- Band(s): Enterré Vivant
- Label(s): Drakkar Productions
- Release Format(s): CD
- Release Year: 2021
- Review Date: February 13, 2023
- Author(s): Para Bellum
Enterré Vivant involve us in listening to Atmospheric Black Metal, and it should be noted that their approach to songwriting is not entirely canonical. There are some interesting ideas on their debut album, but not all of them are developed properly. So the result raises more questions than it answers. You even seem to want to praise Enterré Vivant for originality sometimes, but these questions keep you from doing it. Well, the ‘Enterré Vivant’ intro may indicate a certain conceptuality of ‘Les ténèbres ne sont pas formées d’ombre’, also, the album cover and some of the lyrics create intrigue, but let’s consider only the music.
To start with, Enterré Vivant somewhat disorient the listener with the open song ‘Fière solitude’. Some particulars will not hurt here, especially since this description will spread to the rest of the songs too. Soft melodic synthesizer lines take the lead in the mix, taking all the attention. Of course, you start thinking about the influence of Summoning on Enterré Vivant from the very first note. But the synth sound is softer, more modern, more electronic, more pop – whichsoever, but surely compared poorly with the epic anthem-like Summoning tunes. Yes, the Enterré Vivant keyboard sound is not ordinary, you may like it or not, although its unacceptability can only lie in its modernity.
An unexpected blast beat section – considering that a rather crude drum machine (it becomes clear from the skidding drum fill at the very beginning of ‘Fière solitude’ that the drum machine is responsible for the drumming) is much louder in the mix than synth and especially guitar, – destroys the whole Summoning analogy. The fast section, especially if it contains keyboard lines, is completely confusing: sometimes it even seems that there is no guitar here at all, maybe it’s just a synth humming sound. In one word, the first song is not the best one to form an opinion about the band.
The next song, “Rouge”, is slow, again in the vein of Summoning to an extent, so it puts everything in its place. Ah, it turns out that here there are even tremolo picking lead lines that are classic for Atmospheric Black Metal. As it should be, the lead is very sharp and piercing, even rasping, but its melody cannot be made out, at least very clearly. Actually, you only pay attention to leads, because their sound really grates on ears. As the title song will demonstrate later, a tremolo picking melody sounds most clearly during the mid-paced drum machine pattern in a syncopated manner. Sadly, such elements are rare on ‘Les ténèbres ne sont pas formées d’ombre’.
The rhythm guitar has rather low pitched sound, well, it works for Death Metal very well, but here the rhythm gets lost in the mix, especially during fast sections. That’s right, for this very reason you doubt the presence of a guitar sometimes. The riffs are unpretentious, uncomplicated, very often groovy (heh, in ‘Rouge’ you can hear a riff in the spirit of ‘Ohne dich’ by Rammstein), and their function is just a backing for the atmospheric keyboards. The entire composer’s efforts accrue to the synthesizer in the songs, while the guitar performs only an auxiliary function, this even applies to tremolo picking melody lines.
This is true even when the keyboards don’t grab the lead in the mix. Let’s talk about ‘Haine’, it is also a fast composition, but there are no loud synth melodies here, perhaps the keyboards are lightly dwelling in the background. ‘Haine’ is classic Atmospheric Black Metal with interesting melodies, there is even a solo here, but, of course, you will have to listen to it very carefully to understand that this is not just some kind of comb, but some melody lives here. It feels like you have to build yourself most of the melodies in your head – this is even more noticeable on ‘Lui’.
Well, this is a known issue: musicians know their melodic parts, so they hear them perfectly in any kind of mix, which cannot be said for ordinary listeners. But if such a production was done on purpose, then it is completely incomprehensible what the idea is based on: the first place in the mix goes to the drum machine and vocals. The vocals are extremely emotional high pitched shrieking, and it should be noted that the black metal aura of the album all too often exists only thanks to such vocals, while the primitive drum machine in the foreground, perhaps, spoils everything, it can only be tolerated at a slow and medium tempo. If you can get used to the guitar sound at long last, the drum machine remains, for the most part, a disturbing sound element.
So the overall impression of the album is next: the message of ‘Les ténèbres ne sont pas formées d’ombre’ comes mainly through the emotional vocals. The best Black Metal song is ‘Lui’ with its climax on the tremolo picking part intertwining with vocal hysteria, and the quasi-blast beat section of this song contains the most evil riff on the album. In its turn ‘Shunga’ is the most unusual Black Metal piece: the Oi-like guitar part is paradoxically consistent with the harp-like synthesizer, plus an interesting duel between two completely different vocals. And finally, the most intense and complex in structure and ideas is ‘La souffrance’. If the band continues to experiment with the patterns developed in these songs, it will become very interesting. Now they are just pretty good, especially if you can be bribed with some “Japanese intrigue”.