Neige Eternelle
Neige Eternelle

Canada is not exactly the frozen, snow-capped, northern land I think of when I’m looking for Black Metal. It is especially surprising that Neige Eternelle (French for Eternal Snow, go figure) hail from my neighbors to the north when their sound is so distinctly Norwegian, and so very 1995.

It definitely seems there are two extreme approaches to Black Metal these days. You either wish it was the mid-nineties again and forego almost any deviation in the blueprint drawn back then, or you throw away the rulebook and blur genre lines until your sound is almost unintelligible. Both have their merits and I admit to enjoying everything in between from time to time. Neige Eternelle falls almost exclusively in the former category. Their touches of overt melody bring to mind Dissection’s Storm of the Light’s Bane. Their aggressive charge is reminiscent of Horna’s early work like Kohti Yhdeksan Nousua.

“Cri de guerre” is the album opener and begins with the sounds of icy winds across the tundra. Suddenly gunfire and the gasps of the dying, then the shredding begins. The buzzsaw of open chord Black Metal ferocity, crashing cymbals, and blast beats introduce the world to Neige Eternelle’s debut. The production is cold, but not lo-fi; they want you to know there is no warmth to be found where they are taking you. The song cycles through fast and mid-tempo riffs, occasionally bringing you back to a place familiar yet painful. The vocals are universally shrieks or haunted howls across the entire album, and both are effective here.

“Vent de puissance” is the shortest and possibly most vicious number on the album. It rarely slows below mid tempo, and the central riff is really great. Barbaric harmonized grating from dueling guitars attack constantly and never relent. This is a 3 minute blazer and really shows off the band’s love of the second wave masters.

Track 7, “Triste pensee” is the only lengthy track on the album, clocking in at just less than 9 minutes, but it doesn’t feel long winded. With much variation throughout, and one of the only breaks in ferocity on the album, things begin to slow down at about the 3:20 mark and slowly devolve into noisy feedback, the aforementioned ghastly shrieks, and general cymbal clatter until the metal kicks back in. Great moment on the album and works here perfectly. This could be the standout track on Neige Eternelle.

Never having heard this band, I picked this to review based solely on their name which I liked, and the fact that they’re on Sepulchral Productions which has released albums by Sombres Forets and Miserere Luminis, both bands I knew I liked. I love it when things pan out this way. Neige Eternelle has really turned out to be a good slab of metal, and while everyone interested has ‘been here, heard this’ type of thing already, it is a very worthy addition for anyone looking for something to add to their collection.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
August 7th, 2013


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