Dans les bras des immortels reviews

HanSathanas on September 6th, 2011

Frozen in the Shadows of Immortals

This album without question is simply one of my favorites. I have been waiting for new material from this band but somehow it doesn't seem like there will be any at the moment, so I'm just going to focus on reviewing this masterpiece of cold, remorseless art.

Modern day black metal comes in a lot of different ways. Some choose to remain trve to the roots by eschewing keyboard-driven melancholy while others are experimenting with variable techniques deemed necessary to avoid stagnation. Here we have Frozen Shadows unleashing its debut full length Dans les Bras des Immortels. Without wasting any more time, once the war march has ceased to escalate, Myrkhaal's demonic shrieks begin to take over the spotlight together with ever-amazing guitar riffs. The latter is one of the greatest aspects of this album. What makes it even more magnificent is the minimal use of keyboards. If one listens to this album, the person may as well object to my statement by saying 'keyboard is all over the place!' Really? No, you're wrong! These guys absolutely know what they are doing and they are very good at that. Much like Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, the keyboard stands somewhere between becoming the forefront instrument or just simply shying away from catching one's attention. The good thing about this, especially on this album is the keyboard aids in building up the imperative momentum which serves as thoroughly evil atmosphere, like it's there but not really there. For most of the time, the guitars do an extremely excellent job at maintaining the grim aesthetic while Myrkhaal's keyboard (I believed he is the one who performs all keys) just pushes the riffs all the way up to eleven.

Take for example ...of Pain and Insufferable Torment. This particular song is perhaps the shortest on this album but it is fully packed with highly malevolent execution. You have everything that you need here that may have been absent in black metal bands out there: insanely fast blast beats (thanks, Melkor!) and an overall marvelous drumming ability that shifts from full speed to momentary breaks for a breather, possessed-by-the-Devil kind of vocals, over the top and well performed riffing and finally a cold, mystical atmosphere to add to the package. Another thing that has made this album worth possessing (and listening to, of course!) is the production that doesn't suck at all. In fact, it is one of the reasons which has created strong foundation for Dans Les Bras des Immortels. First of all, the guitars do not get muffled or inadvertently drowned behind the mix. As I have said earlier, they stand out perfectly balanced with other instruments. This covers the drums which go hand in hand with deep resonating bass. How many times does a black metal record have people complaining about not being able to hear the bass? Well, fortunately for Frozen Shadows, they tend to stay away from being too attached with said 'non-glossy' production values by revving up the bass a bit, which to me doesn't hurt at all whenever I listen to it. Therefore, people who have listened to this album will at least have an idea what it entails. Even by just looking at the album cover, you already know Frozen Shadows are up to something, something really great. Yes. The icy cold production is as beautiful as the artwork itself. This, people, is proven strongly on track 6, which is definitely one of the greatest black metal songs in my opinion, Lunes Funebres. Boasting near epic length of over 9 minutes, this song does not disappoint me in any way even remotely. It fades in with some of the best riffs on this album which are backed by mournful keyboard, adding further to its already more-than-perfect composition. 02:50 into the song, the band employs repetitive acoustic passages layered over one another. Of course, this is nothing new for such genre, but the fact that its surreal magnificence outweighs its minimalistic nature is something that is hard for me to ignore. In total, all the tracks have lasting quality that will stand the test of time. The album closes with a rather upbeat cover of Burzum's Black Spell of Destruction. It's not close to the original but its presence is still sought after material.

To sum it up, Frozen Shadows really know how to create quality black metal music, which is something hard to come by these days considering that icy bands are cropping up everywhere. If one happens to encounter this album in its glossy jewel case format, I suggest that person has better grab it before it's too late because in the future, Dans Les Bras des Immortels may not see another reissue. Who knows, you might get the last surviving copy of this excellent mystical art. Alas, it takes them many years to return to the studio and record new material. I'm dying for something new from Frozen Shadows. This, to me, is perfection.

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NH on March 1st, 2008

A Quebecoise Beauty ...

Frozen Shadows are a Black Metal-band from the French-speaking part of Canada: Quebec. That´s perhaps a reason why some of the lyrics are in French while the rest is in English. But of more importance indeed is the music. If I am honest, I've not heard that much this year that caught my attention like this one. Imagine the speed of Immortal's 'Pure Holocaust' combined with Emperor-like keyboards and a bit of Dissection, clothed in typical Nordic production, and you can guess a bit how this album sounds like. No real invention indeed, nevertheless I prefer this native style compared to all those wannabe-innovations like Ulver´s "Metamorposis" or Satyricon's last outputs. And, not to forget, this is very well-composed as well as played, and it has a lot of the feeling that many albums of today lack. For all those, still in the true veins of the Black Metal-movement, this is a must!

Favourite Track: Of Pain And Insufferable Torment

(Originally published in The Purgatory Of Grief 1999-2001 (RIP))

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crazpete on March 27th, 2004

cold grim excellent

An outstanding release of excellent black metal in the old style drawing influences from Darkthrone, Kvist, Emperor, Shade, Taake, Burzum, and such high-quality acts.

'Dans les Bras des Immportels' is a sharpened spear of aural hate without being overly simple. They do use keyboards, but they are tastefully withdrawn and minimalistic in the mix of the songs, similar to Emperor's early work or Xasthur's later albums. The songs are agressive with fast drumming and a consistent buzzing of whirling guitars, which can compete with any european 'true' release with grace. The occasional keyboard and guitar break keep the album from being monotonous, and the vocals are above par in thier depiction of classic black metal hate. A 'wall-of-shifting-noise' approach seems to be evident is an analysis of the structure of this album, in a sense similar to Xasthur or Shining and similar dense suicidal bands. However, there are occasional arpeggiated melodies of minor and aeolian nature keeping a simple but dark hue to the tone of the album.

Easily one of the best black metal bands to come out of Quebec, and possibly one of the best currently active, they are an excellent hope of newer black metal not having lost all sense of the dark atmosphere it once commanded.

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Dans les bras des immortels track list

1Dans les bras des immortels09:23
2Forsaken Whispers04:17
3Beyond the Pallid Vales07:31
4Of Pain and Insufferable Torment04:14
5Au seuil des ténèbres04:30
6Lunes funèbres09:52
7Under Horrid Skies07:38

Dans les bras des immortels lineup

NamtarDrums, Bass, Guitars (acoustic)
AlvaterGuitars, Lyrics
MyrkhaalVocals, Keyboards