Ars Moriendi - _La Singulière Noirceur d'un Astre_
(Archaic Sound, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (7.5 out of 10)
French one-man band Ars Moriendi (Latin for "the art of dying") has been flying under our radar, even though the prolific artist behind that band name has been active for about fifteen years now -- during which he has released numerous demos and at least an additional couple of full-length albums, _La Singulière Noirceur d'un Astre_ not included.

Ars Moriendi's specific style is slightly hard to pinpoint; it possesses the authentic non-Scandinavian Euro black metal sound, where the metal of black is tainted with death metal chunks of rotting flesh and sonic obesity, but on the other hand it carries a message of transcendence, using ethereal keyboard lines and exquisite song arrangements. Arsonist, the sole musician who pulls the strings of Ars Moriendi's music, also likes to present the listener with fairly straightforward compositions and tried and true riffs alongside some pretty complex musical ideas, fast rhythmic patterns and some volatile progressive rock soundscapes that paint the sonic scenery with some extravagant colors.

The songs are highly engaging due to their melodic basis and their friendliness to the habitual ear, but also because of the unadulterated beauty they occasionally display. Using a method of softening the listener with tranquil keyboard-driven lullabies and then throwing him/her into a turmoil of angst and violence works well for this French gentleman, and works wonders on the innocent listener.

Long and epic tracks, expressing Arsonist's love for good old heavy metal and his fascination with black and progressive metal as well, this album is full of references to metal's origins as well as an insight into what metal music can become, for _La Singulière Noirceur d'un_ Astre_ mirrors the potential that hides within this harsh musical style; this album shows us the massive inventiveness possessed by this style's ambassadors and reminds all the purists out there, that if it's done right, hard 'n' heavy metal music can successfully co-exist with virtually any other musical style and still remain raunchy and violent, and not only that but also become all the more beautiful than its skeletal self.

We highly recommend this album to any open-minded black/dark metal aficionado out there. End of story.


(article published 2/5/2015)

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