Thursday, March 30, 2023

Limbes - Ecluse (2023)

You THINK this album cover gives off the impression of some hand holding, warm emotional blackgaze, until you look a little closer and discover the pin fetish throughout the album package. Ouch! While the music itself certainly doesn't omit the expected atmospheres from its disposition, this is actually quite scathing, suicidal black metal with a vocalist who uses that outrageous, higher rasping and shouting pitch that you'd equate to bands like Burzum or Weakling. It's fucking crazy, but almost mandatory when competing against the fuzzy substrate of tremolo picked guitars and chords which are far more raw than that same packaging of the album might have hinted. In addition, the four tracks here are quite long, some only around 7 minutes but one nearly 10 and the finale 15, so combine that with the skin-peeling distortion and you've got either a headache coming or a revelation...

A little bit of both for me. The album isn't mixed so noisy that it becomes terribly painful, it's just the guitar tone that has been so heavily distorted, and to me elation it actually generates so much of the atmosphere and escapism. The riffs are often straightforward, but threated with these dissonant breaks that really jar you along. The beats are intense, blasting beyond blasting to the point where they become nigh hypnotic, that insane voice the one anchor between you and reality, the notes sizzling and shining even more once you are fully embraced in the grasp of the mechanistic percussion. But I'm going to suggest that this is the default state you need to be in when listening through this, because the rhythms do not have a lot of variety, they are quite straightforward and flooding and violent and if you're looking to be stunned with some melody out of left field, or a segue to hide out in while you wait to rejoin the storm, that just isn't happening for you...

It's absolutely monotonous, it's simply that there is a place and time where this monotony is something I can take a bite out of and enjoy the taste. Transilvanian Hunger is monotonous, after all. But this one strikes you with such a sinister, raucous slew of tones and hostile beats that I can't blame anyone for running far away. In fact, from what I can remember of Limbes previous incarnation, Blurr Thrower, this might be the more aggressive. I wouldn't mind more range here, but the fact is that it almost lulls you into its oblivion, and then when some more glorious, melodic bridge arrives as in "Corridors", it makes it all that much more impactful. It's another of those albums which will feel like you are cleaning the wax out of your ears with barbed wire, but it accomplished what it sets out to.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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