HDR - 017 : netra - Mélancolie Urbaine
Released: December 16th, 2010
Details: Pro-Manafactured-CD, 4 page booklet/standard jewel case - Limited to 1000 Copies
Genre: Extreme Metal, Trip-hop, Rock
From: The Werkshed
Published: January 6th, 2011
It seems over time, even the most diverse of genres eventually will reach a point of creative stagnation, and while dedicated fans will always find the good in many releases thereafter, skeptics such as myself will perpetually long for change. This wouldn’t be such a problem if innovation was as easy as fusing two things together. Unfortunately many acts will in turn capitalize on this false notion and try to mix water and oil by taking two or more genres of music that alone are perfectly acceptable but do not share complimentary characteristics that make such fusion acceptable. While at first the general public might praise these as something new, (such as the abysmal rap rock styles that dominated the late 90s and early millennium) eventually the popularity wanes as people realize it is too gimmicky and stale. Instead of progress we suffer listening to musical regress.
That being said there are always cases where acts can do one of three things. They can completely create a brand new genre. This being the most revolutionary, was common place in the formation of modern music, but with many genres and subgenres in existence today is very difficult to do. Also uncommon but more likely is an artist reinventing a specific genre’s foundation. The rise of progressive rock acts in the 60s and 70s is a prime example of this. Finally more common would be an artist who incorporates various stylistic influences particularly well. Experimentation and understanding of music concepts is key to this, and like mixing different foods, the result can be hit or miss. A smart musician will make note of what works and what does not, and continue from there.
Through all this I am left with a depressive black metal band called “netra.” The name derives from an old Breton word loosely translating too “emptiness” and this one man project from France offers us a musical styling that fits somewhere between the latter two options from those three forms of progression I’ve mentioned. Intelligently and organically this artist takes a primary influence from doom and black metal and incorporates influences from gothic rock, various jazz genres, blues rock, and downtempo electronica genres such as trip-hop. While other acts would fail miserably to incorporate such fusions in a natural, meaningful and mature way and simply take the quick way out by cashing in on a cheap gimmick, netra differentiates himself by putting a lot of thought and effort into creating a truly unique and groundbreaking creation, that while experimental in nature developed a distinct sound which is key to critical acclaim in any artistic endeavor. With the debut full length Mélancolie Urbaine seven depressive and meditative tracks await listeners with almost forty two minutes of progressive music experience.
This monumental release begins with “City Lights.” From the opening listeners will question if they are actually listening to a metal release as a trip hop rhythm welcomes us into the harsh inner city lifestyle accompanied by thought provoking nü-jazz saxophone plug-ins. In fact no metal is to be found until over two minutes into the track when a cold power chord crashes in accompanied by the painful wail of a black metal shriek. The passage doesn’t last too long as the contemplative acid jazz returns further soundtracking the nature of metropolitan life. Another couple minutes and the black metal really takes it’s toll; swaying back and forth between depressive angst and melancholic downtempo and ambiance. The whispers and screaming accompanying this art only further explore esoteric reflections and suffering within urban decay.
To follow up this solid opener the most accessible track of the release finds us in “La Page.” While still relating to the sound that defines Mélancolie Urbaine there is a slight shift to a more gothic rock inspired release. Humming feedback along with shimmering ambient notation greets an intrusive drum beat rather intimately as this magnificent piece slowly builds up into an epic outcry of mournful rage almost in protest of the very nature of modern society. As the metal sound returns we reach the climax of the emotion which over time fades to a more somber tone. “… I lost my family, I lost my friends, I lost my love… nothing left but memories, false moments…” these are very simple lyrics but so effective. The song then builds up again and crashes into grief to conclude. If the listener is weaning himself into the netra sound, this one is the best song to start with.
The follow up tune, “Outside… Alone” keeps the gothic inspiration though heavily incorporates 12/8 blues patterns to offer the most saddening track of the release. This one is also the longest as it clocks in over nine minutes. While the bass drives repetitiously the listener is greeted to a solid blues rock guitar lead, which keeps things interesting. As this passage fades the bass changes and guitar feedback drives in as a tough spoken word from The Wackness. “Never trust anyone who doesn’t smoke pot and listen to Bob Dylan.” The voice builds up in exasperation as the guitars transition gradually from mere distorted chords to melodic passages. “Stop fucking around…” the voice goes into a panic, and then fades out to the sounds of seagulls by the ocean as the guitars while still distorted mellow out dramatically. Trip-hop singing then comes in as the music slows to a halt just momentarily. The music continues without field recordings and results in a much more anxious sorrow to slowly bring us to the electronic closing of this mature work.
“Through the Fear” is next up and brings the trip-hop rhythms back in. This time with Tricky inspired bass and piano rhythms met with a similar distorted timbre in the background as track two. We are met with chill-out style singing and eventually downtempo trance textures that cacophonously (in an appropriate sense) fuse with more black metal chords and suicidal cries. The singing doesn’t leave at this time either. Listeners upon leaving this passage will find a variation of the opening theme and more somber expression of yearning eventually heading back to the blackened doom metal inspired refrain. We are met with an ambient bridge of more spoken word which pivots into blues rock and more of this Tricky inspired trip-hop piano to bring us to the refrain one final time. We end the track with the phrase from the Johnny Depp film, The Brave, “watching a painful death can be a great inspiration for those who, who are not dying, so that they can see how, brave we can be when it’s time to go.”
“Terrain Vague” is a short little interlude. Nonetheless it has a great alternative rap beat to fit the mood of urban lifestyles.
It then enters “Outside… Maybe” and of all the tracks has the largest depressive black metal influence on the release. With the exception of the prior piece, this is also the shortest being only about four minutes long. While the black metal riffs play throughout with a downing lead crying every now and then, the electronica does not entirely leave the piece as ambient textures hide in the background.
Finally the album ends with the closing song “Blasé.” This piece exalts the jazz inspiration of netra to its highest level thus far. The rhythm seems very much like Dixieland shuffle notation wise, though in a strange but welcomed twist the tempo is very slow and we are only met with the slow throb of bass tones on the down beat. Piano eventual accompanies this as the lead, in a slow and dismal melody. In closing the music cuts with a low and dark tone played every other measure. Quietly a voice speaks and eventually breaks into whimpers as the tones continue. Concluding the album a scream of anguish followed by a slam, results in silent nothingness.
