Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Neige Éternelle

Neige Éternelle - Neige Éternelle
Sepulchral Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Cri de Guerre
2. Fier Patriote
3. Vent de Puissance
4. L'Appel de la Mort
5. Comme une Charogne
6. Plus les Jours s'Avancent
7. Triste Pensée
8. Pluie de Couteaux

Three years after a four song demo Neige Éternelle finally get the chance to record and put out a full length album.  Even though I was a little skeptical after hearing the demo material, I am very pleased to say it was worth the wait.  I imagine the notoriety of their live presence is what really caught the eye of Sepulchral and really they could not have wound up on a finer roster.  The album has a beautiful cover with exceptoinal design for what Neige Éternelle are trying to present.  My only gripe about this is that I wish they had more of a booklet.  Even if it was just pictures of the beautiful region the band is from.

On their debut album Neige Éternelle has decided to re-record all the songs from "Forêt Nord-Côtière" and they have also recorded four new tracks, one of which showed up on their "Live" performance.  While the original demo had more of an old Scandinavian bent to the sound, I feel a lot of the new tracks are distinctly taken from more of the Finnish style of Black Metal.  Here I reference bands like Horna, Sargeist, Behexen, and anything with that kind of feel.  Neige Éternelle take some of this and recast it in a different light, which gives their songs a relatively unique feel.  I think we started to see this show up in the song "Triste Pensée" a little bit, but I don't think it showed up as prominently on the original demo.  Despite the huge gap in song writing styles, Neige Éternelle still managed to put together a fairly cohesive album.  The wildly popular "Fier Patriote" came out so strong on this that it will only make that song more popular than it already is!  I will say that I do like the more melancholic newer tracks over the harsh and primitive concepts on the earliest material.  I feel like Neige Éternelle were given a more thought provoking landscape in which to write since everything sounds better.  Not only the musical arrangements, but even the drum lines are far more interesting and Faüst can really shine though a lot more.  There are even sections where BG's bass shines through the shadows and adds an excellent extra layer, which was almost unheard in the original demo material.  Sti's vocal performance is very spectacular and I think he really got to present his skill a lot more than any of the prior recordings.  I will admit I was a little worried about how the howling section of "Cri de Guerre" would translate into the studio, but it managed to come across very well.  The single complaint I have about the recording quality is that the vocals are just a little too high in the mix and can drown out the other instruments from time to time.  If Sti wasn't such a good vocalist this could have been a lot more damaging to their performance and I would have only turned them down a small degree.

In the end we have an extremely strong debut.  Given the rather stark difference in songwriting from three years ago I am very interested to see where Neige Éternelle go from here.  Will they transform more in the future?  Or have they come into a sound that really defines the project, because they do seem very good with the new songs.  I definitely consider this a band to keep your eye on and a must see live band if you ever get the chance!  Neige Éternelle is definitely a buy.

Neige Éternelle - Live
Les Productions Hérétique, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Cri de Guerre
2. Fier Patriote
3. L'Appel de la Mort
4. Plus les Jours s'Avancent
5. Nocturnal Evil/Sadomatic Rites (Beherit Cover)
6. Down There... (Beherit Cover)
7. The Gate of Nanna (Beherit Cover)

After quite a while of waiting Neige Éternelle return with a live recording.  I would have much preferred a studio recording from the project, but it is good to see they are still going.  I actually had the pleasure of seeing them perform live at Messe des Morts II and that's really what sparked my interest in the project.  Regardless of the fact that they were playing fairly typical Black Metal, they were doing it extremely well, so it was definitely worth my time to check them out more.  This recording comes in cassette format and is limited to 100 copies.  It also comes with a well done Neige Éternelle patch!

As you would expect most of the songs on this recording are live performances of the songs found on the demo.  The only difference for the four songs is "L'appel de la Mort" is a new track and "Triste Pensée" did not find it's way into their live rotation.  The new song appears to be very well done and they may be hitting that level of Black Metal that really gets me interested.  It is good to see this band is still writing and perhaps a full length is on the horizon for the fans.  This  live performance closes with a very strange thing.  After they performed the Neige Éternelle originals, they went on to perform four Beherit covers.  Given Beherit's messy and chaotic approach to music, I am surprised Neige Éternelle would find them so influential as to perform this many songs in tribute to the band.  I don't think Beherit has experienced this much structure on their early works.  It is pretty stark to hear the change in writing quality from a modern day band versus the very early fledgling works of Black Metal's creation.  Naturally, Neige Éternelle perform the songs very well and I'm sure it must have been quite a treat to the audience to see.

The recording quality is about what you would expect.  It's a little heavy in the bass frequencies, but after you get used to it it does seem to be less overwhelming.  You can basically hear everything that's going on and that's really what you want to hear out of this.  I've heard much worse quality live recordings from other bands, so the fact I can hear more than just a wall of metal noise is definitely working in this tapes favor.

This is probably for the die-hard Neige Éternelle fans.  In my case I simply didn't own any of the bands releases at this time and I wanted to show support for their exceptional live performance.  I truly hope a full length will be coming soon, because I want to be more enamored with this band than just their live work, which is very good.

Neige Éternelle - Forêt Nord-Côtière
Self-Released, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Fier Patriote
2. Triste Pensée
3. Plus les Jours s'Avancent
4. Cri de Guerre

Neige Éternelle reach us from the very northern regions of Quebec.  They've only graced us with a single demo so far, by the time I first heard of this project.  Unfortunately, I don't own a copy of the original demo so I am stuck reviewing mp3's in 192kbps.

Neige Éternelle play a very raw and sort catchy style of Black Metal and that is best exemplified with "Fier Patriote".  This raw representation hearkens back to earlier days of Scandinavian Black Metal, which Neige Éternelle seem to perform quite well.  While the music is clearly well composed and interesting, I am not too surprised no one picked this band up immediately.  Hundreds of bands had presented this style before and I think Neige Eternelle would have to give us something a bit more than this demo to really capture the imaginations of the listener.  At the very least, while many many bands attempt to emulate this sound, Neige Éternelle do an excellent job at capturing it correctly.

The recording quality is actually quite good for a demo.  Everything is actually mixed and balanced very well.  The bass drum may not appear as prominently enough, but every other aspect of the kit there.

In the end, if you miss the old glory days of Black Metal, this is probably a band to keep your eye on.  They are clearly a very skilled band and I would certainly be interested to hear what this band can put together in the future.  Hopefully they can get their name out there more and we'll hear more from this project.

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