Archive for November, 2012

Les Légions Noires: THE French Black Metal Underground

Posted in black metal, black metal history, france, underground with tags , , , , , , , on November 29, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Everyone is familiar with the legendary “Black Circle” of the early Norwegian black metal scene, the alleged “cult” or “black metal mafia” that existed to terrorize Christians and set fire to churches (the keyword here being “alleged;” there’s not any evidence to prove that the Black Circle was anything other than a bunch of friends who happened to hang out in the same basement). Whether or not the Black Circle actually existed as an organized group is up for debate, but there’s little doubt that the early Norwegian second-wave sustained itself through a small group of dedicated people who eagerly supported one another’s musical endeavors. The same thing seems to have occurred in Sweden (still don’t know a damned thing about it), and also in France. And that is where we go today, to the port-town of Brest in Brittany, central command of the French “black circle” known as Les Légions Noires.

Les Légions Noires is made up of… a lot of bands, actually, but it will be easiest, I think, to address some of the heavy hitters. Like the Norwegian and Swedish scenes, this French scene was highly internalized, but LLN in particular seems to have released their music primarily for themselves and the very tiny scene to which they belonged, not necessarily wanting any outside attention. They seemingly tried to distance themselves from Norway, in fact; according to Petrifier ‘zine, Wlad Drakksteim of Vlad Tepes claimed that the “Norwegian mafia did lots of ‘bad’ things to this world. With Euronymous death MAYHEM is definitely dead and it’s better like this as it will help Black Metal to return to darkness.” He also expressed disinterest in Varg Vikernes, claiming that “WE have OUR opinions and he certainly knows them so…” This disinterestedness in the Norwegian scene led to an interesting little internal scene in France, which remained underground largely due to the dedication of its members in keeping it so. Despite the huge amount of projects in LLN, very few full length albums were ever released, the bands mostly putting out a slew of demos instead.

Though there are multitudinous projects in LLN, the four most famous ones, which I will focus on today, are Mütiilation, Vlad Tepes, Torgeist, and Belkètre.

Mütiilation

Mütiilation are easily the most well-known of the LLN bands, making their way into the album collections of black metal fans and even onto battle jackets every once in a while. They originated actually nowhere near Brest, but in Grabels, Languedoc-Roussillon near Montpellier. Mütiilation was a one man band founded by Meyhna’ch, though various session members flitted in and out over the years.

[Despite the apparent dislike of some of these bands for Mayhem, Meyhna’ch’s vocals remind me here of Attila’s droning vocals on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas]

Though Meyhna’ch was apparently expelled from LLN in 1995 due to a drug problem (according to Encyclopedia Metallum), Mütiilation was the longest lasting of the LLN bands, and their status as a not-completely-unknown band might be due to that. Mütiilation played two shows, both in 2001, and actually released six full length albums (along with hours of other recorded material). Although Mütiilation is believed everywhere I have seen to no longer exist, the band did release an EP just this year called “Black as Lead and Death” (perhaps a re-release? I don’t know. Meyhna’ch does a good job of lying low).

[I love the fading in and out of stereo in this song. It’s alarming and makes my head feel funny. Just… absolutely mind-blowing stuff]

Vlad Tepes

Vlad Tepes, from whose ranks I quoted earlier, are from Brest in Brittany. They derived their name, obviously, from the 15th century ruler of Wallachia, also known as Dracula. Despite their high status in the dark recesses of the black metal underground, Vlad Tepes actually never released any full length albums. Their entire prolific discography was relegated to splits and demos.

[About their namesake]

Comprised of Wlad Drakksteim and Worlok Drakksteim, Vlad Tepes formed in 1992. Worlok Drakksteim had another band called Black Murder, also a part of LLN. Infamous for their rather outspoken views on the black metal scene of the mid-90s and their death threats to Petrified ‘zine (please don’t kill me, guys. I like you), Vlad Tepes has become one of the most loved bands of the underground circuit primarily because of their rock-based, gritty approach to black metal.

