I’ve always heard these death metal albums that people describe as “cosmic” or “otherwordly” or of evoking some sort of science fiction motiff, and I’ve never really got it on any of those albums I tried. Le dernier crepuscule is the first album in which I actually GOT it. One which actually felt otherworldly and strange, as if from another planet. One which houses creatures from distant universes, intent of destroying all of mankind. And it all starts with those riffs.
God damn those fucking riffs. Sure, you could state the obvious and call them atonal, but that tells a mere fraction of the story. Atonal riffs is a staple of death metal. What makes these so special is how mechanical and alien like they are. They’re played jagged and almost robotic like, which just enough mathiness to it to feel jarring. But there’s this strange element of them that feel somewhat organic. Perhaps it’s the production, but I don’t get the feeling that I’m listening to robo riffs like in djent, but more riffs done by highly intelligent life from a distant galaxy/dimension. That this is music that is beyond our understanding, but not so much so that it feels divine. As if with enough evolution, we can come to understand this music. It’s alien, but not unfathomable.
Speaking of alien, how about those vocals huh? Yeah yeah, I know everyone is gonna comment about how they’re Nespithe 2.0, but I don’t quite see it that way. Nespithe’s vocals felt more like a demon from hell unleashing hymns of damnation and hatred onto the listening. These feel more creature like, again as if not from this world. Though I guess that depends on if you count hell as “part of this world”. But I really don’t think they’re what makes this album so special, despite the fact that they are unquestionably going to get the most attention.
What makes this album so special is its atmosphere. From samples of void creature noises, to the chaotic storm of noise that ends to album, to the fucking amazingly appropriate and strange seinfield bass on Voices From Beneath the Well (how they pulled that off I really don’t know), to slow, downtune of the guitars to end that same track, to the sporadic choir segments that travel from track to track, there are so many unique individuals moments and aspects of this album that bring together an atmosphere that’s both alien and palpable that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I haven’t even gotten to the solos, oh my god the solos. Technically proficient while also being dissonant, yet strangely pleasing to listen to, you could not have asked for a more perfect way to flesh out the main riffs of the track than what Chthe’ilist does.
A truly horrifyingly good album, Le dernier is a testament to how appropriate use of dissonance can create an entirely new kind of sound, unseen since Nespithe and Obscura. And it’s arguably better than both of those too.
EDIT: HOLY SHIT THEY PUT THIS REVIEW ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. Major props to this band! And wow, I had no idea those monster “samples” were actual human vocals. That just makes this so much more awesome.