Neige et Noirceur – Gouffre Onirique et Abîmes Cosmiques (Sepulchral Productions)Thursday, 20th February 2014
One-man bands are always complex in their solitude, but the multidimensional DIY process of making the music should really meet with an overall complexity and density of product. Mired in a long-winded sleet, time becomes irrelevant in the protracted fifty-six minutes of Gouffre Onirique et Abîmes Cosmiques. Bitterly cold and indissoluble as ice, the sinuous passions that shape Neige et Noirceur are frozen over in a treacherous winterland ruled by Spiritus.
Previously known as Zifond, Spiritus persistently expresses himself as a dedicated musician and imaginative artist. Concerning his newest work, Gouffre Onirique et Abîmes Cosmiques, well, let’s just say it’s not one of his most impressive. Spiritus shows off an extensive vocal range, not that he should be. His vocal styles vary from the amateur approach of trying to sound evil by speaking in tears of the throat, mediocre growls, and his specialty – a few shrilling screams. Regardless, there are a few great songs on the record. “Echo Des Abyss” skates a slide on the guitar and plummets right into an imperiling blizzard of tempestuous instrumentals whirling in frigidly harsh vocals. “Future Torture” is chillingly epic and displays an optimal expenditure of Spiritus’ baleful, raspy voice; this is certainly one of the most musically masterful pieces, which makes it all the harder to get over what sounds like an audio flaw at 6:17. The last portion, however, is somewhat dead. “La Cavern de Glace,” all parts I, II, and III are basically like listening to an ice cave. Largely made of hollow emptiness and the sound of trickling melted icicles, these dull, dreary, barren atmospheres are simply suffocating.
Neige et Noirceur doesn’t quite fit in the top-rated gallery of solo-man atmospheric black metal artists like Coldworld, Imber Luminis, and Lustre. Altogether, Gouffre Onirique et Abîmes Cosmiques (in sounds, themes, and schemes) is a good idea not approached quite right or raised to its full potential. Maybe cut and compress some of the loose debris, add supplementary instrumentals, maintain either consistency or improvement of vocals, and voilà! Even in the frostiest atmospheres, we would like to hear more than void austerity.