Neige et Noirceur are a band I have been familiar with for quite some time now. My original discovery of this band was completely by accident, but I eventually found myself enjoying them quite a lot. This new album is much different than most of their previous work. Less of the Paysage D'Hiver worship and more of the forging of their own path, which makes me very happy, especially considering that it is done quite well.
This newest album 'La Seigneurie des Loups' is a combination of the earlier works, but with folk and proggy elements added to the mix. Shifting tempos, folk instrumentation, epic synth washes, odd samples, blasting drums and strangled vocals make this album a treat to listen to. NeN is quite adapt at consistently keeping their sound interesting, whether through odd samples or continually evolving song structures, at no point in this album did I find myself bored. This is an especially difficult feat, considering the lengthy nature of most of these songs (3 of the 5 tracks are over 10 minutes long).
Another bonus for the album is the noticeably clean mix. Everything is heard clearly and resonates well, while not polished by any means, most of the fuzz/buzz/reverbed to hell sound is wiped away for something far more digestible. This production compliments the swirling, enveloping structure of the tracks and only adds to the overall enjoyment of the songs.
The songs ebb and flow with dirge-like slow parts, blasting aggressive parts, weird proggy parts overlaid with jew’s-harp (among other folk instruments), chanted clean vocals, atmospheric synths, throaty black metal screams, odd spoken word samples and much more. There is something here for every fan of the black metal spectrum. Everything feels organic and never forced, which is also something that is not easy to do with songs of this sprawling magnitude.
Overall, this is a killer album worthy of your attention. As stated above, there is something for everyone on this record and not in a cheesy/contrived way. Well-crafted progressive black metal that utilizes numerous influences and channels them into a furiously original sound. Highly recommended.