Released: 2010, Paragon Records
In case you couldn’t figure it out from the album title, Aldaaron are a French black metal band, this being their first full-length release. Being associated with French black metal brings with it some high expectations as bands like Himinbjorg, Belenos, and Deathspell Omega, to name but a few, are highly regarded contributors to the scene. Therefore, Aldaaron has some mighty big shoes to fill with NOUS REVIENDRONS IMMORTELS.
Fortunately, they are up to the task! Aldaaron’s music is both typical, and atypical of orthodox black metal. The expected speed tremolo riffing is there, but huge swaths of melody are injected into the music, not to make it accessible (this is still black metal after all), but to highlight and shade the music, creating peaks and valleys in the songs. The band uses this to great effect, making songs like the powerful “Seigneur de L’Hiver” stand out. Elsewhere, “Nirnaeth Arnoediad (parts 1 & 2) utilize some folk-inspired melodies, while the powerful march structure of “Propheties” closes the album in style.
Make no mistake, despite some clever experimentation and some added keyboards (for shading), this is a black metal album through and through. NOUS REVIENDRONS IMMORTELS may not be a landmark release, but it is a worthy one, showing that Aldaaron are not afraid to experiment within the bounds of the French style. I’m pleasantly surprised by this album, and it will hopefully surprise many other listeners this year.