11 Feb 2014
Trou Noir - Echoes in Black Holes [Demo] (2011, Eerie Torture)
It hasn't taken long for Trou Noir to produce their first demo. Released the same year the band was formed, Echoes in Black Holes is an international effort consisting of Worbid and Monork from Russia and Dunkel supplying the vocals from France. The internet has made it possible for musicians from all over the world to easily collaborate and create diverse variations of genres that are otherwise often heavily coloured by its regional scene. Between them the three members of Trou Noir - or "Black Hole" in French - have been in at least nine bands that have collectively released in excess of fifty demos, EPs, splits and albums, meaning that this unholy trinity are at least in some way seasoned musicians.
A vital element within Echoes in Black Holes is the way they utilize ambience. Monork's arpeggiated notes form the backbone of the demo with the minimalistic drumming of Worbid providing the rhythmic coherence. The two usher in the raw vocals of Dunkel, which bear a striking resemblance to those of Varg Vikernes on Det Som Engang Var. The transitions between the ten tracks on Trou Noir's first demo are seamless and immaculate, making the whole demo coalesce with each element being consistently integrated without much effort. Each track neatly segues from cold and melancholic melodies to more ambience-laden passages with the arpeggiated notes working to add depth to the music. To continue the Burzum analogy; If the vocals are Det Som Engang Var, the music itself is closer to Filosofem or Hlidskjalf, but without opting for the same droning approach.
Any music enthusiast will know that it's hard to get riled up if the musicians delivering the music aren't engaging about their business and deliver their tunes in a convincing way. Accusing Darkspace's first demo from 2002 of being varied, extravagant or musically eloquent seems almost an insult, and yet Darkspace have become a modern day cult in themselves. Their music is droning and monotone, but it works extraordinarily with the monotony becoming the main attraction which makes it all the more hypnotic. You might be wondering why I'm talking about Darkspace rather than Trou Noir, but when it comes to spacy ambient, atmospheric black metal a band such as Darkspace automatically becomes the standard to which similar bands are held, and while Trou Noir and Darkspace have only minute elements in common, it seems as a necessary comparison to make. Trou Noir have opted for that very style, yet deliver their music with total abandon and insincerity. I can feel they're going for a trippy, psychedelic feel with the drawn out drum sequences and almost randomly picked guitar notes, but it becomes stale and unhypnotic in the execution process. There are a few good riffs once in a while, with the main riff in Black Hole Reverb being the prime example, and the vocals seem to generally be held to a higher standard than the rest of the demo, but all in all it feels like most songs are written the way they are for the sake of consistency rather than actually contributing a memorable element to the release as a whole. Their songwriting makes it very hard to remember any one moment on the demo, which in itself isn't inherently bad as proven by similar groups, but it becomes a fundamental problem when there is nothing else to remember the band or demo by.
My problem is that the demo is too long for such an ineffective delivery of stale ideas. Darkspace got it right when they released their demo in 2002 featuring 25 minutes of their trademark spacey black metal, consisting of little other than spaced out walls of distorted guitar accompanied by ferocious blast beats. Echoes in Black Holes is overflowing with poorly executed melancholy that misses its target by a wide margin. The cover art made a promise of better things - It made a promise of cosmic black metal engulfed in the cold, galactic aspects that this sound usually brings with it, but it was a promise it could not keep. The atmosphere is bedroomy rather than spacy, which is what primarily sets it apart from the great ones within the genre. Instead of going exploring within the psychedelic possibilites of their chosen style, they follow a linear path which doesn't suit their sound terribly well. 4/10 guitars.
1. Funeral Echoes (Part I)
2. Defective Reflections
3. The Tree Into the Void
4. Somnambulistic Searchers
5. The Denying of Being
6. Black Hole Reverb
7. Nihilistic Moon
8. Echoes in Mirrors
9. March of Leprous
10. Funeral Echoes (Part II)
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