Review by Michael on August 16, 2022.
Here we go with the first full-length album by the French duo Vipère. After their EP Sombre Marche that was released last year they have changed their style a little bit. It is still black metal most of the time but the folk elements became much more present than on the EP. The black metal they're performing is still a mixture between some industrial BM stuff and dissonant black metal á la Deathspell Omega or Misþyrming but it isn't the sheer insanity like on the first output.
Starting with a very calm and relaxing acoustic guitar and keyboard part in 'Aspic' my first thought was that we get an acoustic album just like Ulver did with “Kveldssanger” but soon the harsh and raw black metal with a lot of double bass rolls in. The vocals performed by Saros sound like a desperate and very grim person letting out all his frustrations. But with the French language it all sounds very aesthetic and somehow warm. Despite the raw black metal sound the duo is keeping a high level of melodic arrangements in the tracks. 'La Bourgade Et Le Dandy' is a masterpiece of French black metal. Here the focus is more on old-school black metal with the typical tremolo picking and some mid-tempo drumming combined with some atmospheric synthesizer tunes. Another interesting and varied song with some hateful black metal tunes is 'Haine D'Honneur'. Here Saros sounds like a psychopathic maniac with his high-pitched screaming and the blast-beat inferno follows in the background. But again, even here they keep up with the melodies so that the song isn't sheer rage. The other tracks are also worth listening because they are composed very interestingly and with much love for details that you will discover piece by piece with every listen.
The production sometimes sounds a little bit odd however. In some parts the vocals sound a little bit reverberative like they recorded them somewhere in a small box – at least I got this sound when I listened to it with my headphones. With my stereo I didn't notice it at all so this is just a small point of criticism. Another point to mention is the very lovely artwork that the band used for the cover and for the booklet. I liked the artwork for the demo already and the paintings here are again very detailed, scary and morbid.
To sum up, the folk parts make the album quite varied and leave a bit of room to catch your breath which is sometimes necessary because vocals are very harsh and challenging and so are the often performed very hectic BM parts. All in all it is a very interesting and entertaining black metal release that shows once more the great creativity that is hidden inside of the French black metal scene.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10215