Torgeist

Torgeist are from Martignas-sur-Jalle, Acquitaine, and got their start in 1992. The name Torgeist comes from German and means “ghost/spirit of the gate.” They released three demos and a split all in the mid-90s, and according to Encylopedia Metallum, most of their lyrics center on Satanism.

[Love that grainy sound]

Like the other LLN bands, Torgeist’s recordings are very low-fi and crackly, arguably just as they should be. Not much information is floating around out on the interwebs about Torgeist, but they do share members with Belkètre, another prominent band in LLN. Incidentally, Lord Beleth’Rim, who did vocals and guitars for Torgeist, has an active band called Vermeth, which started in 2001.

[You gotta love these old recordings]

[Vermeth, Lord Beleth’Rim’s band after Torgeist]

Belkètre

Belkètre, as I mentioned earlier, was comprised of some of the members of Torgeist. They originated in Bergerac, Acquitaine also in 1992. Before adopting the name Belkètre, they cycled through a couple of others, starting off as Chapel of Ghouls and then becoming Zelda for a while. Belkètre put out three demos and a split with Vlad Tepes, which the folks over at Encyclopedia Metallum seem to particularly love.

[This is some of the rawest, craziest sounding stuff I’ve ever heard. I kind of love it]

According to the Metal Archives, Belkètre’s lyrical themes deal mostly with despair, disgust, and hatred, and I would say that they do an excellent job of achieving those emotions in sonic form. Belkètre’s music is raw and extremely ugly, and completely and totally awesome.

[Incidentally, this is the same band. Yes. The same one]

***

So now you have a very brief introduction to some of the most famous bands in the infamous Les Légions Noires. I don’t think that any of these bands exist in any form any longer (I think the Mütiilation EP from this year is a reissue perhaps), nor do you often any longer find this kind of concentrated focus on making music that is unlistenable to most people. LLN never intended for a vast audience to get a hold of these recordings; fortunately for us, they are mostly on YouTube now. While they may not have circulated their numerous demos, splits, and compilations during their heyday in the nineties, Les Légions Noires were a profound part of the early black metal scene. Some of the stylings that characterize this music can be found in later French black metal (I feel like Deathspell Omega are definitely Belkètre fans).

Anyway, I know that this post isn’t too in depth- to be honest it’s hard to find much on these guys. They’ve hidden themselves well. Their music, however, is starting to crop up all over the internet; I know Mütiilation and Vlad Tepes have numerous fans over in the black metal subreddit, for instance. I hope that this post at least gives you a taste of some of the more famous/infamous bands of Les Légions Noires, and that you might find something you like among them. There are multiple flavors in this mix, but all with the same ethos and goals, and no French black metal post is complete without a reference to the Black Legions.

Finally winding down in the school year, so I can update this thing more often again (yay). Got one more “French black metal post;” I want to address some of the awesome record labels in France that have released some of this brilliant music I’ve been blathering about off and on for the past couple of months. Also, I will be working on a best of list for 2012- the ones I’ve seen so far are getting it all wrong (Mgla should be on everyone’s “best of.” Srsly).

Until then,

Hagalaz

Happy Black Friday!

Posted in black metal, dead, marduk, mayhem, norway, sweden, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Well, it’s Black Friday, and seeing as how I am a hermit and a misanthrope who doesn’t like to be around large masses of people at the best of times, I will be spending it mostly in solitude (my mom is visiting, so I’m not completely alone). Things are starting to wind down school-wise, and next semester is already starting to look pretty bright. I get to take one less class than I thought I would have to, so I’ll have some down time. Expect this thing, then to start seeing more updates within the next few weeks. Sunday’s a quick turnaround this week (like I said, I’ve had company), but I will do a post for next week sometime.

