vault far below where the rest of the band is playing. He certainly seems fed up with where he's stuck. The music is more punk in sound and the way it is put together seems very amateurish with a casual pace and voice and instruments following their own paths at once. The music initially feels disjointed but the effect is intended. The best part of SC's side of the split is the guitar work which can sound quite massive, especially in the second half of "Wolfheim". The second track is even more lo-fi in sound (though the vocals seem a lot clearer) and the drumming more paper-thin than ever, but the guitars and bass, continuing on their own meandering journeys in parallel, provide the substance that the song needs. As with "Wolfheim", the song improves in its second half with an additional guitar melody that gives it a fuller sound.

Sombre Chemin's half of the split may be worth checking out by fans of the band who know it only from later full-length releases: there is plenty of experimentation with melody and mood in the two songs, and the musicians take advantage of the raw production to explore a moody atmosphere and build up a huge sound in the instrumental parts of both songs. Eole Noir's half actually sounds better than the band's later self-titled EP and I would recommend this split over that recording if anyone is interested in chasing up this band's recordings. Though the split might be hampered by the dirty sound on both bands' work, there is energy in both and plenty of anger and a pissed-off attitude are present.