Apr 082024

L-R Neptune, Icare

(We welcome to our pages Jon Rosenthal, who brings us a very special and extensive interview with the duo behind the Québec band Gris on the 10th anniversary of Gris‘ latest album À L’âme Enflammée, L’Äme Constellée….)

Gris‘ music has been with me for a long time. Seventeen years ago, I first heard their debut (under the Gris banner, having been previously named Niflheim) Il était une forêt…, and nothing had quite struck my sad teenage self like the work of these two Quebecois musicians. Morose, complex songwriting, mammoth ambience, and absolutely throat-rending vocals all find a home in this album. It’s glorious, even now, and unraveling the mystery behind these two low-profile artists, multi-instrumentalists Neptune and Icare, has been both delightful and inspiring.

Initially lumped in with “depressive/suicidal black metal” (heretofore referred to as DSBM), Gris‘ music dealt more with the balance of joy and despair, to the point where a logo of theirs even featured plus and minus symbols to really drive the point home, rather than wallowing in the latter. You’d never guess it, though, especially due to Icare‘s vocals, especially on Il était une forêt… (I later found out that, yes, he did, in fact, harmonize his screams in a melodic sense, too, but I digress). Unlike DSBM, though, Gris‘ music is compelling, featuring dense harmonies, practiced and thoughtful chord progressions, and a very deliberate songwriting approach that, while other DSBM bands revel in minimalism, maximizes on the space it occupies, revealing an inner depth to their music that many might not catch upon first listen. To think this was the work of two Canadian teenagers still baffles me, honestly. Continue reading »

Jul 062023

(Andy Synn presents four albums from the last month – or so – that you may have overlooked)

What is there to say about today’s selection of albums – which run the gamut from Hardcore to Black Metal to Death Metal to Doom – beyond the fact that you really should check them all out?

Well, hopefully a lot, because otherwise this is going to be a fairly short (and boring) article!

Continue reading »