Dark, intimidating and as formidable as the vast Québec Nordic landscapes that inspire the music of Neige et Noirceur, come the striking sounds of Hymnes de la Montagne Noire. The release consisting of five distinct disturbing and oppressive soundscapes brings together creative ambient beauty and harsh melodic shades in journeys through an aurally atmospheric black wilderness. The music as it consumes the ear brings the imagery and experience of being lost in emotive and at times disturbing lands through its threatening intrusions, suffocating shadows and aggressive intensity.
Hymnes de la Montagne Noire is Demo Nine from Neige et Noirceur which is actually the work of sole instrumentalist Spiritus, the ‘band’ a project he began in 2002 inspired in content by his deep interest in the occult and religious principles, cosmic signs and symbols, wars and folklore, and as mentioned the surroundings and natural tradition, spirit and essences of Québec. He instils a visual ambient quality to his music though with this new release there is a move towards a striking guitar driven attack. Spiritus does not leave those emotive dark ambient sounds alone though instead fusing the two to bring force a creation that is aggressive and as powerful as his previous releases.
‘Hymne I – La grande faucheuse ouvre la marche’ opens Hymnes de la Montagne Noire. It is a track that is openly stark with its black metal tones alongside a flowing melodic atmospheric emotion and wintery cold ambience. It gives the base of what to expect ahead though the release is often varied and a strong mix of sounds well written and realised to make each adventure smooth if cold. The song is layered with mesmeric melodic waves and steely primal aggressive insurgency brought together in a seamless combination; moments when the bare melodic touches and strong emotions taking precedent are replaced by an aggressive caustic intent, easy and natural.
Vocally Spiritus has a sand paper rasp that suits the harsh soundscape he conjures up as does the natural sounds of winter that wrap some pieces. Together these elements intensify with the music the feel of the black aural beauty and the raging atmosphere of the cold wastelands his tracks unveil. It is fair to say each track does have a similar set up which instils a similarity across the release overall and though as said previously the songs are varied it is not distinctly enough to avoid this effect. The pieces are satisfying all the same , tracks like ‘Hymne II – Neige Noire’ a vibrant cold drone with striking melodic glimpses and ‘Hymne IV – L’aube des magiciens’ a stark desolation revealed with its quiet start building into a slowly expanding manifestation of enticing evil and malevolence, very pleasing and agreeable as they move deep within the senses.
At times Hymnes de la Montagne Noire is not the easiest of music to listen to, the power and intensity within numbing without any engaging glimpses to give respite but at the same time every track is never less than intriguing and carry more than enough inspiration in songwriting and its emotion to make a return to its cold charms a willing decision. With sounds that attack and sooth in equal measure and an at times sublime blend of intensity and melodies, Neige et Noirceur has produced a release that is impressively creative and willingly intrusive.