Let The Bleakness Infest You With Gris & Sombres Forêts!
You know that feeling you get when a band releases one fantastic album, disappears without any information, and then suddenly, 6 years later, you hear that they are releasing a new album? That happened to me recently, not with one, but two Quebecois black metal bands Gris and Sombres Forêts. They are both part of the same fantastic French-Canadian black metal scene that also includes Forteresse, Csejthe and Monarque, and both of them put out amazing albums and subsequently were not heard from again until earlier this year when it was announced they would each release a new album, for which I am monumentally excited. And, as of Tuesday June 11th, there is new music to be heard from each of them.
First up are Gris, who in 2006, released Il Était une Forêt, which is one of my favourite black metal albums of all time. It is harrowing and will utterly destroy your soul, but it is also nearly unmatched in its sepulchral beauty. On July 9th, the French Canadian duo will release their third album (second under their current name) titled À l’Âme Enflammée, l’Äme Constellée on Sepulchral Productions, the artwork for which is at the top of this post.
The first track to be heard from this new album is called “Dil” and it really showcases the band’s style. The first half of it is acoustic with a cello playing some haunting music in the background and ritualistic drum beats providing grounding for this journey into the soul. After some ebb and flow of that, the song launches into the metal parts. The vocals are caustic, and the guitar shimmers wonderfully. A dissonant melody winds its way through the haze as well.
All in all, this taste has me salivating for more, and it looks to be of the same quality they managed to put out six years ago.
Sombres Forêts, label-mates to Gris (and the members of each collaborated on a project called Miserere Luminis), released their last effort in 2008, called Royaume de Glace. I haven’t heard it as much as the Gris album, but it is also an excellent entry in the black metal catalogue. Their newest album will be released on the same day as Gris’, July 9th, and will be titled La Mort Du Soleil.
The track released today is called “Étrangleur de Soleils”. It is cavernous and harrowing – making use of some haunting acoustic guitars and some beautifully full distorted sounds. The vocals have an almost desperate tone to them, as if crying out for some last salvation before they fall prey to darkness, both physical or mental.
Personally, I find myself enjoying (if you can strictly “enjoy” this kind of bleak darkness) the Sombres Forêts track a little more than the Gris track, though both are fantastic. I absolutely cannot wait for either album. At first it can seem unfortunate when a band disappears from your radar for a long while, but if they are merely ensuring that they spend the appropriate time refining their sound like with these two then it is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Better to do that than release a new album every year and slowly dilute the immense quality of music you once attained.