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Grisâtre - Esthaetique - 85%

Betulah, December 28th, 2012

It's been a while since I discovered something that really made me feel... alone. Alone in the world, regardless of the friends and family and the people I see walking in the streets every day - the customers I make small talk with at work while I wear my fake smile and elevate my voice to trick them into thinking I actually have some sort of connection with them.

Esthaetique is the inescapably bleak reminder that you're born into this world fighting to survive, later eking out a living for the rest of your life until you eventually meet your inevitable end in complete and utter isolation, with nobody there to help lead you beyond your journey's culmination (if you can call it that). Rokkr, the face behind the Grisâtre name, has captured perfectly the essence of depressive black metal.

Hopes and dreams are buried deep within an extremely rough, lo-fi wall of hazy monotonous mid-paced riffs, challenging the mind to dare once more, just to live a little. Ultimately, the burdensome atmosphere drags all optimism into the depths of despair, and the mind is left blank - a black unconsciousness. It all sounds as if it were created in an underwater cave, seemingly distant yet very much in your personal space. Passively invasive, if such a thing exists in music. The daunting melodies help with the digestion of hopelessness you're being fed, but in the end all they do is further force the idea of an end game into your thoughts.

Rokkr's harrowing shrieks cap it all off with their own emotional terrorism, permeating your sense of safety, stripping all signs of positivity, dousing the fires in your eyes and replacing the firewood with solid ice. The simplistic droning repetition digs deeper yet, almost too deep at times to the point of surrealism, but Rokkr is careful never to let his curiosity get the best of him. The black metal focus is prominent, even though his shoegaze adventures creep up from time to time, if only for ambiance's sake.

Understandably, Esthaetique won't be received by everyone in the same way. Its Crown of Winter-esque synthetics and raw production rivaling the likes of Make A Change... Kill Yourself and Hypothermia may very well result in more than a few blind eyes. But for those who welcome the torturous aesthetics and bleak atmospheres of depressive black metal, Grisâtre may be a name worth looking into.