In my honest opinion of everything I have heard this album is the best release of the 2010 year not only in metal music but music in general. There is never a dull moment and as mentioned this Quimpérois solo project did the unlikely and gave us an experiment that hits and truly breaks new ground for music in general, almost redefining the genre of black metal. Not only does it stand above anything of the previous year, but this has secured a spot in my favorite albums of all time. I must thank not only the artist but Hypnotic Dirge Records for helping me discover this modern classic. For such a small label, they release some of the most underrated CDs in metal today, and this is no exception. As one may already assume I highly recommend this release, not only to metal fans, but eclectic music fans in general. Be one of the 1000 copyholders, you won’t be disappointed and for $13 ($15 outside of North America) it is well worth the investment. You can order it here: http://hypnoticdirgerecords.com/netra-melancolieurbaine-tobuy.php
Reviewed by; Matt Coughlin
From: Thre Noodies
www.threnodies.com Published: January 9th, 2011
I promised something exotic on last wednesday, but couldn’t offer more than their origin. Today I’m going to provide something more exotic as redemption, although his origin isn’t really surprising in terms of black metal these days (because it’s “just” another artist from france), but his music really is something special and not just the same old thing others may provide. Interested? Read on!
The first thing to mention might be information for everyone who’s already familiar with Netra: Although the album is named Mélancolie Urbaine it has nothing to do with his second demo, which had the same name.
The second thing to mention is information for everyone who’s not familiar with Netra, as introduction for the mentioned special sound, because it’s really something different from normal black metal. To be exact, his music could be described as a hybrid of black metal and trip hop influences, with a peak on the trip hop side. As not everyone may know trip hop, I’m going to give a very short describtion: Trip hop is an electronic style of music with slow, hip hop like, beats/rhythms which often uses samples or vocals.
But how exactly does black metal elements combine with something like trip hop? City Light, the first track, shall function as example. The song starts with longdrawn synthesizersounds and an electronic drumbeat, similiar to most of the hip hop beats which are creating a melancholic atmosphere. This atmosphere is accomplished when the first scream and rhythmic guitar riffs are kicking in. After a short melodic interlude, the high pitched growls and rhythmic guitar sounds are amplifying the atmosphere as they build first verse of the song. After another short shift from verse to interlude and vice versa the constellation from the beginning is taking it’s toll on the song and kicks in again to end it.
La Page as the second song provides a sharp contrast. The first two minutes are dominated by a drumrhythm accompanied by a retro (as in good old computergames!) sounding electronic melody and some synthies in the background. After those two minutes Netra starts to growl, accentuated with some minimalistic guitar riffs and an amplified synthesizermelody. The song ends after a spoken passage, followed by another set of growls. Really an exceptional song!
Outside…Alone, Through the Fear and Terrain Vague really aren’t songs for hardcore black metal fans, as they highly focus on the trip hop side. The next time the black metal influences can take their toll is in the second to last song Outside…Maybe in form of a long lasting, humming black metal riff that adumbrates the general electronic drumbeats and melody. The outro called Blasé isn’t presenting much aside from a slow drumbeat and some scattered melodies.
The production is crystal clear, what eventually could be traced back to the high use of electronic sounds and the embedded simplicity they bring. The composition is abounded with dynamic and organic sounds. The combination of trip hop and black metal influences is done fluently and without any flaw.
Netra surely is an exceptional phenomenon in the modern world of music, because it’s very rare that artists have the courage to leave the well trodden paths of their genres. I wouldn’t label Mélancolie Urbaine as black metal without some reservations, because the use of black metal influences is well chosen and therefore the trip hop side prevails. The combination of the black metal influences with trip hop sounds is, nevertheless, really compelling and the seldom used lead melodies with intensified blues influences are the icing on the cake. If you would consider yourself as incapable of listening to an increased electronic amount of music you should steer clear of Netra, but if you are able to give those influences access to you, you will experience something you never experienced before! If you’re unsure, you should consider listening to the songs on Netra’s Myspacesite!
Reviewed by: Daniel Dervaric
From: Funeral Rain Zine
Published: January 19th, 2011
For most people, hearing this album might result in a big “what the fuck?” Literally, there is trip-hop on this album. Mixed with depressive black metal. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. This is definitely the most unique BM release I’ve heard in awhile, and it’s something that I’m going to be listening to for awhile too. Things being as they are, I honestly don’t know if this is a good review, simply because I’m still trying to digest the album. Either way, what I’ve heard so far I love. It’s actually something FRESH and it’s actually BLACK METAL. Two things that don’t always go hand in hand unless you’re a fringe band on the furthest reaches of black metal, and this definitely is one such band. If you think you’ve got the balls to try something really new and you’re a black metal fan, check out Netra. Mélancolie Urbaine is a fucking win. For fans of Alcest, Ausserwelt, Les Discrets… wait a minute… these are all French bands! Hm. Maybe there’s your hint.
Reviewer: Dustin Wade
From: Funeral March Magazine
www.myspace.com/funeralmarchzine Published: Funeral March Magazine; Issue #7
This is a French one man band, the sound is rather hard to describe. The styles mixed together creates a rather unique sound, it all creates a dark atmosphere that absorbs your senses. The sound is also rather depressive and the cold darkness is mixed with a more modern sound as well, with some entrancing beats. All songs follow the same pattern and makes this a very solid album, the lust of experimenting does not make it go in different directions, it makes it even deeper and the result is something beautiful, something dark, cold and sometimes spine shivering. I really like when persons are able to create something that isn't just "standard music". Netra brakes borders and does not seem afraid of walking on an own path. France has given us a bunch of great bands/artists lately, it is now time to put another name on that list. Netra has hereby released a great album!
