Verlies - Le Domaine Des Hommes - (9/10)
Published on June 29, 2015
Genre:Atmospheric Black / Progressive Black
Label:Hypnotic Dirge Records
Continuing the legacy of French black metal
Debut albums can be a difficult proposition. On one hand, they can show band with some real talent in a completely surprising affair. On the other side, the bands can show a lot of promise but ultimately fall short of making an impact. Luckily for the French project Verlies, the former proves to be true. Mostly a one-man act (save for some guest studio performances) this full-length comes out of nowhere and creates one of the better atmospheric/progressive black metal records in some time. Finally getting a physical release via Hypnotic Dirge Records, Le Domaine Des Hommes is a continually impressive album, and is worthy to be part of the wonderful catalogue of French black metal.
From the get-go, Verlies make an impression with the perfectly paced “Intro” which begins with the slower, melodic guitar slowly becoming more and more dissonant, while the additional instruments join in one by one and the piece’s speed increases ever so slightly. All of this comes to great crescendo once the screams hit and really sets the table for the remainder of the record. Where as intro tracks can seem almost like throw-aways at times, or superfluous, this is a much needed track to really drive home that this is far from a typical black metal release. The remainder of Le Domaine follows suit, with never sticking to conventional ideas or sounds. Musically, there is plenty of slower and faster sections. Tremolo picked guitar lines are of course here in plenty, but the usage of other influences is what really set Verlies apart from the pack.
The bass is very audible, and has some real nice jazz and funk structures to it, while the drums give plenty of memorable grooves, but do not shy away from blasting when needed. Guitar solos make a few appearances on the album as well and never fail to impress, being both flashy and tasteful at the same time. Vocally, the album is as varied as can be, with screams, growls, cleans and even some modulated “croaking” style vocals that sound like they could come form an Inquisition album. The layering of the vocals works wonders as well, with some of the more DSBM screams on top of the more traditional black wails, and it all comes in at the right time to accentuate the intensity of the songs.
There are some great themes in play as well as some of the musical passages will repeat throughout a track to bring things back into focus and really show that this is a well planned out album, which helps with the staying power these tracks already have. The excellent production employed doesn’t hurt either as the album sounds clean and “modern” for sure, but packs such a punch and the mixing is phenomenal in capturing every nuance and element Verlies brings to this recording. There is a slight bit of a lull near the halfway point of Le Domaine but it is not enough to really bring down the overall quality.
I can safely say this album was a major surprise. Not being familiar with the project before this, I was impressed from the first listen, and it grew on me more and more with each repeated spin. For fans of black metal, both traditional and with more of a progressive flair, this is an album that should be paid attention to. An incredible debut, and one that shows unlimited promise for the future of this act.
Thank you for this.