Record Label: Acid Vicious
I have the longstanding belief that nowadays, there is more than one scene in Black Metal. You have the one that I will call «mainstream» for lack of a better term, or «surface», which is composed of all the big names you know and which features regularly in the headlines of the magazines: Marduk, Watain, Mayhem, Enslaved and so on… Names so well known that they have managed to cross over and gain some fans in the mainstream Metal World (and even beyond for some of them).
Then you have the middle water, those that lurk below the surface like a hungry shark looking to attack. Known and respected names, but that you find more in fanzines and webzines than in magazines : Horna, Bloodstorm, Ofermod, Malhkebre, Satanic Warmaster…
Then, you have the abyssal depths of the Underground. Musical chasms known only to the most devoted of die-hard fans reside thousand of bands of which you’ve barely if ever, heard the name. Not bad bands, just bands that have never (voluntary or not) crawled out of that forgotten ancient forest far, far away.
Nuit Macabre (i.e. Macabre Night) is one of those bands, that have lurked in the fringes of the French Underground for the past 6 years. Brainchild of one Nyghlfar (whose other projects include interesting DSBM entity Noir Sang and a more classic style in Veine Morte), Nuit Macabre play a Black Metal that is deeply rooted in the atmospheric side of the 90’s. While not as grandiloquent as Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Limbonic Art, or Anorexia Nervosa, Nuit Macabre still master the style eloquently and deliver a nice slab of old-school epic violence.
«Impure» is one of those opening tracks that stay stuck in your mind for hours, the melodic lines being very infectious and the voice of Nyghlfar perfectly adapted to the sound. It’s one of the stand-out tracks with «Perversion De Dieu» and «France Crasse», the last one being definitively my favourite from the bunch. The album is short, clocking at 30 minutes, but I find it better to have a short good record than a longer one with fillers. The riffs are rather classic, but not redundant. And while it’s easy to point out the influences behind Nuit Macabre, the band manages to be more than just a copycat of better names.
A short word must be said about the incredible work of keyboards maestro Julien Hovelaque (who also shine in another great band, L’Eclat Du Déclin): it is easy to sound cheesy in such a genre, most musicians believe that 4 notes stolen to an old 90’s videogame soundtrack are enough to sound «symphonic». This is not the case here, and Julien delivers some stunning parts (like on the instrumental interlude «L’Enfer Sous Terre»). Clearly, the record wouldn’t have been that good with a less talented musician handling those parts.
My note may looks low compared to my words, but it is because I think that Nuit Macabre can do even better in the future. The band is not right now on par with other bands in the genre like Glaciation, Vargrav or Stormkeep, but they are way better than many bands in the genre we had in the late 90s and that, for reasons unknown to me, are still considered good nowadays. If you’re a fan of atmospheric Black Metal and prefer to place your bets on the outsiders instead of the big-known boring names, then give it a try to Nuit Macabre: You won’t regret it.