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Sühnopfer : L'Aube des Trépassés : Metal albums reviews

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Sühnopfer : L'Aube des Trépassés, brief review

Sühnopfer : L'Aube des Trépassés

Band name: Sühnopfer

Mr Ardraos doesn’t like to prevaricate. From the very first notes of Brûme sur le Châstel the listener who’s been curious enough to look into this odd little French atmospheric black metal one-man-band is trapped into the snowy, misty hills of Auvergne, this remote region from central France not always friendly to the foreigner, as it seems. No intro, no keyboards, no acoustic instruments: the guitars, sharp and abrupt, the foggy production, the creaking voice – and the mood is set.

Don’t too hastily deduce this EP would be a masterpiece of raw black metal by any mean. It is actually, on the contrary, highly melodic, working just as the living example the infamous “melodic” tag isn’t always equivalent to soft, mellow or cheesy. It’s amusing to see on a sidenote how the opening of the last song Tourments et Pleurs isn’t without similarities with old Cradle of Filth, but a CoF deprived, precisely, of all its bombastic, nauseating flourishes. Ardraos obviously knows how to craft haunting, attention-catching tunes, the best proof being the three real songs here, in spite of each of them being around seven minutes long, never fall into monotony. Granted the mid-paced, deep and dark Brûme sur le Châstel (token old French for “Mist over the Castle”) stands a step above its two more standard sister-songs (most of the title track, for instance, is pure Peste Noire worship), but the songwriting nonetheless remains of unquestionable quality.

The instrumentation is worth some attention too. The ample, epic, endless stream of rough electric guitar stays on the forefront, and even if there is no genuine solo it doesn’t prevent this release from boasting some more technical moments, for instance in the closing track. Acoustic guitars parts are really scarce and, apart from a couple of bars in said closing track, almost restricted to the pretty generic instrumental interlude which constitutes the second track. However, the drums remain probably the most remarkable instrument here, especially considering the overall poverty of the drumming lines in so-called atmospheric metal; indeed their strength and (why not?) complexity might well be the main reason for the high replay value of a release which, after all, belongs to a genre which has become far too common in my home country where, besides, one is starving for a single quality doom metal demo. The vocals on the other hand are a bit of a weak point (assuming this EP has weak points though), as, while Ardraos’s tortured high-pitched screams most of time perfectly fit the music, he however shows a tendency to overplay his part which at its worst makes him dangerously lean toward the squeaking pig impersonation.

Of course, three songs, even of respectable length, are a bit too few to desperately track this release down through the misty and mysterious castles of Auvergne (beware of lost crossbow bolts, by the way) but, if you stumble upon it, it definitely has something more than your average atmospheric BM mud.

Album: L'Aube des Trépassés, review

The bands country origin: France

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