Allelic
À Contre Vent


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (338 Reviews)
April 27th, 2020 | 42 replies


Release Date: 04/24/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Allelic continues to stride forwards.

When considering metal that blends blackened soundscapes and folk tones it’s difficult not to use Agalloch as an example. As fans we spend our time measuring modern efforts against the likes of The Mantle or Ashes Against The Grain, newer listeners can often become quite jaded, lost in their own preconceptions of what this type of music ‘should sound’ like. These days, we look to more modern contemporaries like Andy Marshall’s Saor, Malo Civelli’s Cân Bardd, or Falls Of Rauros to distinguish just how these normally conflicting styles not only cohabitate, but redefine atmospheric black metal. For Allelic, whose lone member blends black metal’s more vintage majesty into thriving folk sounds, À Contre Vent is both an excellent expansion of the debut’s style and a worthy addition to some already reputable acts within the genre. Interestingly, À Contre Vent is a concept record, built from a foundation of a beast’s relationship with its surroundings. This beast, a wolf, has all the pangs of life shown in Allelic’s music by matter of personification. Something that is very human indeed.

Jovial folky notes announce the opening of “À l'anaphase de nos chemins” as light acoustic strumming combines with graceful woodwind melodies. The combination is simple, each component layered gently on top of the other until the listener is greeted by the same wonderful, multi-faceted, genre-bending soundscapes found in the debut. Distant vocals intertwine with up-tempo ringing chords, but the track’s melodies are meticulously phrased between blast beats, acoustic passages and tremolo notes. In fact, the album’s production does as much to lift the music as the instrumental efforts. In line with black metal’s more vintage renown, À Contre Vent isn’t as sterile production wise as some of today’s more modern releases, but it’s also not unintelligibly raw. Each note, cymbal crash, anguished scream and steely twang of the acoustic guitar is heard clearly, given the no-frills and humble mix. Importantly, the listener is neither brick-walled by the strong black metal aesthetics that drive the record, nor are they greeted by an overbearing display of folk influences. Instead, the album’s two intertwining parts dance together, never missing a step or crushing a partner’s toe all the while.

Despite the album’s central theme of nature-praising folk and the conceptual medium of a wolf taking only what it needs from life, it’s the natural progression and instrumental prowess of À Contre Vent that reinforces the music, rather than an occasionally unapproachable concept. “À l'anaphase de nos chemins’s” latter half is but one example: birdsong and minimalistic trilling breathes life into the song’s second half and the atmospheric moods turn hopeful, with a cheery few guitar lines dominating the mix. Even the light Opethian similarities that introduce “L'éveil et la contemplation” meander around an intertwined use of acoustic and electric melody. It’s a haunting experience that sweeps through moments of hope, happiness and sombre reflection without conforming to any mood singularity, but its familiarity outside of Allelic is welcoming. The album allows itself moments of respite between sections, adding extra instruments only when the mood calls for it. Whether it’s the wrapping of knuckles against a guitar frame, the ungentle screams or roars from a deep chasm or the ritualistic group chanting that lightens “Des âmes tissées sur Terre”, everything here has its place - even the occasional harmonica line.

Similarly to Allelic’s debut, À Contre Vent is quite accessible overall. Given the album’s forty minute run-time and that three of the record’s four tracks have a near ten minute length, Allelic’s latest has an almost seasonal feel to it, tying back to its theme of nature. The album continues the successful patterns found in the act’s debut, expanding on The Smoke of Atavistic Fires and solidifying a brand of well connected, accessible, atmospheric black metal. However some listeners will feel detached in regards to the album’s conceptual nuance and native French languages, but the atmosphere throughout is unmistakable. À Contre Vent is a lush listening experience from the more tranquil “À l'anaphase de nos chemins” to the wholesome, devilish fanaticism of “Des âmes tissées sur Terre” and the joyous jig found in the track’s latter half. Allelic continues to combine two contrasting musical worlds into an almost seamless display of compositional dexterity.



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user ratings (26)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


12510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0



allelic.bandcamp.com





The album is on Spotify (and other streaming platforms as well) : https://open.spotify.com/album/7ruTAwwBwvMcRNZLKLsJeX

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


13951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need to check this release asap.

Great review.

