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L'Hiver en Deuil
Ter Aarde
November 2013
Released: 2013, Independent
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: UK Team

L'Hiver en Deuil are a 'melancholic black metal' band hailing from the darkest depths of Belgium. At first glance, they seem to make up the formula for a decent band of the genre: intricate logo, fancy French name (which translates to 'winter in mourning') and miserable-looking monochrome promo photos set in a forest. Doing alright with the aesthetic, then.

Now for the listening. Intro 'Prelude' channels more established bands such as Drudkh with the sound of soothing rain mixed amongst the resonant guitar, building up for what's to come. This leads into 'Ocean Black', which begins with eerily lulling riff work and poetically spoken vocals, adding the gothic elegance of My Dying Bride into the mix. Don't let this fool you however, as the band continue to assault the eardrums with erratic drumming and grittier riffs before trailing off yet again into the soothing, atmospheric tones of the intro. Sure, this has been done many times before but L'Hiver en Deuil manage to command the attention with their multi-layered sound.

Vocally, the album is consistently strong. A variety of styles are showcased in this album by main vocalist David and backing vocalist Kevin. Blood-curdling gutturals and tortured black metal rasping mixes in nicely with David's soft-spoken tones, which make a welcome return on 'Gesel'. Melodies are also something Ter Aarde doesn't fall short of. The guitar-driven sound breaks up the blackened assault and opens up a passage of accessibility for newcomers to the genre. Many offerings which fall into this category have a tendency to blend into one, but the songs here are easily distinguishable and each offers a sturdy insight into the talent and technical proficiency of the members.

A solid, enjoyable album catered to those who enjoy the more gothic side of black metal, Ter Aarde doesn't massively stand out but it it'll certainly please the melancholy brigade. Ideal for those who want to dip their toes into the murky DSBM waters for the first time.

Review by Beth Avison
Track Listing

1. Prelude
2. Ocean Black
3. As
4. Gesel
5. Fatum
6. Gekluisterd


David – vocals, Kevin – guitars/backing vocals, Stijn – guitars, Boris – bass, Johan – drums.

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