Blurr Thrower - Les Voutes
Les Acteurs de L'Ombre
4 songs (39:04)
Release year: 2021
Label Bandcamp, Les Acteurs de L'Ombre
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

You could start, and indeed write much of the meat of, a review about a band called Blurr Thrower by making bad jokes about how similar its name is to a much-missed British death metal icon. The more traditionally-minded black metal folk will be up in arms about that flowery cover art, even before they realise the name of the band! Yet, as ever, sometimes the rush to raise pitchforks is a little hasty, and even though this French hipster outfit already seem to have changed their name and deleted their Bandcamp (the album is still available on the label Bandcamp and on other streaming services, fear thee not) there's much to like about debut full-length Les Voûtes ("the vaults"). Each of the four pieces here (ranging from four to twelve minutes) is an interesting mix of post-blackened riffing, blasts, drones, screeched vocals, and forays into post-punk and avant-garde territory, such as the droning partway through opener Cachot that leads into atmospheric grandeur, is well-incorporated and, again, interesting.

It's easy to hear 'hipster black metal' and reach for your revolver, but Blurr Thrower have written this album well, avoiding the pitfalls and random experimentations of the Deafheavens and Liturgys of the world in favour of making Les Voûtes into a cohesive experience. A better comparison would be a post-rock act like Godspeed You! Black Emperor for the way that the ambient and noise moments are woven into the blackened gristle of the music, yet Blurr Thrower are very traditional in respect of and for atmosphere, at least. Vocals are Burzum-esque despairing shrieks, the music is tonally dark and wretched, the entire experience is emotion-laden in a way that plenty of more musically conservative black metal acts can't reproduce. The best black metal stabs at your heart as well as your eardrums, and Blurr Thrower have sharpened their tools accordingly.

And it definitely helps that the ambient moments in each piece, particularly the outro to Germes Vermeils and most of Fanes, are treated with respect and made interesting and gripping in their own right rather than merely used as random bits of keyboard noise before the band resume the more 'important' bits. It's hard to summarise ambient music particularly but the pieces here have a sense of import that is difficult to fake, and the way that the band structure them - the sudden drum percussion on Fanes is tremendous, for example - is downright expert and more reminiscent of one of the better ambient sludge acts, something easy to hear from the seamless change into the build into finale Amnios. Here, the tribal-esque drum beats behind the swelling post-metal riffs work perfectly, catching at the heart as well as the ear as the vocals give proceedings an extra air of desperation, then speeding up into an almost symphonic piece of atmospheric blackened melody. And it's so good that your humble reviewer has caught himself listening to it again instead of trying to sum it up in mere words! Better, more knowledgeable writers could wax lyrical about the drumming and the way it manages to be technical and impressive without seizing all attention, or how Tool-y that opening droning riff to Cachot is without actually making the band sound like they're copying MJK et al. A hearty recommendation, whether it deserves to be categorised as black metal or not.

Killing Songs :
All, especially Amnios
Goat quoted 85 / 100
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