La Mort Du Soleil
09 July 2013
by Ollie Connors
Intense. Harrowing. Bleak. Just some of the terms that could be used to describe La Mort Du Soleil, the third full-length by Québecoise atmospheric black metal act Sombres Forêts. It’s not just shards of harsh guitar and abrasive howls of shrieked vocal that engulf the ears of the listener here; we are also privy to soulful, gentle piano and wistful, dreamy acoustic guitars, that aid this record in breaking down the parameters between grim, savage black metal and the rich textures and dynamic atmospherics of post-rock.
The maelstrom depicted on this album’s cover surmises the tumultous and turbulent discourse of this record; the ebb and flow between anguished, visceral passages and swelling, pulchritudinous ambiance. Tracks like ‘Brumes’ document this record’s dramatic chiaroscuro, featuring (sole member and multi-instrumentalist) Annatar’s vocal at its most coarse and dissonant in some places, but set in amongst a backdrop of layered, melodious guitars and chaotic drumming, a coruscating speck of light cast upon an opaque canvas.
This is a hefty ol’ listen, not just in sound but in timespan; standing at 52 minutes for seven tracks, La Mort Du Soleil is a huge investment in time. Over such an expansive extent, there are inevitably missteps; ‘Au Flambeau’, which does ultimately erupt into life towards the end, is predominantly a directionless interlude piece. However, this leads into the pinnacle of this already quite astonishing record – ‘L’Éther’ and especially ‘La Dispiration’ are full of spine-chilling moments – the former containing a passage which makes you feel like travelling amongst the ghosts of Hades, the latter using tribal drums to power the songs from the depths of despair to a triumphant, euphoric finish. The record closes its doors with ‘Effondrement’, which translates to “Collapse”, fitting as it begins with a cacophonous implosion of the records’ various sounds before playing out with a poignant piano piece and eerie, haunting vocals.
Listen to Étrangleur de Soleils by Sombres Forêts:
This record is by no means whatsoever, an easy listen, but certainly one that is ample in reward. It retains a desolate and barren soundscape throughout, but betrays black metal preconceptions by simultaneously being stirring and emotively complex. Exuding a product contemporaneously melancholy, malevolent and tenebrous, you can only imagine the kind of tempestuous state the mind of Annatar is in, but laid painfully bare in La Mort Du Soleil, the listener experiences a terrifying yet spectacular insight.
Sounds Like: The polar extremities of serenity and suffering.
Standout Tracks: Brumes, L’Éther, La Dispiration, Éntrangleur De Soleils