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Au Champ Des Morts - Dans La Joie (2017) - Review

Band: Au Champ Des Morts
Album title: Dans La Joie
Release date: 27 January 2017
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

01. Nos Décombres
02. Après Le Carnage
03. Le Sang, La Mort, La Chute
04. Contempler L'Abime
05. Dans La Joie
06. L'Etoile Du Matin
07. La Fin Du Monde
08. Driven Like The Snow (The Sisters Of Mercy cover) [Vinyl bonus]

Whenever I get a promo release from Debemur Morti Productions I expect nothing but a great release if not a masterpiece. Their roster of bands is impressive, just think that they have in their ranks bands like In The Woods..., Terra Tenebrosa, Blut Aus Nord, Draugnim, Syberia, Throane, Behexen and many other amazing acts, and now with addition of this French combo named Au Champ Des Morts they really nailed it even more. In the recent flood of post-metal, post-black metal, blackgaze and similar bands trying to sound almost all the same there are some acts that stand out from the line, one of the them is the newcomer to the scene Au Champ Des Morts. Ok, they are not really a new band, they were formed in August 2014 by experienced musicians, guitarist/vocalist Stefan Bayle, better known as ex member of Anorexia Nervosa and ex-Necromancia, and guitarist Migreich, known from black metal act Vulv. Later on the two were joined by bassist/vocalist Cécile G., also ex member of Anorexia Nervosa and Olen'k, and drummer Wilheim who was playing in bands such as Neurasthenie, Ases, Execution and Beauty Of Desolation. I don't know and couldn't find any informations, but it seems that Migreich left the band and now Au Champ Des Morts are working on as a trio. The band recorded its first demo in October 2015, then the amazing EP Le Jour Se Lève came out last year and now this really stunning debut album.

What Au Champ Des Morts did surprises me a lot, their music is in no way just another typical post-black metal thing, there are many elements hidden and nicely blended inside their compositions. Just to see which bands are cited as their main influences tells a lot, Bathory, The Sisters Of Mercy, And Also The Trees, Celtic Frost, Alcest, The Devil's Blood, pretty varied list of artists, isn't it? And to see a band that makes such flowing and vehement atmospheric sound which perfectly walks the borders between the blackgaze, post-rock, cold wave, dsbm, post-black metal and yet much more, is nothing but astonishing. This album is a healing journey for darkened souls who want to explore the beauty of darkness.

Dans La Joie is one of the best albums from this specific sector that I heard lately, it grabs your soul, heart and mind in an instant and enchains you with its multilayered atmospheric yet aggressive and powerful sound so much that is impossible to remain cold blooded. The band makes such a varied sound, when going in full blast it's mostly comprised of shimmering effects-laden yet very intense tremolo picked guitars, melodic riffs, dense and thunderous, sometimes very technical drumming, blasting bass lines, rich gloomy ambiental synths and agonizing obsessed with the devil shrieks by Stefan. But the tracks are versatile, so it's often blended with haunting clean vocals of Cécile G., some acoustic insertions, you'll find also some folkish, avantgarde and theatrical parts that reminded me to their country mates Wormfood, and if I mentioned before the bands who are their influences, I can tell you that it sounds much more alike the mix between Anorexia Nervosa, almost forgotten Swiss pioneers of dark metal Sadness, Alcest, Nocturnal Depression and Forgotten Tomb to name a few.

While the mood changes in perfect intervals, also the turns between those insanely haunted but still consistent shrieks and truly captivating cleans are placed just right to give some kind of special dynamics to this album. Thanks also to the lyrics in French the whole thing gets kind of a special charm. It's impossible to not perceveive certain gothy touch often heard in the distance, just listen to the killer epic title track to get that impression. How amazing and fluid it sounds everything in the soothing melancholic and very emotional "L'Etoile Du Matin", a real delicacy for every lover of dark metal, and how mesmerizing and mystical is the last track "La Fin Du Monde", where poignant female vocals take the lead role, reminding a bit to Faith And The Muse, even to Dead Can Dance. The band is not afraid to show both sides, the fury and fragility, but always within the borders of high aesthetics. Their technical skills are just marvelous, they testify that with some nice guitar leads, impressive drumming and other instrumentations, but most of all with their compositional skills which are absolutely blistering.

The album nicely progresses from start to finish, and if the first half is more based on ravageing, a bit avantgardish, but still flowing and atmospheric post-black metal sound, the second half of the album is much more flamboyant, cinematic and dreamy, while still being solid and powerful from start to finish. I can tell you that my soul is sold, and even if it's just the beginning of the year I can tell you for sure that this is one of the best albums that will be released in 2017. Not only the music, as well the artwork done by Dehn Sora (Blut Aus Nord, Treha Sektori, Throane, Ovtrenoir, Sembler Deah,...) is absolutely impressive. Dans La Joie has it all, it's dark, deeply personal but very vital record, is an interweaving of many dualities like transience and temporality, aggression and emotion, aging and aesthetics, depression and delirium, dreams and dust, everything so very well forged in analog sound and integrity and backed up by solid musical foundations. A masterpiece!

p.s. Those who will get the viny edition of the album will be granted with the bonus track "Driven Like The Snow" (The Sisters Of Mercy cover).

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10