For now, however, I will spam you with some good ol’ fashioned second wave black metal, because it’s Black Friday, and there’s snow on the ground in the Twin Cities.

-Hagalaz

[My choice for my Facebook Black Friday post. Mayhem is obvious, “Carnage” less so]

[Jamie’s pick. You can’t go wrong with Darkthrone]

[Because everybody loves a bloody Mortuus rolling around in the dirt]

[Jamie informed me that there is a video for this song. Crazy! (No, I don’t know why it was on Vh1)]

[There we go. My favorite old school Immortal song, in honor of the snow on the ground]

“Do Not Mistake Me For a Star…”: Watain Signs with Century Media

Posted in black metal, distros, musings, sweden, underground with tags , , , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

I was kind of at a loss as to what to write about this weekend (because I did promise a post by the end of the week), however, Watain has saved me the trouble. The Swedish occultists have signed on with Century Media, and their fans have been largely tetchy about it.

First of all, I would like to clarify something. Getting signed to Century Media is not like signing with Epic Records or anything. I mean, it’s a bigger company than Noevdia or Season of Mist (which Watain have used in the past), but it’s not like they are some super corporation. Napalm Death is on Century Media. Marduk is as well. I have heard that sometimes their distro is not so quick at getting online orders shipped (although I myself have never had a problem with them), but they seem to be a pretty good label from what I have seen and heard. Therefore, no, I do not think that Watain is “selling out.”

In fact, I think the move to a bigger label is a wise choice. Watain needs a bigger label. They have thrived and done well on smaller ones in the past, but their supporting Behemoth on the Decibel Tour earlier this spring gained them a veritable shit-ton of new fans, and they are getting, to put it colloquially, too big for their britches. Guys, Wolf Wear shut down because they couldn’t handle all the orders Watain was getting (or at least that was my understanding of the situation). Seriously. I myself was privy to the craziness because I put in my order for my totally awesome Watain hoodie (that gets me compliments from random people all the time) right about the same time that Opus Diaboli came out this summer. You know, the DVD that they pretty much sold out of before it was released? Wolf Wear was backed up for ages. I’m lucky I got my hoodie, and I feel sorry for the hell that a lot of the fans put them through when they did not have the capabilities to handle that many orders (or at least I am inclined to believe). They pulled their Facebook page, which was practically dripping with venom from hacked off fans.

And the DVD? Well, my friend Jamie and I looked everywhere for it right after it came out, and despite the fact that all the usual suspects (FYE, Barnes and Noble, etc.) showed that it had been released and was being delivered, no one *actually* had a copy of it. The demand was too high. I had to order our copies online, and I didn’t see it on the shelf anywhere until a couple of weeks after the release date.

Watain is still somewhat underground, but guys, I hate to break it to you, they won’t be for long. If my predictions prove true, their next album will skyrocket them out of it. The band has been sitting pretty at the top of the underground metal scene for a while, but they are probably the biggest third wave band after Dark Funeral, and the press they have gotten from the Decibel Tour has gained them so much overwhelming support that the underground is no longer going to be able to support them. I know we all like to think it can, but I think there comes a certain point in terms of supply/demand when the self-sustenance of the underground scene can no longer really maintain a band. It happened to Napalm Death a long time ago, and having just seen them the other day, I can testify that they are as true to their art as they ever were. I honestly believe that Watain will do the same; they are not in this gig for the money.

Don’t think of it as Watain getting on a big label so they can make more money, think of it as Watain needing a bigger label so that they can distribute to and provide the services demanded to the literally thousands of fans that they have gained in recent years. The Wolf Wear debacle this past summer made it clear that the band needs the help of a distributor the size of Century Media. The label is going to make it easier for you to get Watain merch. They are going to support the band, not the other way around.

That being said, my only concern is that Watain is well-treated by Century Media. The label seems really excited to have them, and I hope that they are good to them and support them in the way that they should.

For their sakes. Because Watain seem perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, and I’d hate to be on the wrong side of Erik Danielsson.

