Probably black metal is the extreme metal sub-genre with most contaminations and influences from other musical style. We can talk about ambient, shoegaze, avant-garde, black’n’roll, melodic, DSBM, NSBM and the list could go on for pages. Well, the record you’re going to meet today it’s very difficult to locate with precision in any sub-genre. In fact, as we will see, the influences in this album are so varied and numerous that it’d be reducing saying that it’s just an atmospheric black metal one.
The album I’m writing about it’s called À l’âme enflammée, l’âme constellée… by Canadian Gris. This long collection of songs (the total running time is nearly 80 minutes) released in the summer of 2013, comes as the perfect sequel of their Il était une forêt… album.
As I previously said this album presents a lot of various influences. The pain and anger brought by Iscare‘s desperate screams (also drums and cello) are so DSBM inspired. The massive usage of acoustic guitars, beautifully played by Neptune (also violin and bass) sounds very prog-rock. While the violin and cello give this album a sort of a mystic aura. Some passages are utterly post-metal oriented but with a production style very close to a doom record. We can easily experience this by listening to the mammoth track Les Forges.
À l’âme enflammée, l’âme constellée… due to its length it has been split on two discs. Featuring five tracks each. In my humble opinion the most interesting ones, the ones I would suggest you to start with, are Les Forges (as I already said), Seizième prière and Une épitaphe de suie.
Speaking of emotions this latest Gris‘ fatigue is pretty unique. Maybe it’s comparable to a very few other albums (obviously I’m talking about BM albums) that have a similar intensity and spiritual engagement. I’d say Panopticon‘s Kentucky or Burzum‘s Filosofem to give you a brief idea of what I’m talking about. But really, the duo from Quebec offers something more, something unique. Every time I’m into À l’âme enflammée, l’âme constellée… I feel like I’m alone in bleak dimension, where only darkness and distress exist. And as the album flows I easily get lost in all of this. But I realize that is so beautiful.
All in all I think that Gris have crafted a real masterpiece here. Something that will stand the test of time and for what the band would deserve a way more success and appreciation then what they actually had. Personally À l’âme enflammée, l’âme constellée... is in my own top 50 albums of all time and without any doubt it’s one of my favourite black metal releases, along with huge acts as Wolves In The Throne Room, Agalloch or Drudkh.
Are you looking for an unforgivable experience between sorrow and grief!? You just found it.
2. Les forges
7. Seizième prière
9. Une épitaphe de suie
Label: Sepulchral Productions
Release Date: 9th July 2013
Reviewed by Teo