• Esthète Sinistre - Live In Despair, Die In Solitary (2013) (8,5/10)

    Genre: Black Metal / Post Metal
    Label: Self-production
    Playing time: 26:57
    Band homepage: -

    Tracklist:

    1. Live In Despair, Die In Solitary
    Esthète Sinistre - Live in Despair, Die in Solitary

    Esthète Sinistre is a depressive post black metal project by one musician and one singer. It may come as a surprise to many that this grim and frostbitten project neither comes from the Métal Noir Québécois movement nor from a Scandinavian or Baltic country. The two persons behind the project hail from the busy and warm metropolis of Guangzhou which is included in the southern part of an impressive megalopolis on the Chinese coast. Despite the atypical surrounding and origin of this album, it makes you feel as if it was recorded during winter time in a bare cabin somewhere in the northernmost woods.

     

    The young band’s first release comes along as one atmospheric track that clocks in at around 27 minutes. It first offers us folkloristic samples reminding of traditional Scandinavian or Russian music. The listeners then get to hear some excerpts from speeches that seem to be taken from an old movie before samples of wind and wuthering are added to the formula. Once the track kicks off, it varies from depressive but laid back passages to pitiless and blistering parts with raw riffs and ferocious drumming. Some passages include noisy bass guitar parts while others come along with laid back piano passages, acoustic guitars, organ sounds or a few almost New Age driven orchestrations. All these elements perfectly fit to the general atmosphere and each instrument or idea has its shining moment. That’s why this song never gets boring despite its epic length. The vocals are emotional lamentations and don’t seem to include any actual lyrics. But they don’t need to because the atmosphere created by the music and these lamentations is stronger than simple words. The underground production perfectly suits this bleak epic as well. Even the misspelled song and EP title funnily fits to the genre’s underground image.

     

    I have listened to this gem four times until now and this little masterpiece keeps on growing on me. Its atmosphere isn’t only bleak but also includes many moments of melancholy and even hope. The musicianship is detailed enough to make you discover new little elements each time you are listening to this song. Esthète Sinistre are the best black metal newcomer band I have listened to in quite a while and may have released the best genre output this year. I hope to hear more from this band anytime soon. Spread the name that relevant grim and frostbitten black metal now comes from Southern China and give this epic a few fair spins on the band’s Bandcamp page: http://esthetesinistre.bandcamp.com/

     

    (Online December 30, 2013)

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