Review Summary: If it is true that great art cannot be created without suffering, this is nothing short of a masterpiece.
There is a certain comfort to be found in the relatively overlooked subgenre of depressive black metal. This comfort is not the same kind that is associated with escapism, nor is it even remotely associated to the feeling you experience waking up at 11am on a Sunday. Far from it, depressive black metal thrives on its confrontational qualities, giving the listener a glimpse into a world without hope. As empty as your life may seem, there is no way it could ever be this empty.
Annatar, sole member of Sombres Forêts, clearly has no intention of suffering alone. And yet, rather than joining him in some mass suicide ritual, you are subjected to becoming him, crying out like a caged animal in a place where no one can save you but everyone can hear you scream. The stormy atmosphere, realised through some truly suffocating album art courtesy of Fursy Teyssier, probably doesn’t help matters either and right from the acoustic introduction you get the impression that you’ve been left in the middle of the ocean to die alone. As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, it’s not long before Annatar comes in with his distinctive cries to complete the picture of utter despair.
While there is little to write home about with regards to technicality, La Mort du Soleil
is all about the atmosphere. The instrumentation is dense, often revealing a slight shoegaze influence, and the vocals pierce through it to create an enveloping yet discomforting ambience.
As difficult as it is to highlight individual tracks, "Ètrangleur de Soleils" is an obvious standout, with some truly magnificent build-ups towards the end. "Au Flambeau" is another, with Annatar’s vocals sounding particularly strained over some memorable and hypnotic piano parts. This is perhaps the best representation of Sombre Forêts’ new sound and it stands as a step above the other songs on the album.
Above all, La Mort du Soleil
doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. A spiritual connection exists between this album and Gris’ latest effort, À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée...
which was released on the same day. Whereas that album is dramatically expansive in its scope, La Mort du Soleil
feels much more sincere, relying heavily on its unobstructed expressions of pain.
However, it is certainly no less ambitious. Indeed, if it is true that great art cannot be created without suffering, this is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Originally written for Ech(((o)))es and Dust: http://echoesanddust.com/2013/07/sombres-forets/