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Borgne: Royaume des Ombres

Borgne is one of the most consistent groups in black metal today, but I don't think he's ever been quite this misanthropic before. In other words, it's one of his best works. Royaume des Ombres is equal in its fury and frigidity, plus the increased fidelity in the production does not hurt this atmosphere at all; in fact what it does do is provide more space for the instruments as well as the power-synth, which are all those dense sounds reminiscent of wind and such played through a keyboard, and it adds a lot, introducing its textures as the five-minute ambient opener "Fall of the Lost Souls." If you were wondering whether or not the album lives up to the cover after this, the black/doom of "Suffer As I Paid My Grave" should be more than enough to convince you that Borgne not only wants to die but take you down with him...and hopefully the rest of the world. There's a beautiful simplicity to the riffs; faint shrieks heighten the heartbeat during the slow pace until the drums blast away, so he's playing with tension in exciting ways.

The record is extremely tight since all the songs flow together really well, but the thing that makes it stick is its honesty and attention to composition. Sometimes people forget metal can/should be more than blistering exercises, and, as if Borgne was taking notes from Lunar Aurora, the record continues the growth of meditative riffing that he's been doing for a while. "In the Realm of the Living I'm Dead" and "All These Screams Through Me" trade tension for a dismal mastery, sucking you dry like older Forgotten Tomb or Katatonia's Brave Murder Day, and just like those references Borgne uses emotional dynamic, especially in "All These Screams Through Me," to blacken the darker parts and lighten to softer ones, and its unexpected industrial interlude, which could have used a bit more sampling and less percussion, serves as an experiment I hope he continues. The song's outro featuring piano and ebow is as powerful as it is because of what surrounds it, and it's another thing he could utilize more often.

Borgne is yet another example of a band that isn't in the upper underground but is too good to be there anyway, because that level of the underground is becoming pop metal and more of the lesser known bands are staying true to their progression. This record is a bit of a grower (even at its worst it's still great), yet all his recent records have been, so for first listeners, this is a fair place to start, partly because of the better production value but also because it's quite enveloping. And cold. My coffee is frozen.

Track Listing
1. Fall of the Lost Souls
2. Suffer As I Paid My Grave
3. In the Realm of the Living I'm Dead
4. Only the Dead Can Be Heard
5. All These Screams Through Me
6. The Last Thing You Will See

Added: August 19th 2012
Reviewer: Danny Heater
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1332
Language: english

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