From: Metal Reviews
v2.metalreviews.com Published: January 20th, 2011
This experimental one-man project from Quimper, France, is shrouded in the same gloomy intrigue as the nocturnal urban landscape that comprises the album cover. Despondent electronica, panicky and aggressive voice samples, and depressive black metal ambiance blend together like a haze of city smog settling on deserted streets. Mélancolie Urbaine is a relentlessly curious record, in which a host of influences collide in a strikingly coherent way, though anybody approaching it looking for a metallic fix will end up disappointed.
The first track here, City Lights, is a fiendishly clever composition, hypnotic and puzzling, and I think perhaps sets up a standard that the rest of the album doesn’t quite match. It is a seamless (or, as seamless as you could hope for) fusion of trip-hop and funeral doom, as improbable as that may sound, opening with a neat jam of laid-back electronic beats and a funky but sinister bass guitar riff, misted over by ambient noise (police sirens) and gravelly synths. But then, instead of forming the basis for some kind of downbeat jam session, a sickly layer of croaking, Nortt-like guitar distortion bleeds into the sound, imposing a thoroughly odd juxtaposition. At first it seems surreal and awkward, but, something about the similarly glowering mood of each element, or the fact that the tempos and tonalities of crawling doom and soporific electronica mesh so tightly together, make this a convincing hybrid.
Throughout the rest of the album this eclecticism remains a defining characteristic, but we never really lose touch with the dour introversion of this opening. La Page at times feels slightly unconvincing, with a weakly ticking drum sound setting up a sort of jazz waltz, replete with wavering vocals. But even where elements don’t entirely work, they are just about glued into a coherent work of art by this consistent sense of mood. Here, a grimy guitar solo, buzzing blackened guitar tones, and a ranting sample from Ben Kingsley in The Wackness are overlaid to make a suitably mysterious piece of post-rock. Similarly, the ballad-like Through the Fear only deepens the grimly enigmatic aura with its sustained organ tones and distant shrieking vocals that lurk deep in the background.
Despite the promotional material labelling this as ‘depressive black metal’, that remains merely one element of a much more eclectic whole. Penultimate track Outside… Maybe is the closest the record comes to shifting these components to the foreground (save the harrowing closer Blase), but even here its thin, straining tremolo dirge is polluted by alien sounds, including a looping harmonica lick that seems almost mocking. Because of its variety it is a mixed bag, with some moments feeling noticeably weaker than others. But, the downbeat, smoky mood it creates and holds throughout gives it coherence as a profoundly dark urban landscape.
Reviewer: Charkes Umney
From: Alternativ Musik
www.alternativmusik.de Published: January 24th, 2011
***This is a google translated version of a German review. You can read the original HERE
People, people everywhere around you. They surround you, they go past you, they are everywhere, but they do not perceive, because you're one of them. In a crowd in the city you are only anonymous, surrounded by people and yet alone. Anonymous and unnoticed, then the dirt and the crime, the cold lights of the city, the traffic noise, traffic jams - all crippling one, worn out one and you just want one thing: Get out! Away from all of it! So it is. The ugliest side of city life. And exactly this page is devoted to Melancolie Urbaine . Depressing and at the same time, musical beauty that feeds from a variety of genres.
To describe what you actually hear on Melancolie Urbaine is to describe, as probably the very title: A sad picture of city life, somewhere in the Black Metal to find its backbone, but even this is because if slow saxophone or a piano appears, must be the doom of drilling and the Jazz Club of Gore think of. La Page is more reminiscent of '80s rock with oscillating keyboards, and then cries of despair, the riffing lost in the Black Metal. Getting lost is already a good point: How nested like the streets of the city, this album and you feel lost among all the possible influences: sometimes purely electronic beats, then lounge music, then rock passages, chanson-like singing, then screaming. All the elements mix and suddenly disappear to remind the gangster movie soundtrack and you're standing in ice-cold Black Metal, coupled with a piano that plays Blues, as in Outside ... maybe .
Disorientation and isolation are the red threads that hold together this album. Everything else seems to serve only those feelings and so Netra uses a pool of different genres, as long as they carry these feelings and make the city a face life, which one seems to wear down his teeth. The result is impressive and frightening.
Reviewer: Tristan Osterfeld
From: Blastbeat Magazine
www.blastbeat.nl Published: January 25th, 2011
***This is a google translated version of a Dutch review. You can read the original HERE
Netra is a one-man project from Quimper, Brittany. After two demos that derive from the years '05 and '06, this is the first feature film of Mr. Netra . A total playing time of 41:52 makes this picture a pleasant time.
City Lights is the first edition of Lord Netra . The album starts electronically and makes me more like a new-age album than a metal album. I must therefore very temperatures when the CD spins for the first laps. An interesting mix that makes this French guy. The electronics are interspersed with funeral doom with a synthesizer as spherical undertone.
The music of Netra has something mysterious. Something bad. The song is quite emotive and meets the criteria''depressed''and''desperate'' The music sometimes even makes me think of bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure. These are absolutely no annoying bands, but Netra brings in a very strange way. One way that I know actually difficult to place in my musical range.
The guitar tones are monotone and the drums are no more than minimal. This album is a very odd duck in the bite. Nevertheless, it held my attention by certain elements in the music. Think of the very desperate and shrill vocals. Think guitar and thinking of the samples that are processed in the music.
Netra makes a nice mix of electronic and metal music. A nice contrast between hard and soft. A nice variety of instruments. Netra brings an album that is unique in its kind. Not for everyone, the French cuisine
www.schwarze-news.de Published: January 27th, 2011
***This is a google translated version of a German review. You can read the original HERE
There are many netra on the Internet: the Town of Ringwood, a North German Gas transversal, or a band, black metal and trip hop united. "The combined WHAT?" Hard-core will be dropped now.
That's right, and this combination makes netra's case even more sense because it is collective, founded in 2003 in his music to the retreat of the natural and urban depression, and so makes the trip hop aspect of really good here. A special feature is there for this album: It was actually recorded before 5 years already, and is now with the contract signing with Hypnotic Dirge Records releases.
