Décembre Noir
The Renaissance of Hope

If one had asked me last year; “Hey, you stupid, fat piece of shit, who is your favorite death doom band,” I would have said “Insomnium…?” With a question mark at the end, asking almost incredulously. The reason behind that is I had very little experience. If you’ve followed my reviews, you’ll know death doom has kind of become my wheelhouse.

So, that brings us to the obviously death doom named Décembre Noir from Thuringia (if you had to look that up, I don’t blame you). Firstly, and most importantly, they’re great parents who believe in tough love. If you don’t believe me, check out that cover with the gentleman presumably drowning his child to save him or her from the plague (I may have made up that scenario). So, Décembre Noir saves their children from the suffering, but what about us?

Of course not. This is death doom.  Just check out the opening salvo called “A Swan Lake Full of Tears.” It’s nearly 9-minutes of mid-tempo death doom. Bold. The vocals are the standard, deep growl variety and the opening riff has a nice stomp to it. There are changes in the vocal department in the form of spoken word. A couple of minutes in, we’re treated to a heavy section where the slower drumbeat and stomp has quite an impact almost like a deathcore breakdown (although not close at all). It stays interesting for the duration.

The next track, “Hope/Renaissance” starts out much heavier than its predecessor and switches quickly into a more up-tempo riff section. Through a couple of changes, for the most part, it retains the faster pace (I said “faster,” not “fast”) through its runtime.

The very next one, “Ritual of Fire,” I tend to enjoy more than the two previous. It has a little bit more of a driving riff, but for the most part there’s not too much different from the previous. The weeping guitar carries it, which is the norm at this point, not the exception.

The following track, “Streets of Transience,” starts out sound far less like death doom and more like gothic rock. If not for those growled vocals, it could fall firmly in that category. A few minutes in, the guitars take an unexpected turn, which segues into, well, death doom with spoken word vocals. This is the standout. We even have some blast beats at the end!

I think you get the idea… If not, you’ve probably never listened to the genre. To note; The production is good, albeit a little thin. Sometimes the vocals are out front and audible, but they do frequently get lost. The rest of the instrumentation is present, although the bass and drums specifically are a little hollow. As usual, there are some pros and cons. As someone who only recently warmed up to the death doom genre and has frankly fallen in love with it, I enjoy this record. To me, death doom lately has been like pizza in that even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. One of the most glaring exceptions is if it’s overdone (in this analogy, that means the record is too long). This one isn’t. It is close, though. Weak analogy, I know. The bottom line is that Décembre Noir have crafted a good death doom record. It’s not going to light the world on fire, but if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll find some joy in it. So, pour yourself a glass of wine in your castle and listen to it on your home theatre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
November 18th, 2020

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik T

    Im digging this, one of the better doom death releases of the year


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