With influences across the board, yet black metal at its core, it’s not surprise that we sit here writing about Au Champ Des Morts debut release, a 7″ EP consisting of only two tracks. For all its brevity, Le Jour Se Lève certainly knows how to make an impression. Laced with classic French black metal; thick, swirling chaotic blast beats with treble heavy guitars yet soft enough on the surface to provide for musicianship galore, Le Jour Se Lève is an absolute show stopper. For a year that has been thin on black metal, the pace is certainly picking up thanks, in no small part, to bands like Au Champ Des Morts.
With only two songs, let’s take each one in course. Opening in full bore chaos, it’s apparent that perhaps what sets Au Champ Des Morts apart from similar bands, aside from their guitar playing, is the vocals. The range of Stefan Bayle to affect curdling screams, crystal clear anxious shouts along with his ability to blend with backing choir vocals makes the album an expansive experience. No matter how frantic that backing rhythm section of Cecile G and Wilheim, the vocals soar clearly and emotionally over the chaos.
And then there are the guitars. Somewhere between Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and Pink Floyd resides Migreich’s masterful guitar work. With an ear not only for melody but composition, the guitar lines carry both the more ambient sections of the album. On the title track the guitar works often in conjunction with church bells to create an atmosphere wholly bewitching. Following the atmospheric parts, Migreich proves that he can also soar with the big boys. His solo work is mournful, bluesy and completely intoxicating.
Their second track, the b-side if you will, “Le Sang, La Mort, La Chute” is the longer of the two clocking in at just over eight minutes. It opens in a mournful composition echoing from the caverns of the French countryside. Rolling slowly as the hills of wine country, the track moves slowly, building through layered vocals and soaring guitar lines. This track is the thicker of the two, with atmosphere like a fog creeping in over the hills. Once again, the guitar is on full display as Migreich artfully plays beneath the verses and over the interludes in a solo mode akin to Dixieland where he’s constantly accompanying the track yet still adding inventiveness, surprise and uniqueness.
France has long provided some of the more artistic, experimental and interesting black metal on the planet. While it doesn’t all hit the mark there are many standout bands in the scene that provide inspiration and influence for others around the globe. Le Jour Se Lève is everything that’s great about the French scene. The fearlessness and interwoven emotion among the pure roots of black metal are mistifyingly beautiful. Although only fifteen minutes in run-time, Le Jour Se Lève leaves quite an impression and will be an EP that you spin over and over and over.