Image

Don’t worry, kids. These guys aren’t going to appear on lunch boxes any time soon. (from rockenweb)

[Also, no one has said the world “kvlt” and meant it seriously since 1994. So quit doing it in reference to this Watain thing. It makes you sound like an idiot.]

***

[You can go here to read the story at The Gauntlet, and if you want to witness the internet’s hissy fit, you can do so in the comments over at MetalSucks.

-Hagalaz

More Great Stuff You (May) Have Never Heard Of

Posted in black metal, black metal history, death metal, doom, norway, sweden, underground with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Well, I’ve been reading more of Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries, and as such I have been finding more obscure bands lurking in the underground that never quite got the attention they deserved (or garnered that attention later, when they became something else). Thought I’d share some more of them with you.

The 3rd and the Mortal (NOR)

The 3rd and the Mortal is a band from Trondheim, Norway, who originally played melodic doom metal. Later they moved to a more poppy sound, but it’s the early stuff I wanted to focus on for today. Their metal releases, the “Sorrow” EP and their first full length album Tears Laid in Earth were both released on Metalion’s Head Not Found record label.

[Trancy. Good meditating music]

The female vocals are really lovely, and the music is overall very stirring. Wish they had done more metal albums! The band’s lyrical themes include natural landscapes and sadness, which is, I feel made clear through the melancholy feel of the music. Lovely stuff.

[Her voice. Oh my]

Both these early albums came out in 1994, after which the band turned to pop/industrial/experimental music. They are now broken up, and have released two compilations, one of which is comprised of EPs and rare pieces.

Furbowl (SWE)

Furbowl is a Swedish band that you are probably more familiar with by proxy than you realize. They started off as Devourment, then changed to Furbowl, then to Wonderflow, then back to Devourment when they came back in the 2000s. Incidentally, looking up “Furbowl” on YouTube will find you all sorts of interesting things.

[Not least of them being this song, which, yes, is about sharks]

One of Furbowl’s members is Johan Liiva, who used to be in Carcass as well as in Arch Enemy. So, although you may or may not have heard of Furbowl, you’ve certainly heard of the other bands with which Furbowl are connected. The death metal world is a small one.

[Some really, really early stuff]

Furbowl only has two full length albums (at least under the name Furbowl) called Those Shredded Dreams and The Autumn Years. However, they also have put out their fair share of demos (the above is from the first one) as well as a compilation, which they released in 2010.

Merciless (SWE)

Another band to have changed their name several times, Merciless is from Strägnäs, Sweden. Merciless was the name they settled on after cycling through the names Obsessed and Black Mass. They were one of the very first thrash/death bands to come from Sweden, according to Encyclopedia Metallum, getting their start as early as 1986. Unlike most of the bands I talk about in these segments, Merciless is still active, their last release being a self-titled full length in 2003 and a DVD in 2004.

[Rawr]

Merciless is probably most famous as being the very first band signed to Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions. Their first full-length album, The Awakening, was released through DSP. Not long after Euronymous’ murder the band broke up (1994), but they reformed in 1999 and have been going strong since.

[From their 2003 self-titled release]

Though Merciless plays thrashy death metal, their lyrical content is very much in line with second-wave black metal, referencing hatred, war, and anti-Christianity. Like many of these bands likely are, Merciless is referenced in Daniel Ekeroth’s Swedish Death Metal book (I really need to get my hands on that thing).

***

And there you have it. Some more cool stuff from the underground. I am taking notes as I go through this book and trying to familiarize myself with some of these important early bands that are not paid much attention anymore. So far it’s been a fruitful venture; who doesn’t like to listen to ragged 80s Swedish death metal demos?

I have a lot of cool ideas that I plan on implementing soon, but this week is already looking crazy. I’m trying to get school stuff out of the way in time for the break next week (so that I can actually have a break. That’d be nice), so I’m not sure when I’ll have something up next. Sometime this week, for sure, but Thursday might be pushing it.