Hypnotic is also the first song on " Mélancolie urbaine , "because of the name" City Light "stops. It begins with a recording of police sirens and a very slow piano piece held. In general is slow or lethargic or sluggish pace of the dominant disk. At the beginning triphopst an electric drum around between the piano sounds, but from the second minute final is funny, and in dopppelten senses: the screamer of the band shows us, from which it is made, the acoustic drum sets dynamically equal to 5 levels at once, the guitars and the piano took over.
Overall, give yourself a chance with netra, the two dominant elements of style - Black Metal, Trip Hop - crash into one another without brakes as nature and city. Then the pace then pulls something, but is still rather moderate. To top it sounded as a garage band a Depeche Mode album would run in the background, but "La Page" unfolds only after repeated listening, his raspy charm. And so it is actually more on the rest of the album, again and again by shred guitar boards synth carpets, the vocals are clean sometimes, sometimes quite simply shouting. Only the closing track "blase" which stands out even from a little by building a darkly melancholic mood, as they almost minimalist could not be. The ultimate end is the worst consequence of the "Mélancolie urbaine" - the suicide. One could assume a sort of story behind within the album, which is composed of the individual snippets in the plays, but this would still be very choppy and incomplete, so I will not attempt a possible interpretation.
No question, what netra achieved here is art at the highest level. And that's why the material was probably from me trouble in the ear canal bogged down. However, one should perform the music of the group in any case to heart, it is thought-provoking and is sometimes even more relaxing. That it is still created at very early times the band, a very good album.
www.metal.de Published: January 29th, 2011
***This is a google translated version of a German review. You can read the original HERE
A very special solo project is NETRA from France. Founded in 2003, now is the debut album "Melancolie Urbaine", with which the Netra, the pseudonym of the man behind the project, set between two stools. For what we Steven Le Moan, as he was born, here set before, should have any blinders thinkers weghören disgusted.
netra are Black Metal, but that's only half the story. Skillfully is here depressivste variant of this style, combined with trip hop and ethereal post-rock. Sounds crazy, but it is so, and it also makes sense. For at least the dark mood is consistently mentioned in these genres. In the case of the NETRA set to music sadness and despair also sound really authentic, you feel in the city life at its ugliest, most hideous side mixed with dark, dirty streets, drab buildings, traffic noise, anonymous people everywhere.
Continuous slow rhythms shape the course of "melancholy Urbaine", which increase but also to inflate its mid-tempo. First came the hypnotic "City Lights" - who does not know the cold lights of the city - with drum machines, samples, piano sounds, and only after 2 minutes of gradual onset desperate cries real dynamic drums, distorted guitars and whispering. A truly dark, deeply sad cacophony. No, the city lights illuminate the protagonists do not really. The following "La Page" in turn draws its basic structure more like 80s, Wave Rock, has oscillating electric keyboards and drums, before also here to join abruptly keifiger Screaming vocals and floating-discordant riffs. This is also the first time clearly sung with a warm voice, if only briefly, but it fits perfectly to the play. Described in the style of songs goes on the album. Electrobeats change brands Trip Hop with rock / metal rhythms from the drums, ambient synth soundscapes and samples with distorted riffs be guitars, guitar solos, which breathe a little bit jazz, and the song changes from whisper to clear up to hoarse despair cries. In order to even venture a few musical comparisons, I throw here FORGOTTEN TOMB, KATATONIA, SHINING, MANES AND DRILLING AND THE CLUB OF GORE in the room.
A little one feels overwhelmed and lost between all this. Like the city overwhelmed with massive buildings, or their sheer size, how individuals in the crowd of the many roads wandered aimlessly, so does "Melancholy Urbaine" on the phone, sometimes bewildering, sometimes overwhelming musical wandering between different style means, but without to lose the thread.
,/br> netra is not music for the masses, this much is clear. Rather, appears with "Melancolie Urbaine" an album of musical individualists to be able to withdraw their tormented soul with which those melancholy, lethargic sound worlds in peace, to lick wounds. Depression set to music, and yet so beautiful.
From: The Inarguable Blogspot
www.theinarguable.blogspot.com Published: January 29th, 2011
'Forward thinking music' is a statement that is every bit as much cliché as it is pinned on artists undeserving of said statement. However, once in a great while, there comes along an artist who makes no mistake in making it clear how deserving they are of the title.
netra has not only disregarded the fad of 'shoegaze/post-punk black metal' in its modern-black metal venture, but has gone into territories not often chartered by bands of genres even related to black metal.
Trip hop? Maybe a tad bit of lounge?
With many samples, differing vocal patterns, and consistently interesting percussive patterns, what we are treated to is a bleak storyline expressed through music. As depressing as it is musically enlightening, this series of tracks not only branches abroad the 'experimental black metal' territory, but somehow remains INTERESTING and ENJOYABLE. A very difficult feat to accomplish. Too often, 'experimental' means 'jumbled'. However, I am proud to report that this is not the case on this wonderful, well-thought-out, and masterful album.
Do. Not. Miss. This. Album.
Reviewer: Elan O'Neal
From: Lords of Metal
www.lordsofmetal.nl Published: January 31st, 2011
Netra is a French one-man band and 'Mélancolie Urbaine’ is he title of this debut. Netra essentially makes ambient music but also use depressive black metal elements, jazz and trip-hop. The whole thing could be called pretty original. The trip-hop music provides a clear urban character, while the keys generate a melancholy feeling. The album has therefore been given a very fitting title. I would describe the album in its entirety as a cross between between Ulver (‘Perdition City’), Shining, and recent Manes. Unlike many other ambient groups Netra knows to keep your attention. ‘Mélancolie Urbaine' is a very interesting record for people who besides metal also care for other types of music.
Reviewer: Roel de Hann
From: Lunar Hypnosis Blogspot
www.lunarhypnosis.blogspot.com Published: February 10th, 2011
Someone has probably already kicked off a review of this album saying something similar to what I'm about to say, but, what the hell, I'm going to say it regardless. So, have you ever wondered what Norway's Ulver might have sounded like had they not fully delved into the world of electronic music after, 'Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' and had brought some of the bands initial black metal influences along with them for the ride that was, 'Perdition City?' As it turns out, Quimper, Brittany, France solo project, Netra may have a partial answer for you.
