Décembre Noir – Autumn Kings

3 min read

Band: Décembre Noir
Title: Autumn Kings
Label: Lifeforce Records
Release date: 9 November, 2018
Country: Germany
Format reviewed: vinyl LP

Please allow me to begin by saying that I’ve always had an affinity for doom-metal. Not a mere sub-genre in my opinion, but a very defined genre with a variety of styles incorporating a vast array of motifs and influences, and not only from the metal family, but also from classical music, poetry and soundscapes, among others. A genre that not only existed since the early 70s, but continued to thrive, exploring uncharted realms and dealing with the most poignant emotions. Never stale. Always relevant. Doom-metal took many paths since its Black Sabbath roots, splitting into regional scenes and stylistic divisions. From its very inception, doom-metal dealt with the most pessimistic, dark, melancholic, religious, and even morbid lyrical subjects, with sufficient musical flexibility to crossover with a multitude of other styles and genres/sub-genres. In its development stage in the early 80s we find bands such as Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram and Candlemass, anchored into more traditional heavy-metal. During the mid to late 1980s, the genre branched even more, with the arrival of more extreme styles and crossing over further into underground gothic-rock and post-punk. At every step of the way in the metal evolution, doom-metal advanced, reaching new milestones. The underground metal would not be the same today, without vital contributions from: Cathedral, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Solitude Aeturnus, Winter, and many, many others. Beside the more traditional, epic styles of doom-metal, and the death/black subgenres, such as funeral doom or depressive suicidal doom, also an integral part of the genre we find the hardcore-punk and southern rock influenced sludge, and the stoner/desert currents, heavily impacted by heavy-rock and psychedelic-rock.

DECEMBRE NOIR formed ten years ago, in 2008 in Erfurt, Germany, releasing their full-length debut, “A Discouraged Believer” in 2014, after a couple of lineup changes, followed up in 2016 by their sophomore effort, “Forsaken Earth”. The melodic death/doom outfit just released their third LP, “Autumn Kings”, on November 9th 2018, after signing up with Lifeforce Records.

“Autumn Kings” is crushing. Persistent. Grinding the listener’s senses. Emptying his or her soul. Relentlessly dicing emotions with a surgical precision. A musical opus well captured and effectively delivering very intense feelings. Flawless transitions between frantic picking and ravishing chords, layered over intense, suffocating blast beats and ethereal acoustic passages. The captivating flow being cleverly interrupted by outstanding “stop and go” fills and riffs, adding very dramatic falls to the compositions. Nothing is random, just a very well arranged and produced body of music, purposely revealing its intricate details in an orderly fashion. Further refinement is the vocal style, where the listener is awarded with a dynamic mix of (more typical) growls, morbid desperation and clean delivered vocals. Spoken words naturally boosting the climax as necessary. A blackened edge adds a perceptible effect to the fluidity of the music, taking the already pessimistic sound to new depths. The mid 1990s connection with music from My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost is tangible, however, not veiling any of the authenticity that DECEMBRE NOIR offers on “Autumn Kings”. This album hold its own weight and power. In 2018, a grandiose year for the metal underground, “Autumn Kings” stands up there, with superlative releases such as: Shylmagoghnar “Transience”, Wolfheart “Constellation of the Black Light”, Altars Of Grief “Iris” and Helrunar “Vanitas Vanitatvm”.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

9.5/10 Emil/UHF


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Used by permission. © 2018 by Emil Chiru / UHF