Until next time, content yourself with these guys, who also made it into Slayer at one point.

[Some cool stuff in the old Slayer ‘zines]

-Hagalaz

Concert: Municipal Waste/Napalm Death/Exhumed/Daigoro/Mordwolf (11/4, St. Paul, MN, Station 4))

Posted in concerts, death metal, grindcore, local, thrash, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

So Sunday night, after scarfing down some delicious Vietnamese food (mmm pot stickers), Jamie and I headed down to Station 4 again to watch us some grindcore. The crowd, like when we saw Korpiklaani earlier in the fall, was a very mixed bunch. Some of the punks came out for this one too, and the thrashers for Municipal Waste, of course, and there were also some hipsters there (I was told they showed up for Napalm Death). There were also A LOT of girls, which was cool. We need more ladies representing at these things!

The first band up was Mordwolf, who are from Minneapolis! They played a great set; good old-fashioned old school death metal. Also, they seem to have a really good sense of humor. The mosh pit started during this set, although it didn’t build up momentum until a little later. Even though the crowd was not mostly made up of the death/black metal fans this time, Mordwolf seemed to be received pretty well nonetheless. I picked up a demo from them (although I haven’t had a chance to really listen to it yet).

[They have a great name, too. Fun stuff]

Next up was Daigoro, also from Minneapolis. We are fortunate, I think, to have so many great local bands- I have seen many really, really good bands from the area open this year. Daigoro plays a blend of thrash, grind, and death metal, making them a pretty perfect fit for an opener of Sunday’s show. They were a lot of fun and engaged well with the audience… and the pit got a little bit bigger. The vocalist also said “no hardcore dancing, only a circle pit,” which, as someone who once got decked in the face by one of those kids doing ninja moves, I wholeheartedly approve. Also, they dedicated a song to all the hipsters in Midtown called “Why Don’t You Go Back To Your Home On Whore Island?” You can’t beat that. Fun band; looking forward to seeing them again soon.

[They played this the other night. The Twin Cities have some great bands]

Next up was the Masters of Splatter, Exhumed! I will never, ever, get tired of seeing these guys live. They are always so much fun. Like last time, they brought their mascot with them, complete with surgeon’s scrubs and chainsaw. He crowd-surfed this time too! I was a little upset at the start of their set because some hipster dudes came and stood right in front of me (that has never happened to me before. So disrespectful to us short people!), but I moved to a spot where I could see a lot better, and only got my hand smashed against some dude’s bullet belt when a guy came flying out of the mosh pit. Which grew a little bigger. Exhumed played a variety of songs from albums old and new, and since I read somewhere recently that they just put the finishing touches on a new one, I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring for them.

[Torso!]

[Classic]

Next up was the legendary Napalm Death! They, along with Exhumed, were the main reason I was at this show, although I can’t claim that that was true for everyone there. Napalm was amazing. I don’t know what I had expected from them, other than I had not expected it to be as good as it was. Years of playing together has made them cohere really well as a band onstage. They played a mixture of songs from their new album Utilitarian (you can read my review of it here) and some of their biggest hits, including “You Suffer,” which they actually played twice. Particularly impressive was “The Wolf I Feed.” With the two vocalists, sung vocals, and different feels in that song, I would think it would be difficult to recreate live. They nailed it, however. A powerful, amazing performance. (The pit, by this point, was nuts).

[They played this. Live. It was amazing]

[This too]

Last but not least was Municipal Waste, who recently did a split with Toxic Holocaust called “Toxic Waste” (totally should have been “Municipal Holocaust”). When Municipal Waste played their first note, the mosh pit exploded around us, throwing me and all my pals halfway across the venue. One of my friends had brought a friend with her who is not a veteran metal head like we are, and we had to go on a reconnaissance mission to find her in the crowd so we could make sure she was okay. The mission was successful, eventually, and we made our way back down to the side of the venue where we could watch the ensuing madness in relative safety. The energy was great, the crowd was insane, the pit was rowdy, but in a good way, there were good vibes all around. Municipal Waste is not a band I know a lot about (besides owning the aforementioned split), but they were very entertaining and a lot of fun. I will have to listen to more of their stuff; I do know that I like what I have heard.

