Monday, 12 March 2012

Wendess - Nuée Noire

     Wendess are a French Canadian atmospheric black metal band and I am very impressed by their sophomore  release; Nuée Noire (Black Cloud.)  When the band submitted this to me they mentioned that they were heavily influenced by bands such as "Wolves in the Throne Room" and "Drudkh."  Although these influences are present I was surprised to see a very large depressive black metal influence at play within these songs.

     Within the first few minutes you will understand what this album is about.  The closest comparison I can come up with is "Weakling."  It wont take you long to figure out whether or not you enjoy this style, it is very distinct and very common in the modern black metal scene.  The song structures are very airy and seem to ebb and flow seamlessly between different ideas with little to no effort, good music to day dream to.  The only drawback to this "stream of consciousness" style of song writing is that it meanders to and fro without any coherent direction.  None of these songs seem to have a true climax or a well defined ending, they just seem to fade in and fade out like a string of meaningless events.  I am sure this is deliberate, yet I can't help but view it as the largest draw back, especially with the obtuse song lengths. 

     The guitar tone is excellent for this style, drenched in reverb and distortion with overlaid shoegaze influenced acoustic guitars.  The riffs are very well thought out and well composed, they do not rely on tone or texture to deliver their musical ideas but speak for themselves.  There are many areas where guitar lines play notes in conflicting scale/chord patters to create a very dissonant, uncomfortable and melancholic atmosphere much like Krallice.  Although I am not a particular fan of this style of riffing I understand and appreciate it for what it is.

     The production is excellent, all instruments come through clearly, including the bass.  I have to make a special not regarding the bass.  Every bass line is well thought out and does not consistently rely on the guitars for input.  A very pleasant surprise was the "flesh and blood" drummer.  It seem like every submission I receive for reviewing incorporates programmed drums (especially black metal.)  It is really nice to have organic tones in music (although I don't have any particular problem with programmed drums.)

     Emerging from the reverb soaked forest of discordant sorrow are some very harsh agonizing screams that sound like desperate cries for help in the vein of Silencer.  These vocals are very convincing and conjure up the image of some dude getting sexually tortured by ghosts in a foggy forest (which is ultimately a good thing.) The vocals are pretty much impossible to understand which is fine by me but I am sure there are some people that will be put off by this factor.  Any fan of Weakling, Krallice or Xasthur (to a lesser extent) will definitely appreciate this and should probably give these guys support.  You can order a copy of "Nuée Noire" from the label "Self Mutilation Services."

Curt's review: 79%

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