France has a knack for some of the bleakest and abrasive metal out there, particularly when it comes to the roster of Throatruiner Records. The one-man label has put out everything from black metal to sludge with a common element being how in your face and utterly hopeless all the bands sounded. This is true of Mourir, a new group founded by Plebian Grandstand’s bassist whose debut Animal Bouffe Animal is as jagged as rusty nails and wraps elements of traditional black metal in a slightly more modern and grimier exterior. Although some of the blasting results in the songs blurring together a bit, the sheer abrasiveness of the instrumentation and the tortured vocals will prove appealing to quite a few listeners.
Mourir makes an immediate impression with opener “Sentir Le Vide” which comes roaring out of the gate with blasting drums and abrasive guitar riffs that feel like they’re going to cut you open with how jagged they are. There’s some second-wave influence when the band is going at full speed, but they also slow things down on the longer tracks and incorporate some sludgier riffs that allow the grimier atmosphere to spread outwards. Animal Bouffe Animal is unmistakably black metal in its aesthetic but rather than pulling from the icy motifs of the genre’s roots, here the sound gives off a feeling of bleak urbanity. The atmosphere feels downright suffocating, and even when the band slows things down the layers of darker melodies and abrasiveness don’t subside. This is the type of record that comes across like the band wants you to suffer alongside them, and they achieve this not only through punchier fast paced riffs but also drawn out slower ones that let the gloom and despair linger. Between the fast and slower tempos the band does fall into a bit of a pattern by the end of Animal Bouffe Animal, and this is where Mourir has some room for further growth as there’s room for additional experimentation that really gives each song its own identity.
Vocals in black metal can sometimes take a backseat to the guitar work, but on Animal Bouffe Animal it’s just as vital of an element. Mourir’s singer has a higher pitched scream that adds to the bleak and oppressive nature of the material, and his performance only seems to get more distorted and tortured the further you get into the album. There’s a slight bit of separation between the vocals and instrumentals which often makes it sound like the singer is just barely breaking through the layers of grime, with some of the more ear-piercing ranges coming through when you least expect it. It’s the type of performance that sticks with you, which given how many metal albums are constantly vying for listeners’ attention from year to year makes a difference.
It may not be as chaotic and out there as Plebian Grandstand, but Mourir’s debut makes up for it with jagged, dissonant instrumentation and atmosphere that gives off a constant feeling of dread. The slower, plodding moments allow the layers to build to a suffocating level, and while there remains room for the writing to further branch out in the years to come the group has made a strong first statement. If you’re a fan of extreme metal that’s looking to actively cause you harm, this is a good bet. Animal Bouffe Animal is available from Throatruiner Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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