Netra is a trip hop band with black metal influences...
...now, wait just a moment. Does that make sense?
What time is it? Where am I? What's with that guy on the corner over there staring at me? And what the fuck is trip hop anyway?
Well, Wikipedia says, "Trip hop is a music genre consisting of downtempo electronica fused with hip-hop beats until neither genre is recognizable."
To my ears Netra sounds like a fair mix between Ulver's classic, 'Perdition City' release and perhaps a band like Massive Attack plus with the seamless blending of heavy doomy raw sounding black metal riffs. And here's the thing that's gonna get ya! It actually works, and it works well!
Each song tends to carry a depressive and mysterious tone to it and it sort of offers up the feeling of traveling through a large well lit city on a rainy night, and although a rare experience for me I can't help but bring up this comparison. It's like you're surrounded by something big, bold and possibly beautiful, but you ache inside, you're tired, fed up with life, you hate your boss, your girlfriends a bitch and you just want to go home, rest and forget the world ever existed. This is the feeling this album gives me.
It's impressive the way a lot of the songs start with very typical electronic trip hop elements, programmed percussion, samples, cleanly sung vocals, but then suddenly things shift dramatically towards a funeral doom/black metal sound with raspy screaming vocals, ominous bass guitar, occasional blasting on the drums, but then again sometimes everything is blended perfectly too.
It's hard for me to pick a favorite from this release as its all quite diverse and engaging, but the first song, 'City Lights' is exceptional and I just adore the way this nameless creator of interesting music grabs two genres that have absolutely no relation and have no business being together and makes it work. 'Through the Fear' is another standout and in my opinion the catchiest song on, 'Mélancolie Urbaine,' while, 'Outside...Maybe' is Netra at its finest once again.
I must point out, however, that Netra is a trip hop band first, and a black metal band second. Meaning, if you have issues with electronic music this release might not hit home with you instantly or if even at all. However if you're the sort of black metal listener that appreciates innovative and adventurous music then this might just be the release for you.
Reviewer: Joe Mlodik
From: Nocturnal Cult Webzine
www.nocturnalcult.com Published: February 10th, 2011
Dark city streets, deserted, with the pale light of streetlamps forming islands within this desolation. That's the image I get when I listen to French depressive black metallers, Netra. Trip-hop beats and solemn textures flow out of my speakers as City Lights gets underway. Isolated guitar strikes against a backdrop of sparse synth create a depressive mood as the track continues. Strained shrieks, somewhat like Malefic of Xasthur add to the despair. A rolling tribal beat serves as the harbinger of the 80s New Wave/black metal hybrid that greets us on La Page, it makes me think of Varg being the primary songwriter for Flock of Seagulls. Hints of blues and jazz surface during the sultry track, Outside Alone. The song makes use of an extended sample of two people having a discussion which parallels shimmering white noise riffing. Sorrowful piano lays the foundation for the subdued trip-hop of Through The Fear. A lonely blues guitar solo stands out as Piano dances behind it. Perhaps the most blatant track on the album to me is Terrain Vague with its ominous Portishead beat and sampled female voice, exclaiming "endless fucking." The whole feeling of New Wave influence as seen through a Burzum window permeates Outside...Maybe. A methodical bass guitar and washed out riffing catch a New wave melody on their fringe. Melancolie Urbaine takes on a more black metal vision of what modern Manes were doing. Electronic beats and unusual instrumentation fornicate slowly with suicidal black metal to drain hope from your body and refill it with gritty despair.
Reviewer: Bradley Smith
www.doommantia.com Published: February 22nd, 2011
The first thing to mention when it comes to Netra is they are not really black-metal as advertised nor has it got much to do with doom-metal but it is strange, ambient, interesting to a point and certainly dark. Netra is a French one-man band that throws in musical styles as diverse as ambient to electronic to trip hop to atmospheric doom but whether any of this works too well is for you to decide. I will point forward my 5 cents worth but honestly, I can see some people finding this electic blend of styles interesting where as others, myself included will find it nothing short of irritating. Listening to it with a open-mind however, I can hear some value to this rather awkward musical experiment. The opening track, "City Lights" is one part intriguing, one part confusing. Starting with long drawn synthesizer sounds, electronic drum beats and samples, the atmosphere is stark but urban. Sounding like a mix of trip-hop, funeral doom and ambient noise is awkward but somehow hypnotic and the sinister bass and guitar elements give the track a very deadly vibe. Samples of police sirens only adds to the chilling ambience of the track but as I have always hated electronic drums, I found it to be a bit irritating over the course of its 7 minutes. The problem is, I found this to be the albums highpoint.
The next 2 tracks, "La Page" and the overly long "Outside...Alone" failed to excite me with its minimalistic guitar riffs and synthesizer melodies. The fact that the drums sound like something from a 1980's computer game didn't help either. I admire the experimentation and some of the melancholy produced but it largely sounds like eclecticism gone haywire to me but each to their own. Songs like "Through the Fear" wont do much for the black metal fan either as it leans towards the trip-hop side of the musical spectrum which is what I would have thought to be the complete antithesis of what black metal is all about. It does however blend in some grim organ tones and distant shrieking vocals which adds bleakness to the track and this largely saved the tune for me. The rest of the album follows a similar path and didn't impress me much both from a musical point of view and from the ambient angle. I have always never hidden the fact that I don't like hip-hop or what they call trip-hop music and blending it with ambient blackened noise has never done anything for me. One thing is for sure though, this is very original and unique but sample the tracks on Myspace first before buying this as you may be left wondering 'what the hell have I just bought.' Electic but a blending of styles that left me cold.
