Oh, you thought it was over? Well, it is… after this. A bonus! Because I thought of this album right in the middle of the week and decided to add it because it fits right the fuck in.
This is a the new album (third one) by French one-man experimental project Netra, and to call it experimental would be the mother of all understatements. This dude plays a style that mixes together Black Metal, Trip Hop, Ambient, Electronica and anything else under the sun that he can use. Now, that may sound like a turnoff to most, it did for me too, but I heard about this a couple months back and thought about giving it a listen out of sheer curiosity, but a bunch of other albums that I would much rather listen to came first and I just never got around to it. However, as this week came about, as I was getting ready to listen to the 5 other opuses that I scheduled for the week, it popped into my mind, and I said ”oh, fuck it” and added it in at the last minute, again, because it fit right in and was the perfect chance to give it a listen. So, I finally did… and just like A Pregnant Light was able to pull off for me, this album had me both pleasantly surprised and intrigued upon first listen.
This is a special kind of experimental for Black Metal. Before I get into anything else, let me first say, that this album is mostly instrumental with the exception of 4 tracks and it’s not a full-blown Black Metal album. Also, let me say right off the bat, that the Black Metal element on here… is fucking phenomenal! The opening track Everything’s Fine is a vicious and super fucking sharp assault of what I can only describe as Lifelover on steroids. It’s just a flurry of super sharp old school blackened riffs, super fast blastbeats and insanely vicious, dramatic, tortured shrieks. Reminded me a lot of Lifeover and Psychonaut 4. There’s also clean vocals in kind of broken English that remind me of Niklas from Shining. Also a plus. That showed me straight away that this guy knows what the hell he’s doing when it comes to Black Metal and what it sounds like and he’s not just some hack. The blending of elements of Trip Hop and Ambient really come into play with the next track and continue on through the rest of the album. Each following track is a composition of trippy beats, synths and Black Metal style riffs all rolled into one, and honestly, I fucking liked it. It’s all well put together and done in a unique and innovative way that he makes work.
The next track, Underneath My Words, the Ruins of Yours, is a slow and catchy instrumental that mixes a synth-laden beat and somber riffs. Pretty unique and I enjoyed it. Then we have Live With It; a fully sung, trip-hoppy tune with keyboards and synths that has a nice, catchy flow to it and then later breaks into blastbeats and faster programming. Good track. Then there’s possibly my favorite of the instrumentals, Don’t Keep Me Waiting; a slow, doomy mix of guitars, drums, synths and all sorts of weird stuff thrown in that has a pretty cool reoccurring riff all throughout. Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve is also a great track with a lot going on, but in a very organized and interesting way. Especially the harsh vocals over the weird, trippy beat towards the end. It all ends with Jusqu’au-Boustiste, which is a composition of weird beats, blastbeats and some spoken-word clips. Really good closer.
Overall, like I said, this album had me entrenched in doubt going in, but it turned out to be a very intriguing listen. Not my favorite style by a long shot, but good for what it was. My only big complaints here is that I wish there were less instrumentals and much more aggressive Black Metal like that blistering opener implemented, but it is what it is. Again, this dude clearly knows what he’s doing and a lot of what he creates reminds me of many of my other newer favorites like the ones mentioned in the previous paragraphs. This is a trippy, out there and ballsy approach to Depressive Black Metal and Black Metal as a whole and I added it to this week because I can easily see it being written off as Hipster drivel. Understandably so, but I enjoyed it. Certainly not for everyone, but worth at least one good listen.
That wraps up Hipster Week, folks. For those who read all these reviews, I want to first apologize for subjecting you to all the madness of the Hipster Metal circle of hell all throughout this week, and if you did read them, I want to thank you for doing so and for sticking around and reading my blog in general. You the real MVPs. Fear not, comrades (i’m not a commie, don’t worry), this week i’ll be taking a break, but next week, i’ll be back with reviews of some more of the finest Black, Death and Thrash Metal albums 2017 has to offer thus far, including the new offerings by Nargaroth, Impetuous Ritual, Funeralium, Goatwhore, Municipal Waste, Tankard and much more. So be on the lookout. Thank you for reading my ramblings and I hope you stay for more. One love.
Until next time.