[Just like that. Except no one died]

[MUNICIPAL WASTE IS GONNA…]

I did make my routine visit to the merch stand this time, and, also routine, ended up buying something from Exhumed. I have seen them headlining or opening three times in the last year and a half, and I have always bought a shirt from them. Their t-shirts are always the best ones available anyway. They are always hilarious, and this time was no exception. The one exception came in the form of my actually coming away with a girlie-shirt this time; they often fit me weird so I typically avoid them, but I couldn’t pass this one up (and their bassist, Rob, who was running the merch table, let me try it on to make sure it fit).

Too good to pass up. Exhumed never lets a girl down.

The show was wonderful- a happy and energetic crowd and a whole range of fans from punks to thrashers, and everyone there was merry. I even saw the hipster guy banging his head during Napalm Death’s set, so I forgave him for standing in front of me. The local acts were great, Exhumed was as fun and fantastic as they always are, Napalm Death was more than I ever could have possibly hoped for, and Municipal Waste was great fun. Check this one out if you get a chance. It’s a traveling party.

-Hagalaz

An Update to the Battle Jacket. And Other Interesting Things

Posted in battle jacket, black metal, tasmania, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Hello all. Sorry I didn’t make my post yesterday. I was busy getting my face melted by Napalm Death (I also just lied about being sorry. I admit it). In penance, I will write up a review of the show, hopefully for Thursday.

I got the Inquisition patch sewn onto my jacket (in record time!). Started sewing Friday night, finished it within hours of the show on Sunday. I sewed it in just a couple of hours! I am becoming a pretty good seamstress in the name of metal- I also now know enough about sewing to fix the tear in my Mercyful Fate shirt.

One more space filled!

In other news, my friend Jamie sent this my way the other day. It’s a really interesting documentary- the interviewer leaves something to be desired at times, but it’s a rare glimpse into the lives of some of our most reclusive one man bands.

Well, I haven’t got much else to talk about momentarily, except to talk about the concert, which I think deserves its own post. I’m also still quite exhausted from my participation in said concert, so I am going to go to sleep.

Until later this week,

Hagalaz

Écailles de Lune: Post-Black/Black-gaze Metal (The French Black Metal Underground)

Posted in black metal, france, post-black metal with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

So last time, I talked about French black metal and politics. I touched on Peste Noire as well as Gris, who is actually a French-Canadian band, but who sometimes incorporates French folk themes in their DSBM. Since certain kinds of DSBM seem largely based in post-rock, that discussion provides me with a nice segue into French post-black metal, or black-gaze metal. This stuff is only partly metal, but completely awesome, and France is particularly good at it.

Écailles de Lune: French Post-Black/Black-gaze Metal (Alcest, Les Discrets)

Neige, which means “snow” in French, started Alcest as a solo project in 1999. Although Alcest is most widely known for their current output of ethereal post-black metal, they started off playing the raw black metal that the French scene seems to like so much. Alcest’s early stuff is impressive, especially if you take into account that Neige was about 15 when he recorded it. In traditional black metal fashion, the early work strives for a cold sound. Following in the vein of bands like Immortal, Alcest’s early work is more inspired by the winter and the natural world than Satanism.

[From the 2001 demo Tristesse Hivernale]

By the time that Alcest’s first EP, “Le Secret,” was released in 2005, they had changed their sound drastically to one more inspired by post-rock and shoegaze. This is the Alcest that most of us are familiar with, and the sound differs sharply from anything that resembles traditional black metal. Of course, Neige still occasionally uses shrieked vocals, and every once in a while you can hear some black metal sounding chords break through.

