Decembre Noir – A Discouraged Believer (FDA Rekotz)

Thursday, 10th April 2014
Rating: 7/10

Seemingly at odds with what usually comes this way through the FDA Rekotz label (meaning old-school death metal of one variety or another), Decembre Noir’s debut is that of melodic doom/death. Taking the spirit of early Katatonia, My Dying Bride, and October Tide with that healthy dose of gloom and depressive drone, Decembre Noir feel at home in misery and despair on A Discouraged Believer.

One thing that helps Decembre Noir find their footing is that of some occasionally punishing and heavy riffs. Sure there is plenty of sadness and some emotive riffs to be had, but those seem more par for the course with this genre (not that Decembre Noir does wrong with these elements). The opening title-track blends it’s feelings of Katatonia-esque droning and My Dying Bride spoken word darkness with some heavy, memorable riffs that keep the listener fading into sleep. “Decembre Noir” and “My Resurrection” also do a notable job of this, bringing forth some ominous riffs to break up the melancholy.

The standout track on A Discouraged Believer is that of “Escape to the Sun.” Starting off with a solid depressing groove, things begin to slow down and bring us to some ethereal clean vocals. These work quite well and it’s hard to wonder why this didn’t occur more frequently throughout the disc. It does give the closing track a more epic feel to it but it does seem like a squandered opportunity.

As is, A Discouraged Believer serves as a fine introduction to Decembre Noir. While it doesn’t cover much new ground, there’s a potential to the songwriting (particularly if they lean on more clean vocals and keep the heavy riffs next time around) that could cement them as a welcome new force within the death/doom crowd.

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