Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hiver Noir "From the Dead Times of Depression" LP

Eagerly awaiting my copy of the HN/Black Joy cs to arrive, the first new Hiver noir release in almost 5 years, I thought I'd say a few words on the repress of "From the Dead Times Of Depression." I've never owned a physical copy of the original tape, but I have seen the artwork, and I have to say the SS reprint really gave this album a proper and more suiting visual overhaul, and this great work really deserves to be on vinyl. The record just feels damn good to hold in your hands, the artwork stamped onto a sheet of paper glued to and half wrapped around a card sleeve, blank black center label sticker on the wax, scratched-off faded ink forming swirling, bleak repetitions of patterns, song titles are barely visible as if the record has been sitting in someone's attic for 50 years, it all comes together so perfectly with the music. This is the obvious reason this band rules: it's depressing black metal, but it's not Depressive Black Metal. How this 2-man team did this is through mastery of their craft and understanding of their instruments and of the genre in which they play to a degree most are incapable of achieving, it's got that "to think outside the box you have to have complete and full understanding and mastery OF the box" level of skill. There is nothing that sounds like this band, if you've never heard this band then you've never heard these riffs before (which can not be said about 99% of all forms of pitched music), they are so fucking original and creative it makes me want to pick up my guitar and want to never play again at the same time. There are really no set rules or formulas this band follows. At times climbing, modest tremolos over quiet blasting, sometimes bright warm arpeggios punctuated by syncopated drum rhythms, soft to explosive build-ups of tensions leading to crashing atonal waves, gorgeous interludes of fuzzed out, lazily picked arpeggios under angelic tremolo leads, sometimes feedback becomes the lead melody, the record starts off with a repeating phrase that literally sounds like the record is skipping on a loop, the drums sometimes go into militant marches, atonality collides with consonances head on even within a single phrase, hatred bounces off of quiet introspection and interweaves into glorious clouds of joy, it starts, it stops, tempos break and change, drums are overpowering at points when a band would typically put little emphasis on drums and barely audible at other points where bands would typically depend on a strong drums, guitar levels cut in and out at the drop of a hat, sometimes repetition goes on and on and other points the phrases change up in rapid fire, vocals retain a subdued backseat but make their presence known when needed, the bass gets super overblown for whole segments and just kinda honks its way through, whatever they do next in a song, the one thing you can't do is predict it. Listening to this band is like watching a painter make a picture without telling you what he's doing, and every time you think you've figured out what the painting is of, he adds another brush stroke, sometimes a tiny detail, sometimes a grand sweep across the canvas, and you realize you have no idea where he's going with it, and in the end you're still not sure what the painting is of, but you sure as hell like the colors and form and you sure as hell enjoyed watching him paint it. The drum patterns and guitar melodies are so atypical of black metal, yet retain all the key elements of raw bm, this band should appeal to fans across the spectrum of the vast umbrella spectrum of "black metal." This is a mandatory listen for anyone interested in one of the most exciting and most jaw-dropping things to be happening to this genre in the last decade.

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