Released: 2013, Sepulchral Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
From Quebec, Canada comes Gris; (formerly known as Niflheim) with their second full length album “À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée...”. You’ll have to excuse my lack of French knowledge in not knowing entirely what that translates to into English but when hearing this album for the first time the music really speaks for itself and certainly doesn’t get lost in translation.
Gris differs quite significantly to a lot of other Black Metal bands as their sound mixes in a lot of acoustic guitars and instruments into their music to give a very varied range of feels from the eery & mellow to the downright loud and aggressive. The whole album is a beautifully created soundscape where one song flows into the other and there are elements of other styles of music such as folk, country, ethnic and ambient music all explored within the songs as well and it makes it a very interesting and captivating musical journey to be taken on.
Production wise the album has the really interesting contrast of beautiful clear recordings of the ambient and acoustic sections mixed with the harsh and aggressive sound of the bands more heavier Black Metal song sections which I’m sure is deliberate and rather than sounding like too much of a heavy contrast with each other, the two styles actually flow together perfectly and practically seamlessly.
The heavy sections are nice and aggressive and kick out the speakers right just the right amount of power and the acoustic sections are nothing short of beautifully atmospheric and mix in string sections to the acoustic guitars to really add to the overall layering of the soundscape that Gris have created on this album.
Songs wise I would say Igneus is a definite favourite from the album, it has all the great elements of light and dark from the album represented on it and as well as the harsh Black Metal vocals it mixes in some really great vocal harmonies towards the end as well. Seizieme Priere is another great track that has a fantastic acoustic intro that sounds like a mixture of something you’d hear in a good Western Movie and something not too dissimilar to the kind of eerie acoustic soundtrack heard on The Last of Us.
If you’re a fan of atmospheric Black or Death Metal such as Ulver, Anathema, Alcest or Opeth then I’d definitely recommend checking this album out. I personally think this album goes beyond the simple confines of a Black Metal album and has quite literally flourished the genre into something far greater and progressively encouraging than I can really describe without you hearing the album for yourselves.
A definite thumbs up recommendation from me for any Black Metal fan to check out!
Review by Joffie Lovett