Thursday, April 18, 2013

Neige et Noirceur

Neige et Noirceur - Pour te Dire la Fin
Self-Released, 2005
Genre: Gothic, Ambient, Black Metal?

1. Veneris Dies
2. Spica
3. Il Pendolo di Foucalt
4. Sambati Dies
5. Spectrum
6. Novembrae
7. Pour te Dire la Fin

Usually I'm fairly disappointed when I miss out on getting demos from bands I like, but after listening to this I am really glad I heard this band in their later incarnation.  I actually think this demo was pretty terrible.  In the interest of full disclosure I was only able to find mp3's of this demo and they were ripped at 128kbps, which is unfortunate because a higher quality would be desirable.  I don't think it really would affect my review much anyway, because my problems aren't with the recording quality, it's really with the songs as a whole.

I guess all projects need to begin somewhere and some just start off with a terrible beginning.  I think this happened with Neige et Noireceur.  I really love their later albums, so I've been trying to track down the early recordings in case there are some hidden gems I missed out on really.  We are not off to a good start with this recording.  The Ambient and the Black Metal are extremely seperate ideas for the majority of this release.  The "metal" songs on this album have a far more gothic bent to them than anything else.  Honestly, I really question my genre listing up above, there really isn't enough Black Metal on here to call it such.  The majority of the vocals aren't even harsh, most of the vocals involve clean singing.  When he does use harsh vocals they are so overwhelming in the mix and distorted I wish he would stop doing them.  I suppose the clean vocal work isn't too bad, but it just makes the music feel like he's trying to play something nice and sombre rather than dark and sinister.  I don't necessarily dislike the former when it's done right, but I much prefer the latter.  I get the impression that there is some influence from newer Bethlehem material going on here, which is an example of how I like things to be done.  I just don't think Zifond managed to really capture something similar.

The production is okay for a first demo.  I definitely appreciate the fact that real drums were used, which goes to show that Zifond is quite a well rounded musician.  The only recording aspect that didn't turn out well  were the vocals.  The harsh vocals are way too loud in the mix and they are also heavily distorted in parts, so it makes it all the more annoying to listen to.  The clean vocals are okay, they're very monotone though, but at least they are mixed better than the harsh vocals.

In the end this is really the type of demo I think you can skip.  I don't think current fans of Neige et Noirceur would be interested in the material here, unless my description above sounds appealing.  I, personally, just couldn't get into the music and I found it very boring to listen to.  I will say I enjoyed the final track quite a bit, but I'm going to post "Il Pendolo di Foucault", because I think it is a better representative of the overall sound on this demo.

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