Nous Reviendrons Immortels

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Sacrebleu? Mais non, c'est sacreblack! When the members of Venom were busy minting black metal's primeval coinage in the north of England during the early '80s, they surely never envisioned the possibility of spawning French-speaking disciples (or any disciples, for that matter) across the Channel, such as Aldaaron. But not only does this Alpine-bred concern effortlessly declare (well, croak, really) its naturalistic ghost stories in the language of love, the band also takes license with typical black metal songwriting clichés in order to concoct some fresh-sounding twists as well. Don't be fooled by the howling winds and general atmospheric turmoil introducing Nous Reviendrons Immortels (We Will Return Immortals), because although Aldaaron have clearly never met a blastbeat, buzz-saw riff, or demonic howl they're not extremely fond of, they also pepper boatloads of majestic slow passages, heaps of eerie melodies, and even patches of clean chanting across distinctive offerings like "Seigneur de l'Hiver" (Lord of Winter), "En Route Vers la Bataille" (On the Way Towards the Battle), and "Royaume" (Kingdom). Most impressive of all is the wide spectrum of sonic and emotional extremes -- from furious metallic maelstrom to gentle evocative reverie -- conjured up by the two-part, Tolkien-based "Nirnaeth Arnoediad," as it sweeps listeners away to Middle Earth and casts them into the thick of the "Battle of Unnumbered Tears" -- a tremendous musical achievement. As is this entire album, really, establishing Aldaaron as a band to watch not only within the French black metal scene, but that of the world at large.

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