Monday, 2 December 2013

Profond Barathre/Rorcal/Malvoisie - Split


Winter is well a truly here and while it's not as bleak as winter in other countries, it's certainly cold enough for me. It's nights like this where all I want is some music to become entrenched in. Something truly enthralling yet disturbing at the same time. That's why I've chosen to dedicate this week to doom and sludge, although with this review I'm not exactly sticking to that by the letter.

My first review features a three-way split from 2012 between Swiss ambient black metal band Profond Barathre, Swiss doom/sludge/metal band Rorcal and fellow Swiss experimental black metal band Malvoisie. This record was released via Rorcal's own label Cal of Ror Records and features three expansive tracks, with the record clocking in at over forty-five minutes.

Tracklist:-

1. Profond Barathre - Illunis
2. Rorcal - Vilavege I
3. Malvoisie - 1291

Proceedings begin with Illunis by Profond Barathre, which begins quietly. It builds with ambience and subtle vocal chanting. Illunis stretches out for over twenty minutes and listening to the opening section, it’s easy to understand why they wanted to take their time. At this point it sounds more like an ambient noise song than a black metal number, but then first impressions aren’t everything. The initial ambience dies away close to the four-minute mark, before guitars pierce the silence and alongside that familiar chanting, helps the noise levels build slowly. Illunis whirs away like a doom song, dragged by those cold screams and the melancholy of the guitar. Their are occasional off-kilter passages, but even these have a tuneful beauty to them. For me it’s still the haunting chanting that sounds scarier. it’s when Profond Barathre reach the second part of Illunis, that their music starts to really touch you. Their ambient side shine through with some great clean guitar melodies. It settles things down after the slow assault earlier in the song.

Rorcal are sandwiched in the middle with Vilavege I. Their sound here is big, with plenty of different textures. They edge toward a more black metal influenced sound with this song; however, at times it also combines elements of countrymen The Ocean, in it’s expansive instrumentation. The vocals are delivered with a lot of emotion and power, which adds depth too and there’s more urgency than in this split’s opener, as it’s ten minutes short. The orchestral layers add grandeur and a further symphonic black metal edge. Some of the more ambient melodies created by the guitar are stirring, especially when allowed to roam free on the recording. That doesn’t stop Vilavege I one from sounding any less terrifying though. As the song fades out, Rorcal leave a stark impression that buries itself deeply within your sub-conscious. 

This split finishes with arguably the most experimental and strange number. Malvoisie produce something chilling with 1291. They’re a duo and use electronics amongst their black metal, to create a noise/ambient back drop that propels them into darker, deeper places. The vocals here may not be to everybody’s tastes, but they seem more then suitable when next to the atmosphere that the band creates. The further you get into 1291, the weirder it becomes. The cries at the mid-point seem to take on a call and response type pattern with the deeper growls, while the chants rest in the background. When vocal harmonies enter the fray, it’s a welcome element that proves that Malvoisie aren’t afraid to explore more musical directions. It’s heartening to know that they aren’t going to just implode in their own madness.

Okay, so you were expecting doom and I didn’t give it to you. What this review did prove though was that genre-convention can basically be shoved down the nearest cesspit. All three songs here have doom elements within their make-up and that if your a fan of metal, particularly extreme metal, you’re more than likely to be open-minded and to explore everything that the genre has to offer. 

You can stream this entire split via the Profond Barathre bandcamp page here:-

http://profondbarathre.bandcamp.com (for some reason I can't embed the usual bandcamp player in this post. Probably something to do with my Macbook!).

You can order physical CD copies of this split directly from the bands, as it appears that Cal of Roar Records has ceased trading.

Profond Barathre Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/profondbarathre
Rorcal Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Rorcal
Malvoisie Myspace - https://myspace.com/kvltofdarkness

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