Gris À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée…

GrisÀ l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée…
8
Black metal most often explores the conceptual landscapes of ugliness and disgust, the infernal and the grotesque. The deep distortion pushes the limits of guitar tone degradation, while the vocals are meant to resemble something frightening and inhuman. Very rarely is black metal employed to explore the potential of the genre's loveliness, but that's exactly what Gris set out to accomplish with À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée…The follow-up to 2007's Il Était une Forêt... is a verdant, shivering, plaintive album that chooses clarity over obfuscation and tenderness over wrath. That's not to say the record isn't heavy — after the tender intro of "L'Aube," "Les Forges" makes its clamouring, crashing way across the aural landscape, Icare's voice sounding like an animal caught in a bear trap. But always, the searing aggression is set against a rippling, melancholy sweetness built out of mercilessly lovely song structures and acoustic instrumentation. With over 80 minutes of music, much of it at a writhing, mid-tempo pace, À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée… comes dangerously close to grinding the listener down with its winsome misery, but broken as it is into two 40-minute halves, cleaved by instrumental passages, this album is an ordeal worth going through. (Sepulchral)