From: Pest Webzine
http://pestwebzine.ucoz.com/ Published: February 28th, 2011
To be honest I was eagerly expecting to receive this material from Hypnotic Dirge Records because I listened to a bit of it before and I was mesmerized by the music on it, and I'm not dispointed at all about the whole material. It's not every day you get to listen to a combination of Black Metal and Trip Hop, correct? Well, netra does that combination and the result is very unique and original, a depressive jurney through urban landscapes, the perfect music for this album title. Although it has its repetitive moments, netra manages to keep your attention to its peak. So what we get here is: clean vocals combined with Depressive Black Metal screams, dark and cold keyboard atmosphere, slow to mid-tempo rhythms, very good sound, and a very tasteful songs composition. Definitely one of the best Experimental Black Metal releases of 2010, it is released in 1000 copies limited edition but I'm afraid those will sell out pretty fast, so make your move, you won't be disapointed. I won't rate this with a perfect 10 only because I think we'll get something even better from netra on the next release. Recommended!
From: Metal Team UK
www.metalteamuk.net Published: March 3rd, 2011
There isn’t a great deal of information available on this French one-man outfit. I say this only because this album had me really intrigued about its concept; in the booklet it mentions it as being “a night story written during the summer of 2006,” and musically this comes across exactly as having a story, or a concept, running through it. I would partly therefore expect some piece of writing somewhere at least on their MySpace page to talk about the theme, but then again, sometimes it’s better when the listener is left to draw their own conclusion and interpret the album in their own personal way.
Translating as Urban Melancholy, this album really does take you straight into the city as police sirens ring out into the distance and car tyres tread against the dampened tarmac. ‘Urban Lights’ wastes no time in setting a scene of the concrete hell in which all natural life has been wiped out to make room for endless office blocks and ugly grey buildings are adorned in graffiti tags and lit up in the orangey glow of the street lights. The initial siren leads neatly in as various synths swirl around, grappling to be heard over what sounds like a drum machine laying down a dark and mellow beat and again this kind of puts across a very cool, urban hip-hop vibe. After a couple of minutes it suddenly all reaches its crux and with an alarming shriek this all virtually comes to a halt and the tone becomes utterly depressive. Beneath the minimal, strained and haunting guitars you can hear distant synths swimming around in the darkness, while the vocals are no more than a haunting whisper that echoes around, rising up into a soul-wrenching cry which leads the music equally into a rising intensity before calming again.
‘La Page’ begins with a real post-punk beat and that kind of Joy Division-esque misery, before things really pick up. The synths begin to take you into more of a cosmic void. In-between bursts of blackened intensity, I am really struck by the beautiful sense of loss and emotion particularly in the clean crooning vocals. It is here where I begin to really pick up on what this is all about and it seems as though it is purposely trying to narrate a very personal story of sadness to the listener, having lost everyone he loves when all that’s left is lost memories, and breaking down into tears, leading into the more mid-paced ‘Outside…alone,’ which kind of breezes in with a swagger in its step and certainly feels less claustrophobic than the first two tracks. This trails off into a long instrumental passage where Netra shows off some bluesy guitar work, before fizzling out and leading us down the promenade where the ocean waves can be heard crashing up against the wall. “The ocean…this is all I need…forget the city, the city is wrong…” is how it begins; no vocals in such a sense, and it’s kind of like snapshots of dialogue from a movie, while there’s an underlying Burzum-esque guitar steeped in distortion that gradually gets louder in the mix, and that’s when the dialogue gets more and more intense… Some really hypnotic and depressive guitars take over setting a truly bleak picture and the voices get louder, shouting, what sounds like someone trying to talk their friend out of suicide.
For me, this album works incredibly well, with tons of atmosphere and variation that paints a very depressive, colourless picture. Now on track four, ‘Through The Fear,’ things get incredibly reflective and introspective. The vocals are back to those emotive clean croons and there’s even a bit of a Roger Daltrey in them. To me this track is beautiful and incredibly emotional without sounding whiny; it’s quite understated and subtle and has a great melody behind it. ‘Terrain Vague’ is an intriguing little interlude; a cool, dark and trip-hop beat that protrudes a kind of Portishead vibe, before ‘Outside…Maybe’ returns to the harsh Burzumesque distortion-heavy guitars. ‘Blasé’ finishes the album off on an incredibly down-beat, morose note without the slightest ray of hope in sight….culminating in a most alarming loud scream followed by a gun shot which brings everything to its demise.
I really managed to get into this album, and it’s one where you notice different things every time you listen to it and the conceptual flow makes it a thoroughly engaging piece. The atmosphere is splendid, and the sense of depression and isolation comes across particularly well due to the variation and complexity of this; the use of synths and inclusion of styles such as trip-hop and post-punk are blended nicely into the music without sounding disjointed or like they are throwing too much into the equation, and if you’re bored of Burzum clones but want to hear a more unique take on depressive black metal then Netra is a must-buy. This year is already looking great for metal with Falkenbach, Septic Flesh, Fen and Dornenreich all early contenders for my annual favourites list…add Netra to that list as well!
Reviewer: Luci Herbert
From: ZWare Metalen
www.zwaremetalen.com Published: March 20th, 2011
***This is a google translated version of a Dutch review. You can read the original HERE
One man project from France, the country which today often takes extreme metal. And in the case of Netra is a kind of dark / ambient metal, the inlay is described as a nighttime story. I also think that this is the best music shows. It's hypnotic, experimental, trip hop, but above all emotional.
It starts with the song City Lights , a hypnotic, mechanical drum, indeed guide trip hop. Then it ends itself in a depressive, emotional scream then pretty melodic guitar playing involved. As a lover of the still more extreme forms of metal, this is a strange experience, it seems Alcest but industrial. If, as previously described, a nocturnal journey through a deserted Paris. The music guides you through highs and ... Outside Alone with emotional, mournful clean vocals interspersed with intense screams and guitar solos. Everything fits perfectly. After another highlight in the form of the Fear Trough . Yet the album does it best as a whole. After the just mentioned relatively long middle parts it goes to a perfectly fitting end in the form of Blase . How exactly do I not revealed, but encourages everyone to listen to it yourself.
This is certainly not food for the listener into more straightforward music. This is an experience that you have to open. If you can show hits the inside you might be in the depths of your soul.