[From the debut full-length Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde (2007)]

Lest you think that my commentary on Alcest so shortly after the political French black metal post is out of place (I already explained the shared post-rock influence between this music and Gris’ brand of DSBM, of course), Neige was actually a member of Peste Noire for a bit. He played drums and bass from 2001-2005, and the split seems to be less than amicable, at least on behalf of Famine, who has been pretty outspoken about his opinions about Neige. Of course, that may also be in response to the Alcest fans who have stumbled onto Peste Noire as well. Who knows. It is an interesting fact, nonetheless.

[Sorry Famine. I think this is rad]

Though Winterhalter has played drums for the band since 2009, Alcest is really a one man project. According to Encyclopedia Metallum, as a child Neige had dreams of a “Fairy Land,”  “a place with colours, forms and sounds that do not exist here.” It’s not hard to believe that many of Alcest’s songs are based on this fairy land. The music has a whimsical, otherworldly feel to it (and also the feel of the sun breaking through the trees in the late afternoon). Neige has said that Alcest’s music is supposed to be positive and that he wants his music to make people happy, and I’d say he pretty much succeeds. It’s damn near impossible to not be happy when you are listening to this:

[The song bookmarked on my browser as “pick me up”]

Alcest has a new album out this year called Les Voyages de L’Ȃme. You can read my review of it here, if you’d like (it’s one of the first posts I did!). It’s a great album.

[The title track is my favorite on this album. I love the different feels to this song]

Committing very involved bandcest with Alcest is Les Discrets, started in 2003 by Fursy Teyssier. Teyssier is a visual artist and illustrator who designed several of Alcest’s album covers, actually, and he started the band as a way to create a musical component for his artwork. You can view some of his work on his/the band’s website, and preview a book of his album art here. Like the artwork Teyssier creates, Les Discrets’ music has an ethereal feel.

[From Les Discrets’ 2009 split with Alcest. I wasn’t kidding about the band-cest]

Like Alcest, Les Discrets uses French lyrics. However, their lyrical content centers around nature, love, and death, and “feelings, fears, sensations related to our life and world” (lesdiscrets.com). Unlike Alcest, then, Les Discrets’ music and lyrics are more confined to this world than a fairy-land, and I think this comes through in the music. Les Discrets, while still lovely and light, has a much darker overall feel to them than their black-gaze counterparts. The songs are also heavier and less free-flowing than Neige’s work.

[This song is amazing. From 2010’s Septembre et Ses Dernièrs Pensées]

I mentioned earlier that this band has a lot of ties with Alcest in terms of membership as well. Winterhalter, Alcest’s drummer, is also a member of Les Discrets, and Teyssier played with Alcest in live performances until 2010. Incidentally, Neige has also played in the live version of Les Discrets. Though there are links that bind them together, both bands stand on their own and their musical and lyrical approaches are very different, even while they both play the same generic music. The cool thing about it is that they seem to be good friends and not in any serious competition with each other, instead supporting one another in live performance.

[See? I’m posting all the “Part I”s of these because now you should go listen to Part II]

Les Discrets, although they are still relatively new on the scene in terms of releases, have been really well received from what I can tell. They have a new album, Ariettes Oubliées, which I just learned came out this year (I have listened to it quite a bit on Spotify but didn’t realize it was so new). I highly encourage that you check them out if you are a fan of Alcest or even if you’re not- as I said, they are generally a lot darker in feel (at least I think so).

[From the newest album Ariettes Oubliées (2012)]

***

So. There is that. I think I only have a couple of these left that I have planned. I will work on them, but I also have lots of other ideas floating around in the ether. I also now officially have Maryland Deathfest tickets (woo!). Expect a live report about Napalm Death/Municipal Waste/ Exhumed soon as well- I’m going to see them on Sunday.

Until then,

Hagalaz