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Opprobre - Fragments De Destinées review

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Band: Opprobre
Album: Fragments De Destinées
Release date: May 2021

01. Vertige, Pt.1
02. Vertige, Pt.2
03. Renouveau
04. Reddition
05. Absence
06. Steppes
07. L'Épreuve
08. Indifférence
09. Cendres

Fragments De Destinées is an album where the ambition is slightly better than the execution; however, that doesn't mean that the execution isn't still thoroughly enjoyable.

Fragments De Destinées is the second full-length album from French band Opprobre, and as far as background is concerned, that's about all I can tell you. There's not much information on the band's pages (and much of that is in French), and there's been very little coverage of it elsewhere, so I would've likely entirely overlooked the record if not for a recommendation sent to me. Whilst not every recommendation I receive suits my fancy, you come across the occasional diamond in the rough, and although I feel 'rough' is a fair description of Fragments De Destinées at times, when it's on song, it shines brightly.

In terms of sound, Opprobre state on Bandcamp that their aim is to fuse traditional black metal, post-rock and prog. If a fusion of black metal and post-rock sounds like blackgaze to you, you wouldn't be too far off the mark; I would say quite a lot of the material on this album could be described as either blackgaze or meloblack, although there's the occasional quirk to be found here or there. In terms of reference points, I found myself on occasion thinking of bands such as Heretoir, Thurisaz, Alcest and Thrawsunblat, although I know that there are at least 1 or 2 far more blatant parallels that just refuse to come to mind despite multiple replays of the record, something that's a source of huge frustration whilst writing this review. Opprobre utilize alternating hushed clean and harsh rasped vocals, deeply melancholic melodic black metal riffs, more uplifting blackgaze guitar work and elaborate keyboard arrangements, but they do it in a way that, whilst feeling familiar, manages to stand out as its own unique approach.

In terms of the roughness that I've eluded to, some of that does come from the vocals; Opprobre have a very good idea of how to arrange the vocals and are capable of writing some moving vocal melodies, but at times, the harsher vocals lack power to them, whilst the cleans do hit the occasional off note, particularly on "Renouveau" and "L'Épreuve". However, at their best, the clean vocals manage to be touchingly effective. There's also some roughness in the compositional side; this is a long album with long songs, all of which run for 6 minutes or more, and some of the more blackgaze-minded songs (specifically the middle stretch of "Reddition", "Absence" and "Steppes") could have benefitted from a bit of compositional restraint.

However, when everything clicks, thoughts of excess or dragging runtimes disappear. Whether it's the moving contrast of urgent melodic blackened guitars with sorrowful vocals on "Vertige" or the lush guitar solos on "Renouveau", Opprobre manage to craft some memorable and compelling melancholia. Arguably the potent tool in the band's arsenal, at least on certain songs, is the keyboard; although not a constant presence, keyboardist Baptiste Belot makes a mark when the keyboards are allowed to shine, contributing some beautiful melodies that either bounce off of other instruments or take the lead and excel on their own. The keyboards open and set the tone of the two most moving songs on the album, "Vertige" and "Cendres", introducing a delicacy that serves as a platform for the guitars to then kick on with rousing meloblack riffing.

Although length can be an issue at times with Fragments De Destinées, when the band really push the limits on the final two tracks, which collectively run for 25 minutes, they really flex their muscles and manage to write outstanding progressive meloblack rich in atmosphere. There's room to grow still for Opprobre, particularly with their vocals, but the talent is all clearly on display on this record, and songs such as "Cendres" show that they're fully capable of translating that talent into excellent music.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7

Written on 19.05.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 2   Visited by: 47 users
20.05.2021 - 12:29
Wish there was a bit more cutting here, but they managed to create quite a compelling sound.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
22.05.2021 - 20:37
Rating: 8

I like it quite a bit, 8/10.
"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."

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