Reviewer: Wooter Kooy
From: Violent Solutions Webzine
www.vs-webzine.com Published: March 23rd, 2011
***This is a google translated version of a French review. You can read the original HERE
In the series' Ah! yeah ... there it goes away, "I got the first album of Netra, French project which has two demos under his belt. There is still a one man band but beware, even if they are far from the joy of living, it is not in the typical depressive with its hypnotic riffs. Netra is closer to a happy Amesoeurs even what could propose Night Thoughts on "Vacuum" but much exaggerated and with four grams in the blood.
Attention to mixtures, it can be fatal for your liver! Netra taut between his music firstly a black depression mourned by plaintive howls, on the other hand, a Trip-Hop Electro tending to side and finally Ambient Blues and Jazz fly leaving plumes of smoke. Do not look at me like that! Yes, yes I swear ... Netra takes us on a stroll at night when the sounds will alternate cold and disillusioned with these cloths urban despair illustrated with chords and cries of despair. But it is also illuminated by noctambulism few hints of haunting rhythms drawn from the New Wave.
The great success of the album is that we are positively immersed in the urban night where streetlights pale reflected on the asphalt. Musically, however, success is less convincing and shows especially anything that relates to the Metal. The coup of chords is not necessarily appropriate especially as they are showing very little inspiration. On the other hand, the whole is more like a patchwork leaving the listener skeptical about this wasteland. In addition, the parties do not catch up Trip-Hop parties unfortunately not Metal. At dawn, the night owl will not hopeless retained much of its urban vagrancy.
But sometimes it can be a beautiful city at night! We still encounter a few moments sympathetic. Such as the interlude "Terrain Vague" which with its loop-cons hypnotic bass and keyboard analog recalled the beginnings of a Cypress Hill or the kind of samples Jazzy laid by Da Beatminerz on the legendary first album Black Moon. In another kind, "... Outside Alone" we play long development and ambient air. It starts as a haunting blues straight out of one film Lynch Ambient aground in Black buzzing where for once, the melodic lines that will awaken our traditional interest. The latter title is also showing a more striking face with his heavy and minimalist piano only enhanced by the voice that cries, whispers and screams. Another source of satisfaction, clear voice is quite listenable if it occurs.
It is undeniable that there is an idea, an atmosphere, unfortunately the formatting is showing failures. The Black majority of the passages are both conventional and uninspired. Similarly, I listened best Trip-Hop in my life. This remains palpable atmosphere that really saves this first work of indifference. Too bad ... Of course, a true singularity at the moment too muddled to really excite us. I'm still curious about how this project will evolve and whether the contractor will manage to harness and unify all of its influences.
Reviewer: Dark Rabbit
From: Metal Revolution Webzine
www.metal-revolution.com Published: April 13th, 2011
Netra is one-man French band/project releasing its debut opus entitled Mélancolie Urbaine. The album contains seven songs of truly unique music. Many influences can be heard in his music; including progressive & depressive black metal, trip-hop, jazz, rock and blues. Although it seems like an odd combination; I would say that the whole thing is actually pretty original.
Above mentioned trip-hop parts provide an urban character to his music, while the black metal parts generate this feeling of melancholy and depression. Everything from the album cover to the album title has its meaning and fits very well to an overall picture of the project. I simply love this raw guitar sound, powerful melodic lines, jazz-esque soli and an atmosphere that is addictive, melancholic and with stunning ambience. On the less positive side I would say that despite of different influences and diversity, this album appears quite predictable already after the first spin. I mean, it has no additional and undiscovered layers that will surprise for each listening. The whole journey of listening to this release is incredibly atmospheric but also simplistic.
I can suggest this album for any fan of Ulver, Katatonia, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Shining, Manes, and similar acts. If you however happen to like soft, mellow and sing-alone radio friendly metal, this is a no-go for you.
From: Burning Black Webzine
www.burningblack.net Published: April 17th, 2011
“Mélancolie Urbaine” is the first full length of this French one man project; before this brand new album (released in December 2010), the band released a couple of demos in 2005 and 2006 respectively, apparently these demos passed quite unadvertised since the first time I heard about Netra was when I was contacted by Skog (the man behind Hypnotic Dirge Records)… and I’m glad he did it!. The band presents at this album an uncommon but solid mix of Trip-Hop and Black Metal; the whole music is based in electronic beats, soft synthetic ambiances, Post-Rock-like structures and some crude Black Metal elements, reminding me to the most synthetic passages of early Vinterriket’s albums at moments, but unlike the German project, Netra puts a greater emphasis in the electronic elements and slow tempos. A quite particular use of keyboard background melodies also contributes with some early Gothic-Rock feeling, while the use of several movie-like samples along this record also adds an intense theatrical dimension to this yet multidimensional work. Netra (the mastermind behind this project) performs here a really remarkable vocal work, which ranges from a wide variety of clean styled vocals, whispered voices to ripping as hell Black Metal shrieks, delivering one of the most intense and diverse elements of the whole album. Some Black Metal styled hypnotic riffing can be heard during the entire disc, but always as a background element, never reaching the strident protagonism we are used to hear at standard Black Metal compositions. “Mélancolie Urbaine” is one of the most innovative Black Metal releases I’ve heard in a while; its accurate mix of diverse and uncommon styles is such majestic and unique that I think neither a Black Metal fan nor a Dark Electronic diehard could complain about this record… If you are into the most avantgardish side of the Black Metal audience or into the most obscure side of the Dark Electronic movement, you should definitely take a listen to this album.
From: Hierophant-Nox Webzine
www.hierophant-nox.com Published: August 1st, 2011
“Mélancolie Urbaine” is another 2010 release from Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records, and my initial response upon hearing it is to mentally congratulate this organisation on the coherency of mood they’re achieving across their roster. netra, a Brittany-based project, is the boldly experimental work of a solo artist with an uncanny knack for translating the emptiness and pain of modern urban life into something outstandingly beautiful. This would be moving to those of us with a gloomy set of mind however it was achieved, but there’s more… it’s the ‘how’ that makes netra truly unique and memorable.
