Published Mar 27, 2014Low audio production has always been a cornerstone of black metal's signature sound. Unfortunately, this foundation has routinely stunted the growth of countless bands under the assumption that the audio quality itself will add to the raw atmosphere of the music. Whether that is true or not, it can't be denied that there is a claustrophobic nature to this particular component that ultimately becomes a problem, creatively, when an artist starts experimenting within the genre.
Ambient black metal band Neige et Noirceur's newest release, Gouffre Onirique et Abimes Cosmiques, is an example of a failed fusion between two distinct sounds. Ambience, by definition, means the character and atmosphere of a place; unfortunately, neither character nor atmosphere is apparent throughout most of Neige et Noirceur's newest album. While ambient elements exist within each song, they are quickly overpowered by drawn-out riffs muddled by the poor production that is so deeply entrenched in the black metal genre. It isn't until the very end of the album, with the three themed tracks "La Caverne De Glace I," "II" and "III," that any impression of an atmosphere is established.
While these three final tracks serve as a fine example for ambient music they contain almost no trace of the black metal that dominated the other 45 minutes of the album. Gouffre Onirique et Abimes Cosmiques fails to amalgamate the two opposed sounds; it's a significant flaw that eclipses any strengths to the record. (Sepulchral)