Digging: Sorcerer - Lamenting of the Innocent

Beardog
April 27th 2020


3513 Comments


hype?

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 27th 2020


34480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I enjoyed this a lot. I didn't feel as though the peaks were quite as epic as they were on The Smoke of Atavistic Fires, but it's a really chill atmosphere nonetheless. Probably one of my favorite metal artists at this time.

Digging: Killing Joke - Absolute Dissent

tyman128
April 27th 2020


1947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! I really enjoyed checking this one out, need to get on to the last album too

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


12510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

--I enjoyed this a lot. I didn't feel as though the peaks were quite as epic as they were on The Smoke of Atavistic Fires,--



Interesting point. I agree, but I feel the atmosphere is generally better put together here. I've been through a couple of atmo-black metal records by now and I don't feel bad putting this next to those other one-manned acts - although Saor for example is still another level. I imagine it will come with more time though.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 27th 2020


34480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For sure. The atmosphere is amazing and I think he might have even improved on some of his shrieks/screams, which is evident towards the tail end of the second track. I hope he keeps making music because there are bright days ahead. Would love to see him go in a more menacing direction for LP3. Both this and Smoke are similar brands of pleasant, folksy metal.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


12510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

--hype?--



That would imply it's not real.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


19692 Comments


Sweet, a noct review for this. Jamming right now.

Digging: Mrs. Piss - Self-Surgery

nightbringer
April 27th 2020


1227 Comments


This sort of thing isn't normally my scene but I found this accessible and pretty enjoyable on first spin.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


19692 Comments


It is a bit convoluted, but at the same time it's pretty impressive.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 27th 2020


34480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Check the debut. It's a little more cohesive and epic IMO.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


19692 Comments


I did check it Sowing, my man, back when released.

Minute 8 onwards of Rupture is bliss, damn.

DungeonBoy
April 27th 2020


7766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review Nocte, enjoyed reading that

Digging: ...and Oceans - Cosmic World Mother

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 27th 2020


34480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

-When considering metal that blends black metal-

Consider rephrasing.



-But when measuring modern efforts-

Shouldn't begin a sentence with a conjunction.



-This beast, a wolf, has all the pangs of life, shown in Allelic’s music by matter of personification. Something that is very human indeed.-

Eliminate the third comma and combine these sentences.



-until the listener is greeted by the same wonderful, multi-faceted, genre-bending found in the debut-

genre-bending what?



-In line with black metal’s more vintage renown, À Contre Vent isn’t as sterile, production wise as some of today’s more modern releases, but it’s also not unintelligibly raw.-

You don't need that second comma.



-Instead, the album’s two intertwining parts dance together, never missing a step or crushing a partner’s toe all the while.-

Love this analogy. Your writing is at its best when you are able to paint pictures like this. Nice.



-Allelic’s latest has an almost seasonal feel to it, tying s back to its theme of nature.-

Typo, rogue 's' unless something else was supposed to go there.



-Allelic continues to combine two contrasting musical worlds into an almost seamless display of compositional dexterity.-

Very strong closing line.



Overall, a few grammatical tweaks notwithstanding, this might be my favorite review I've read from you. I feel like you really ramped up the descriptions without overcooking them, and your prose is mostly on-point. I'd pos if I could.

nightbringer
April 27th 2020


1227 Comments


"Shouldn't begin a sentence with a conjunction."

I'm not sure that this rule is so inviolable. But that's because I break it a lot :].

lalchimiste
April 27th 2020


1124 Comments


Wow, great review Nocte! Thanks for putting your insights and honest criticism into words. The composition choices I made to try and make the songs flow seamlessly and try to integrate the various elements (moods, instruments, vocals) into a single unity was well captured by your writing. I also think it's a big step up in all aspects from the debut but I guess every band will say that their newest record is better for what it's worth hehe..!

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to listen and drop some feedback, it is much appreciated : ) The album is on Spotify (and other streaming platforms as well) : https://open.spotify.com/album/7ruTAwwBwvMcRNZLKLsJeX

Digging: Can Bardd - The Last Rain

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2020


9614 Comments


Very excited to jam this asap

Digging: Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

AndreBourbeau
April 27th 2020


129 Comments


not my kind of music at all but just wanted to say that album art is on point

AndreBourbeau
April 27th 2020


129 Comments


love the title too



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