The French post-black metal duo Vous Autres soar on their new album Sel de Pierre, which is available now via Season of Mist.
The album presents a pristine-sounding and even somewhat cinematic post-black metal, without any major sacrifice of heaviness. The record’s frequently big and booming riffs carry a kind of monumental weight, and there’s frequently a feeling that diving in to the album has suddenly transported the listener to some kind of regal procession in hell. There’s a grandeur to the songs, with an energetic majesty in the riffs — and at the same time, Sel de Pierre carries an undercurrent of viscous, churning bleakness, established in elements like the frequently pummeling (although not at all inaccessible) drum rhythms. Vous Autres also repeatedly roll out staggeringly low basslines — “Vesuve,” for instance, which begins with scattered drum rhythms, falls into some of these thick and deeply resonating basslines, which feel like musical quicksand.
Sel de Pierre also features some prominent synth contributions. “Ecueil,” for instance, hinges on a chilly synth rhythm, and so does the album’s closing track, the almost four-minute long “Nitre.” The synths deliver cohesive energy — the somewhat shiver-inducing and richly developed yet restrained synth beats feel like another stop on the album’s journey rather than a garnish. The album, as a whole, features a genuinely expansive-feeling and ultimately powerful sound, as if Vous Autres have truly created or captured an entire world for listeners to step into.
Song structure-wise, there’s not much overt chaos here, which helps each powerful element feel like it’s building the same direction, as if the album carries the sound of a bleak and otherworldly palatial procession. There’s also frequently some breathability in the rhythms; there’s not an overabundance of blast beats, and some of the riffing feels slow and restrained. There are some occasional elements that feel inflected with prog, but the energy isn’t a sideshow. Rather, it’s quickly subsumed by the whole. “Onde,” for instance, features a couple of segments of erratic, staggering rhythms surrounded by dirge-like yet skyscraping vibes.
Meanwhile, towering riffs in the closing segment of “In Humus” carry a monumental, majestic weight. There, and elsewhere, there’s a vibrant drama in the songs. At the album’s frequently steady, stern pace, Vous Autres swing majestically across the sonic spectrum, with heaviness and ambiance swept up in the band’s whirlwind.
Listen to Sel de Pierre below!