Vous Autres - Sel De Pierre review

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Band: Vous Autres
Album: Sel De Pierre
Release date: September 2020

01. Onde
02. Vesuve
03. Ecueil
04. Sans Sèves
05. In Humus
06. Nitre

A mysterious duo of French musicians posing with metallic heads; now where have we seen that before?

Beyond this mildly interesting passing similarity, there's not a whole lot that links Vous Autres and Daft Punk, surprisingly enough; sure, both bands use electronics, but that's about as closely as you could link their sounds. Vous Autres announced themselves last year with their debut full-length, Champ Du Sang, an album that put their distinctive fusion of industrial, black and sludge metal influences on full display. Only a year later, and we have an opportunity to further enjoy this sound; how does the sophomore stack up compared with the debut?

On the surface, not much has changed with the sound: thunderous, plodding sludge riffs accentuated by dissonant black metal chords and atmospheric tremolo, and emphatic, precise industrial percussion holding everything together. There's a bit more to it than that, but I feel like that's a broadly fair description of the music that Vous Autres conjure up. The first couple of minutes of opener "Onde" feature all of the above, making it clear from the start that this is the same entity that unleashed Champ Du Sang. However, a brief comparison of the tracklists for the two albums highlights one notable departure; Sel De Pierre is several songs and twenty minutes shorter than its predecessor (and funnily enough, also features much shorter song titles). I can't say that Champ Du Sang ever felt particularly bloated, but the new album is clearly a refined, concentrated version of the Vous Autres sound.

What does that mean for the music featured on the respective albums? Champ Du Sang wasn't a massively diverse album; the music for the most part offered minor variations on the same sound, with only the occasional detour (such as the more melancholic, post-metal-oriented "Le Gouffre Est Devant"), but also with ebb and flow to the dynamics to break up the bludgeoning percussive assaults. Sel De Pierre doesn't shake things up; partway through "Onde", the track takes a brief post-metal detour (albeit more sinister than previously), but then returns to the band's trademark pounding. There are some changes in tempo, with the odd stretch of blasting, but it's not a regular occurrence. One thing that is of note in this track is the use of keyboards/electronics, which feels perhaps slightly more prominent at times when it comes to shaping the sound, as well as what appear to be distant choral vocals in the closing moments.

The ebb and flow is on full display here; much of "Vesuve" is comprised of a slower, more spacious trudge than large stretches of "Onde" were, and this serves to make the gradual intensifying of the song as it progresses more gripping. And then there's the major ebbs where, like on Champ Du Sang, everything cuts away for a while as a quiet interlude takes over; despite the condensed length, Sel De Pierre still finds time for a track such as "Ecueil", five minutes of ambient synths and industrial beats, or "Nitre", which is just ambient synths. It's good that the group found time for these dynamic shifts, and they help the intense stretches to shine brighter.

A more easily digestible version of Champ Du Sang, Sel De Pierre demonstrates that the style that Vous Autres have crafted serves as a rich well for quality music to be extracted from. If the French outfit maintains this level of prolific output, they may soon need to start shaking things up a bit to avoid all the releases blending together, but at this nascent stage of their career, this similarity isn't yet a barrier to enjoying the music, and the songs that are featured on this album are of real quality.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 27.09.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 4   Visited by: 44 users
28.09.2020 - 00:16
Great writeup, I've been quite enjoying this one. Black doom is best when it really packs the atmosphere, and boy does this album have a hell of a lot of it.
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28.09.2020 - 00:20
Written by Apothecary on 28.09.2020 at 00:16

Great writeup, I've been quite enjoying this one. Black doom is best when it really packs the atmosphere, and boy does this album have a hell of a lot of it.

Cheers, yeah they nail a really effective atmosphere, lots of ominous dread in it without feeling overwhelming or excessive.
28.09.2020 - 10:20
On first listen this one is less industrial than I remember them being. Still pretty massive.
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
28.09.2020 - 11:01
Written by RaduP on 28.09.2020 at 10:20

On first listen this one is less industrial than I remember them being. Still pretty massive.

It's perhaps a bit less so than the debut yeah, but I'm not sure it's a huge shift

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