Review Summary: Darkwave influenced funeral doom from France.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m pretty up to date with music coming out of Europe but even I couldn’t have anticipated the force France would have become in the coming years. Such pop artists like Yael Naim and Emilie Simon are beginning to make a push to gather commercial success in America. Even eletronica buffs, M83 are carrying along nicely but what originally drew me into France’s music scene was Dark Sanctuary’s penchant for creating dark, ethereal passages. The French metal scene in my opinion has increased in so much strength that I dare say it rivals if not passes modern Scandinavia in the sheer number of quality bands to emerge in the past 10 or so years. The most successful extreme metal act would be Gojira, garnering a huge American fan base and leading on to other various metal acts to succeed. The black metal scene however, shows France at their best. Producing such luminaries like Deathspell Omega, Belenos, Anorexia Nervosa, Peste Noire, and Blut Aus Nord, France is growing at a rapid pace to my excitement. Now it’s time for doom.
Remembrance is a funeral doom outfit with heavy death metal and dark wave influences. Forming in 2004 between two members, Matthieu Sachs and Carline Van Roos, the duo have released a full length debut in 2005 and their second album in 2008. Aside from Remembrance, the duo work in several other musical projects including Aythis and Lethian Dreams, all whom are based on the darker side of life. Now, I’m not much of a fan from most of the funeral doom that I’ve came upon but this act caught my eye despite falling under some of the genre clichés. The 10 minute tracks are present, four of the six tracks come in over 10 minutes while the other two reach nine minutes and a two minutes respectively. Comparatively, their base sound isn’t really anything new if you’ve already heard acts like Evoken, Shape Of Despair, or Funeral. Remembrance carry the traditional thick, syrupy tempos bolstered by heavy down tuned riffing and deep guttural vocals. However, it’s when Remembrance add their neoclassical dark wave influence to the funeral doom structure that helps keep this album fresh. Albeit bleak as a winter Scandinavian night. Paying an ode to Dark Sanctuary, they blend stirring piano runs and sparse ethereal female vocals to their mix of crushing vocals and beefy guitars to help cement the bleak atmosphere they hoped to achieve.
Carline Van Roos is responsible for all of the synthesizers and piano flourishes as well as providing vocals, bass, and drums. Quite the busy lady, she also pens all of the lyrics for the album. When she sings, an angel is brought to mind as her voice reeks of vulnerability and sadness. They share more in common with Italian dark folk contemporaries All My Faith Lost than gothic doom metallers, Draconian. Drumming isn’t really a strong point in doom metal, relying more on feeling than speed. Still, Carline holds a steady beat through the trudging rhythmic shifts. Occasionally peaking above up tempo breaks, she’s not afraid to speed up either when called. As for the keyboards, it has become a cliché to create dark atmosphere with soaring runs that evoke feelings of great despair but she does a great job incorporating haunting darkwave melodies through Remembrance‘s bare heaviness. Matthieu on the other hand provides the counterpoint to the beauty with deep, intense growling that can shake up the earth with his violent outbursts. Quite ordinary to the seasoned fan they still sound great and feed with power and emotion. As a guitarist, he plays low to occasionally mid tempo riffs, filled with enough melody and power to appease any metal fan. Once again, ordinary but efficient. The album itself is a journey to undertake but once you embark, it’s hard to turn back. You know the storm has ended when the final minutes of the closer, “One Reckless Sleep begins to fade away with the roaring ocean.
It’s pretty much a cardinal rule for funeral doom bands to have solid or at least adequate production to fit the emotions that they try to pour into their music. And here, it’s nothing different. Crisp, clean, and powerful, my only complaint would be the low tuning for the bass. But even bass doesn’t play much of a role in Doom so I’ll let that slide. Remembrance have released a solid album for this particular genre and I urge fans ranging from doom or gothic to strongly check this out. You shouldn’t be disappointed as I was floored immediately.