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Friday, December 20, 2013
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French label Distant Voices are a very special one. First of all it has to do with the musical direction, i.e. a mostly underground-oriented kind of grim, depressive, ambient, melancholic and / or atmospheric Black Metal. Je l’adore! You can check out the review I recently did for the second Arbre-album, posted on July 14th 2014 (extremely important note, and don’t feel refrained to shout out loud your enthusiasm: Distant Voices will soon release a split in between Arbre and Brouillard; I just did a dance of joy!), or the one for Misery (see July 21st 2014). But what this label does distinct from any other, is the care the crew takes for each single release. All of them are made with fine, soft paper in order to deliver a unique creation; let’s call it a total-package for combining wonderful aural excellence with visual art. It’s rather evident, as you do understand, that every release is limited to a small edition, evidently. The very same goes for this release, the untitled debut full length of young French one-man project Brouillard (which is French for ‘fog’). It comes in a limited edition of sixty six hand-numbered copies only with no repress. The release comes with inserts on white paper (210g, for the purists), and covered in tracing, transparent paper with beautiful eye-paintings. C’est absolument magnifique!

Anyway, this fifth Distant Voices-release is created entirely by a guy called Brouillard, and the three untitled hymns have a total running time of about fifty minutes (in between fourteen and nineteen minutes). The first one starts with a minimal-noisy introduction before erupting into a hostile attack with pyroclastic proportions. There are wonderful melodic tremolo leads interacting with an unstoppable charge of drum salvos, all beautifully joined by grim, grumpy blackened screams (distant voices from the Deep). But there’s much more, for the hymn is divided into different excerpts with related yet differing melody lines, changing tempos and varying structures. The injection of ambient and / or acoustic and / or noisy-industrial (sampled) intermezzos, performed with grandeur, are a surplus to go with the repetitive, nihilistic aggression (both intrinsic and external), covering the whole in a brouillard mystérieux, a mysterious fog. The overall atmosphere is pretty violent, yet epic and victorious too. And from time to time the concept mesmerizes, creating a dreamlike dimension of Aural Art, strongly contrasting with, and at the same time intensively assembling the extremes of putrid Noise and grim Black Metal. The second (little more mystic and contemplative than both other hymns) and third (the most depressive, as well as most epic one out of these three sonic creations) composition are comparable, balancing in between angry and explosive moods and atmospheric introspection, with variation in tempo and structures, and with those samples intros and intermezzos.

However, the sound quality is beneath any level. The material has been badly mixed and the result is under-produced and full of irritating rustle. That is a pity, an enormous pity; it does disappoint for it makes the whole experience less attractive. It does influence the infinity of my end-balance. No further comment (the grief is too deep…)…