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Netra - Sørbyen review

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Band: Netra
Album: Sørbyen
Release date: September 2012

01. A Dance With The Asphalt
02. Crawling
03. Sørbyen
04. A Kill For A Hug
05. Streetlamp Obsession
06. Emlazh
07. Wish She Could Vanish
08. My Ill-Posed Life
09. It's Kicking In
10. Concrete Ocean
11. Strange Bliss At Dusk
12. I Shall Slay The Monkeys

At some point after the release of the great and bleak Mélancolie Urbaine, Steven Le Moan moved to Norway. Whether intentional or not, it seems that the change of location made an impact on Netra's brand of trip-hop-soaked black metal. Taking a page from the book of the highly experimental Ulver, Sørbyen shows this French project at its most daring and extravagant peak.

Just like with the debut, Sørbyen is perfectly presented with the first track "A Dance With The Asphalt". Most of the new elements are introduced to the listener right away. The soothing yet dark jazz tones with Garm-like clean vocals lead the way to a rocking black metal riff and disgusting harsh vocals, truly capturating the essence of urban desperation. The variety of styles from track to track makes the journey feel short and exciting, which is particularly impressive given the length of this album. Despite all the genres involved, it's amazing how Netra remains consistent in its concept of raw emotions driven by heartache, all reflected through the broken glasses of cold, mechanical cities.

The two most notorious aspects of this album are definitely the large use of clean vocals and the more refined electronica. While Steven's vocals are not always top-notch, his delivery is convincing and very honest. Netra's mastermind has also honed his skills in regards to his use of alternative genres to accompany his bleak style of black metal. In a way, this album mirrors the debut as it leans more on the alternative side of things while still keeping a part of the black metal aspects of course.

The themes of harsh introspection certainly hold you by the throat. This is not an album you'd like for a hangover while fighting off abstinence symptoms! The slow, bluesy undertones run amok with shivering leads and solos while the bass pulses clearly and the beats put you down even further into nihil. One of the finest yet most intoxicating songs from this album is "Wish She Could Vanish," in which sadness turns into madness as an unnerving sample of a stalker calling his victim can be heard. Just as the stalker assures the girl that "it's not the wrong number", a beautifully foreboding solo appears. Its progression into full black metal riffage evokes memories of Shining's middle period, which can also be heard in the abrasive "Concrete Ocean" with its razor-sharp riffs and bleeding solos.

Instead of sticking to his solid formula from the debut, Netra decided to switch the balances. It was a brave decision that paid off with flying colours. Sørbyen shows that there's no limit to what you can accomplish with black metal as long as a clear vision is set.

Let us dance with the asphalt! (free download, you cheap fucks!)

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Written on 20.08.2017 by An extremely lazy reviewer but he's so cute you'd forgive him for it.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 29 users
20.08.2017 - 23:05
Account deleted
I still haven't really gotten into this guy's work. I really 'ought to re listen to his debut soon

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