Regarde Les Hommes Tomber are a French black metal group whose name roughly translates to "Watching the men fall." My lack of true knowledge of the French language aside, this is yet MORE killer black metal to grace your ears in 2015. Gigantic, oppressive, masterful: these are the words I would choose to summarize Exile. Add Les Acteurs de L’ombre Productions to the list of labels to watch, because they have backed some solid stuff this year, and this may be my personal favorite.
The approach overall feels like a nice mix of atmospheric black metal in the vein of Deuil, Pale Chalice, and Misþyrming mixed with a hefty helping of icy sludge. While my personal favorites tend to be the faster, blastbeat driven tracks like "A Sheep Among the Wolves," it is later tracks like "Thou Shall Lie Down" and "The Incandescent March" that truly widen the scope into something monumental. Each chord strike is just so powerful, and well mitigated by the transitions to cavernous tremolo and prophetic howls.
In short, this album is a brick house. Every second is perfectly written, produced, and performed. The passion of the project comes through on all instruments, to the striking drumwork to the malicious shrieks. Whether a song be 3 or 10 minutes is inconsequential; this group knows how to keep things moving. And throughout, even in the more, dare I say "beautful," moments, there is a palpable and inescapable darkness permeating from every note.
From the gorgeous album art to the music within, Exile is yet another (so many, I know!) black metal record you do not want to miss this year. It pains me to think that I may not have enough space left on my year end list to include this one, but along with others who just barely missed the cut like Murg and the aforementioned Deuil, that merely reflects what an amazing year 2015 has been for the genre. If you are looking for some of the best black metal this year to carry that more traditional sound, this may be the one for you.
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