AMESOEURS — Amesoeurs (review)

AMESOEURS — Amesoeurs album cover Album · 2009 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Conor Fynes
'Amesoeurs' - Amesoeurs (7/10)

Best known as a side-project of Neige from post-metal darlings Alcest, Amesoeurs is something of a blackened shoegaze supergroup, with members of Peste Noire and Empyrium coming together with Neige to create something quite nice. I am a huge fan of Alcest, and really liked the first Amesoeurs release with the EP 'Ruines Humaines', so I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, 'Amesoeurs' is not the masterpiece debut album that I hoped for at the back of my mind, but it has manages to achieve a sound of its own, which for a supergroup, is a rare achievement in itself.

Although Amesoeurs has long been labelled as a black metal band, the self-titled debut does not embrace the style completely. 'Ruines Humaines' hinted at some pretty fierce depressive black metal, but here, it is as if they decided to go in a different direction than what the EP teaser implied. Instead of being 'black metal', or even metal in general, 'Amesoeurs' might best be compared with alot of shoegaze and post-punk bands. Upbeat drum beats, melodic guitar leads and Audrey Sylvain's soft voice are about as far from black metal as mandarin oranges are from devastating oil spills in the Pacific Ocean(?) Regardless, for those craving a harder edged sound, there are some faster-paced sections that verge on the tremolo picking of black metal, although things rarely get any heavier than Alcest's work with 'Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde'.

Amesoeurs definitely feels like the work of a couple of musicians who each have their own ideas of what they want the band to be. This results in a shift between graciously mid-tempo tunes, more upbeat post-punk parts, and the occasional return to the black metal sound of 'Ruines Humaines'. Whoever wanted Amesoeurs to go the mellow route seems to have prevailed however, because this album favours the lighter side more than anything else. 'Video Girl' and 'La Reine Trayeuse' emphasize an almost-ballad sound to the music, where Audrey's voice takes over with some melancholic melodies and distinctively French lyrics. The execution of 'Amesoeurs' is impressively consistent from the black metal elements to their lightest segments, but the way they approach this dynamic does not sit well with me. Amesoeurs have a strong sound to them, but the lean towards slower songs can lead the album to get a little more tedious than it should have been. Of course, 'Amesoeurs' should not be approached as a metal album, and as long as one isn't expecting a dark black metal record a la Peste Noire, there is impressive beauty to digest here.
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