Loup Noir - L'âme de la steppe (2011)
Another band from the French underground scene present us its first complete work called "L'ame de la steppe". I refer to Loup Noir, a one-man band which was formed in 2011 and the album mentioned above which was released in December of 2011, is their only release until today. This album contains two ambient introductions and seven tracks of duration of about one hour and ten minutes. Their music can be described as atmospheric, mainly mid paced Black Metal with influences from the French and the Norwegian sound with some epic and melancholic references.
The riffs that we will come across in the tracks are dark, monotonous riffs, mainly mid paced with some faster parts, they are simple in their technic and their structure and they are quite repetitive. That repetition, not in the riffs themselves but in the technic and the mentality that they have been created, it becomes quite tedious, while any good ideas that exist are lost inside the huge in duration and badly structured tracks. Also the atmosphere created is not enough to maintain the listener’s interest and to make him overcome the other problems that the album has and I will mention below. The guitars don’t have any mistakes but their sound is lower and quite dirtier than it should have been, making the listen somehow difficult. The bass fills the compositions well but you can’t listen to its lines clearly. However the worst thing, concerning the instruments, is the drum machine. Its sound is fake and it has no depth at all, while its lines are repetitive and tedious.
The vocals are harsh Black Metal vocals, which become heavy-whispering in the more atmospheric parts, they are quite powerful and expressive. The production is very dirty and bassy, so much that in some parts it is difficult to listen to the riffs. The mixture, also, is bad as the drums and the vocals are higher than the guitars and almost in the whole album they draw the listener’s attention. The lyrics are written in French and they are not contained in the promo that I received. If I understand correctly by the titles but also by the style of the tracks, they refer to nature.
"L'ame de la steppe" has a lot of problems both in the quality of the sound and in the drum machine. But the most important problem, I think, is in the compositions. Although there are interesting ideas that with a different approach and view, they could have offered a very interesting result, here they are drowned inside the big tracks and the boring repetition. Loup Noir will have to correct a lot of things in order to get to the point to offer to us something mentionable. You’d better avoid it.