- 1.De sang et de brouillard09:33
- 2.Au bout du tunnel: La nuit et la neige09:19
- 3.Que les corbeaux forgent la tempête09:53
- 4.Le passage aux fleurs08:36
- 5.Brûle, prairie de roses09:15
- 6.Quand le cornu moissonera09:45
Stromptha is an one man band, formed in Greenland in 2009 and later moved to France. The first five years of the project were not as productive as the following ones, as the band managed to release its first EP in 2015. Since then J, the multi – instrumentalist behind Stromptha, has released a split, a demo and two full length albums. Endura Pleniluniis is the second full length album of the band, firstly released as an independent release, maybe for demo purposes, in digipak CD format limited to 75 copies in 21st June 2020 and simply named “Endura”. The version that I received is the second one, released in 24th March 2020 by Satanath Records and Pest Records in CD format limited to 500 copies, with new mastering and sound as stated in the booklet. The album contains six tracks of overall duration of about fifty-seven minutes. The artwork is beautiful, presenting parts of a handmade drawing in a comic-like style. In the cover you can see a part of that drawing, showing a cold, dead forest and the moon above illuminating the night. Inside the CD, you will see the rest of the painting, a half dead – half alive elf-like girl with a third eye in the forehead looking at you. By the artwork, although you can’t be sure of what to expect, you get into a cold, melancholic, maybe nostalgic mood.
The album is divided into two parts with three tracks each and the differences between the two parts are obvious but not foreign to the general style of the band. The music that Stromptha present in the first part is atmospheric, melodic with various fast outbursts, there are strong references to gothic, especially regarding the clean, deep vocals and the atmospheric passages. The feelings and the atmosphere created in these songs are depressing and pessimistic, giving a bittersweet, melancholic result. In the second part, the goth – rock and post – punk influences become stronger, I also recognized that some electro-industrial references blend in. Here, the Black Metal style is hidden in some more depressing passages and bridges. I guess that the intention of the artist, in the first half of the album, is to present the harsh and depressing scenery that he is trapped into and how he fights to get out of it, while in the second one, he has accepted his fate and his feelings are transformed and now they have a more melancholic and bittersweet taste.
Regarding the sound, the album has a warm, bassy production, the mixture is quite flat highlighting the guitars while the rest of the instruments have a quite fuzzier sound. The keys are somewhere in the background, supporting the atmosphere, the bass is almost absent, whereas the drums have a nice, deep sound and their lines are minimalistic, with interesting changes. The guitars, both the electric and the acoustic ones, have a very passionate performance giving the intensity needed by the compositions. The vocals are harsh Black Metal in the darker, more violent parts and clean deep ones in the more melancholic ones reminding of Fields of the Nephilim. The lyrics are written in French and they are contained in the booklet. By the few things I managed to understand, they are dark poems speaking about life, depression and nature.
I am quite hesitant with Endura Pleniluniis. On one hand, there are a lot of interesting ideas, some really catchy riffs and the instruments’ performance is good. On the other hand, the tracks are quite long, so sometimes you lose focus or rarely you get bored and the divided character of the music may become an issue. In conclusion, I think that the band has potential and despite their mistakes, the album has a lot to offer to the listener. Surely, this is not suitable for someone who wants to listen to pure Black Metal, but if you are into other genres of dark, depressing music and you like mixing different styles, you will absolutely appreciate this album.