Published on Friday, 18 September 2015 14:48
Band: Nocturnal Depression
Album title: Spleen Black Metal
Release date: 27th May 2015
Label: Avantgarde Music
04. Méditation Grisâtre
05. Un Immense Désespoir [feat. Algol]
06. Remords Posthume
07. Spleen Black Metal
Remords Posthume // Posthumous Remorse
Lorsque tu dormiras, ma belle ténébreuse,
//Ah, when thou shalt slumber, my darkling love,
Au fond d'un monument construit en marbre noir,
//Beneath a black marble-made statuette,
Et lorsque tu n'auras pour alcôve et manoir
//And when thou'lt have nought for thy house or alcove,
Qu'un caveau pluvieux et qu'une fosse creuse;
//But a cavernous den and a damp oubliette.
Depressive black metal never had any appeal to me to be honest, but merely encountering the sole title Spleen Black Metal light a sparkle of deep intrigue inside of me. How could I not instantly think of the great Charles Baudelaire and his Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers Of Evil) and Spleen et Idéal (Spleen And Ideal), a composition of poems that not only have left a great seal in the symbolist and modern movement in the late 19th century, but has also inspired so many other forms of art? When someone decides to transform something as beautiful and eloquent such as hollow-hearted, passionate and decadence filled poems, you can be sure I am the one who will embrace it with open arms. And so the French quartet under the name Nocturnal Depression, decided not to follow the "oh woe is me" trend of DSBM, but metamorphose the aesthetics of poems of great French poets into a sequence of mournful, obscure and heart-breaking songs.
Quand la pierre, opprimant ta poitrine peureuse
//When the tomb-stone, oppressing thy timorous breast,
Et tes flancs qu'assouplit un charmant nonchaloir,
//And thy hips drooping sweetly with listless decay,
Empêchera ton coeur de battre et de vouloir,
//The pulse and desires of mine heart shall arrest,
Et tes pieds de courir leur course aventureuse,
//And thy feet from pursuing their adventurous way;
Baudelaire, Cros, Laforgue, Brusset, Lamartine: the elite names of French literature are presenting the main form of inspiration for Spleen Black Metal, as Nocturnal Depression took their acclaimed works and decided to pour their ideas and ambiance into music. So, there is no easy way to explain how it all worked out, because I can follow one of the two paths: take it song by song and connect the musical soundscapes to the idea of the poem itself or take Spleen Black Metal as a whole and connect the dots. But not to ruin everything for those who do not share my enthusiasm for poetry or give away too much too soon, I can only say: if you have even a glimpse of wish for bewailing, lamentable and profoundly aching version of black metal, this album will bring you just that. The album title says it all to be frank: the core of music still lies within the roots of black metal - swaying from mid-tempo driven melodies to more bone-crushing parts, with expressive growls and incredibly tenebrous atmosphere. But it's the fluid motion of passages and peculiar use of guitars, vocals and addition of string instruments, which build up the spleen part of it. The opening beauty "Elégie" lays a solid foundation for what is to come with its slow and grieving intro and the following "L'Isolement" being a perfect example how to express the agonizing ambient through classic black metal elements. "Méditation Grisâtre" and the eponymous "Spleen Black Metal" then, are two so stunningly beauteous pieces of music, as they both so elegantly radiate the passion of sorrow, through violin melodies, slow instrumental passages, which so nicely round up the dynamics and change the tempo and of course the vocal work of Lord Lokhraed, which adds that special sensation of profound gracefulness of pain and anger being transformed from one to another.
Le tombeau, confident de mon rêve infini
//Then the grave, that dark friend of my limitless dreams
(Car le tombeau toujours comprendra le poète),
//(For the grave ever readeth the poet aright),
Durant ces grandes nuits d'où le somme est banni,
//Amid those long nights, which no slumber redeems
I believe Spleen Black Metal is one of those albums that is fairly impossible to put into words, because its distinguishing, elegiac atmosphere is its strongest point and speaks for itself. Whatever you may hide inside your soul – shattered memories and dreams of yore - whoever may have broken your heart and spirit; your most deeply buried secrets and scars will come alive when you enter the world of Nocturnal Depression's latest effort. Seven songs flow as one and create a wonderful realm of intertwining soundscapes, which will speak to you and submerge you, without you even noticing. Thus I daresay, Spleen Black Metal is from the point of view of musicianship, composing, song-writing, arranging and creating a strong vibe and atmosphere as well as production-wise Nocturnal Depression's best work so far and I have to congratulate them, for taking upon the idea of transforming something as ravishing, vibrant and with such strong message into music, because they have succeeded and it was not something any band such take at ease when dealing with. All in all: Nocturnal Depression delivered the gloomy, decadent and strangely passionate sensations of the poems in dusky melodies with class and elegance.
Te dira: "Que vous sert, courtisane imparfaite,
//'Twill query — "What use to thee, incomplete spright
De n'avoir pas connu ce que pleurent les morts?"
//That thou ne'er hast unfathomed the tears of the dead?"
— Et le ver rongera ta peau comme un remords.
//Then the worms will gnaw deep at thy body, like Dread.
- Charles Baudelaire; Translation taken by Cyril Scott, Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909)
Review written by: Ines