Orakle - Uni Aux Cimes review
|Album:||Uni Aux Cimes|
|Release date:||April 2005|
02. L'Instant Du Dessus
03. Le Distant
05. Uni Aux Cimes
07. Le Seuil Ardent
"L'Ineffable Emoi… De Ce Qui Existe", the first EP of the French black metal band Orakle released in 2002, had created a little buzz in the underground metal world. Lots of people praised the talent of this young but ambitious band that was able to weave intimate atmospheres around some brutal, fast and cold music. This was not for all ears, yet still it worked pretty well. Well, three years later, here they come again with their first full-length, which is for the time being my favourite black metal album of the year.
The amazing opener "L'Instant Du Dessus" is by itself worth the purchase of the album. This is probably the most complex track of the album, with incessant breaks, very inspired arrangements and rhythm changes. The vocals are just brilliant and original, as they are all along the 53 minutes of this high-class debut album: aggressive black metal screams alternate with theatrical clean vocals and choirs à la Arcturus that bring a nice avant-garde touch. Orakle's metal is extremely melodic, grandiloquent and follows the path opened by Emperor and Arcturus.
Ok, I said it, "Uni Aux Cimes" is obviously influenced by the Scandinavian melodic black metal scene, with a high technical level. Abrasive and catchy riffs are often counterbalanced by acoustic passages, top-notch solos and brass breaks, like the very jazzy end of "Abyssale", the other standout track of the album. But even if the songs are quite long, very complex and each contain a dozen different good ideas, "Uni Aux Cimes" is not messy. Actually it flows smoothly like one bizarre theatre play (like "La Masquerade Infernale", but with a metal instrumentation), an impression reinforced by the intelligent and poetic lyrics in French (if you can find a translation somewhere, don't hesitate, it is worth a bit of your time!). The riffs, whether full-paced black metal or slowed down on atmospheric passages always manage to surprise the listener. "Uni Aux Cimes" never sounds like déjà-vu. Every song has its own personality that fits perfectly in this majestic piece of art.
The production is almost as great as the music. Only almost, because in my humble opinion, the vocals are recorded too much in the background. On really fast and brutal passages, you hardly hear them at all. Other than this little detail, "Uni Aux Cimes" has the production that such a classy album deserves: clear, cold, bombastic and powerful. As it is, such a complex album would have been unbearable had the sound been bad. It's the other way round here, once you've started, you can't help but feel like listening to it over and over again.
As you may have understood, this album has very pleasantly confirmed all the good things I though about Orakle. "Uni Aux Cimes" is a very mature album, one of the kind that you would expect only from a more experienced band. Anyway, Orakle proves again that the French black metal scene is nowadays one of the best you can find and sets the pace with this "Uni Aux Cimes" destined to become one of the milestones of grandiose and epic black metal. Let me repeat myself: this is my favourite black metal album of the year, hands down. Enough said, this is a must.
Highlights: L'Instant Du Dessus (check it out on MS September compilation), Le Distant, Abyssale
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