Having been around for ten years this French act has released only one split during that time and within their ranks they have an ex-member of Svart Crown, namely Clément Flandrois who does vocals and guitar on this, the band’s debut full length. An elongated intro piece, “L’Appel”, initiates this album with percussion, background noises, bells, etc creating an epic pagan like mood that sequentially builds towards “Mouroir” which blasts in with an authentic raw blackened assault that sees a glacial guitar hook infest the tune in the background. Traditionally the vocals have that barbaric vocal snarl, throat tearing savagery but still possessing coherence on the enunciation of the lyrics as the track tears along. The sound isn’t quite the retro sounding rawness nostalgia that black metal purists crave instead it has a modern but bleak approach as the opener shifts into a post blackened poise when it drops into an ambient posture that is sincerely creepy.
That post black metal stature continues in “Till” and immediately acts like Agalloch and Alcest ring true as the song hurls a tornado of blasting fury amid whirling time changes but it is the bands knack of switching atmosphere that is wholly captivating whether it be from changing the speed or just tangentially dropping the songs into an abyssal ghoulish phase as on “Représailles” even if only briefly whilst the tracks spray blackened acidic ferocity the end result is truly corrosive.
The dystopian “Interlude” serves to introduce the closing track, “Etrusca Disciplna”, extremely well, eerie and atmospheric the song begins unhurriedly, leisurely strolling with its stricken melody and calming drum beat the track has a melancholic aura as a haunting ghostly nuance is heard over the song. The guitar lead is excellent, suitably bereft it weaves filaments of misery before tangling into the blasting wrath of the song accompanied by the rage filled vocals. Again the song drops into a calm section leaving an isolated wracked riff before a cascading double kick rolls in and an awesome guitar hook follows that brings the release to a fitting and dramatic finale.
Those craving the menacing yet melodic black metal nostalgia should check out Hyrgal’s debut album, it possesses rafts of emotive and powerful songs.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)