In many ways, this album has a foundation in electronic music – the programmed, trip-hop rhythms, varied synthesiser shapes and copious sampling would have worked on their own, especially when coupled with the fabulously gloomy, prominent bass playing. Opener “City Lights” operates like this for a good two minutes, all siren sounds, scuttling electronic beats, flanged sounds and a dark, plastic lead – a kind of ‘lounge noir’. Then the track seems to take a breath, before hitting you with an outrageously emotive slab of depressive black metal riffing and vocal howls. It sounds unlikely, but it’s AWESOME. “La Page” picks up this style and runs with it, perhaps resulting in the catchiest song on the disk, mixing organ synths and a warm melody that’s more than a little bit The Jesus and Mary Chain, before the wall of primally distorted guitar wells up from the depths, re-casting proceedings as something way more harrowing and desolate.
What makes netra’s style so convincing is that both sides of this split personality are authentic and beautifully put together. The electronic beats aren’t just an intro to a black metal song, as is so often the case, and the funereally doomy riffs aren’t just a trendy affectation. It can be a complex adventure, as with the track “Outside… Alone”, which mingles extensive sampling from Jonathan Levine’s “The Wackness” in combination with some churningly melancholic riffing that evokes Shining, before opening out into a gorgeously miasmic, layered, depressive finish. It can also be direct and economical, as on the painfully mournful “Through the Fear”, which traces out immense feelings using, at times, just piano, bass and thin ambience.
This is an instantly likeable album; the trippy percussion, jazz-infused rhythms and frequent classic rock lead guitars make it accessible, while the black metal aspect and the grimy, lonely, halogen-lit atmosphere summoned by the ambient elements give an incredibly strong flavour that will stay with you a long time after the music’s over. Just as much charm as Ulver, and just as much inventiveness – this original, moving blend of extremity and electronics is a triumph.
Reviewer: Ellen Simpson
From: Forbidden Magazine
www.forbidden-magazine.com Published: October 1st, 2011
As Melancolie urbaine begins like a Scorcese flick, with the mood quickly set by ambulance sirens wailing over a brooding piano, I find myself immersed in the environment created by the cover art and album opener ‘City Lights’. The similarities end there, as break-beat drum patterns give us a taste of intrusion by impersonal technology before erupting in crashes of distortion and tormented screams. A lyrically minimalist ‘concept’ album, relying on indirect feel and subconscious suggestion as opposed to song structure or predictable progressions, Netra provide a soundtrack for the city dwelling disenchanted everywhere.
‘La Page’ caught my ear by making good use of a sequenced synthesizer and well-timed feel change in the drums as it flowed from one idea to the next, lucid and without form like a ten hour acid trip condensed to a five minute thought. Melancolie urbaine’s magnum opus, the nine plus minute ‘Outside…Alone’, follows the same path, with a rather lengthy and mostly unintelligible spoken word track lifted from a movie that I do not recognize. The performance does reflect on the ocean and how the city is “…all wrong”, before its climatic collapse that yields a strong and melodic vocal performance from solemember, Netra.
As the remainder of the album wanders through dimly lit alleys, it only briefly captures the same feel and unease that the first few tracks really possess. The bits of spoken word that are scattered throughout Melancolie urbaine reinforces the album as suitable background music to a dark drama motion picture, where the protagonist is eventually consumed by his delusions and dies alone under a freeway-bridge. The final track, ‘Blase’, illustrates this well with much sobbing and discordant piano, before pulling the trigger. Overly dramatic by far but still an extremely effective and well produced vision.
From: Aristocrazia Webzine
www.aristocraziawebzine.blogspot.com Published: November 14th, 2011
***This is a google translated version of an Italian review. You can read the original HERE
Netra is the name of a French artist who carries out a self-titled solo project on the Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records. In a time when one of the reality of the "shoegaze" (or for those who define so) it is practically dissolved, Lifelover speak of, but this creature moves the first steps in a secure proposing anything but trivial. The combination of that seen in "melancholy Urbaine" sound "urban" enough to reminder us of Ulver's "Perdition City", and having the emotionally depressive tendencies of the period of even Shining's "Prezzemolina" Kvarforth was a band and the presence of a co carefully crumbled like Manes lived and why not the gray of the melodic choices that they know so much about "English "Jesus And Mary Chain to make it an album very special and exciting. The fusion of electronic beats as it usually is not relegated only to the opening stage but well into the structure of the songs, see the opener "City Lights" and "La Page" which stands in the cohesion of that element, with the warmth of the soft portions and supported by a catchy synth work fine (and beyond) shows a compositional development when fully ripe. There are changes of "temperature" than on skin are clearly perceived, as if the hot flashes of intimacy were suddenly chilled by the advent of a melancholy suddenly dominant relief features formed by mating "... Outside Alone" and "The Fear-through." slips away like a pat on the run that changes its consistency, but without losing the identity for a moment of departure, are slight but substantive facets from stage to stage the ear will notice, however, there will be briefly disconnected or lack of feeling, seems to be a single graceful and desperate path that continues through the streets of "Terrain Vague", "Outside ... Maybe" and "Blase" is reflective of a niche term pleasure. Aided by a perfect production in terms of yield and adequate instrumental in giving a dimension emotionalism inherent in "Mélancolie Urbaine", Netra gives us a pass for a ride subway at night, maybe in the car with the headlights access to signal our presence on a road lonely still filled with the vitality accumulated during the day, you need to pull the plug an album like this could only make you comfortable and then there listening and buying advice.
From: Pure Nothing Worship Magazine
Issue #1 Published: September 15, 2012
Have you ever walked through the city around midnight after the rain when all is deserted ? Melancholic buildings, black asphalt, dark skies and lonely thoughts are your only company you have in that moment. Have you ever searched for a perfect album for such a walk ? If you did, Melancolie Urbaine is what you are looking for. Netra offers 41 minutes of unique music with honest emotions. Album is characterized by urban depression, buzzing black metal guitars and trip-hop beats. Sounds like an impossible mix ? True. It was impossible until Netra didn’t mix up what he likes. Vocal is quite weird as well as all the arrangements. Many said how nothing new happens on the metal scene. It happened. Netra is something new with a unique approach to music. I’m not sure which fans exactly will this project win over. I believe all those who are not slaves to genres will like this, ‘cause here lies real quality talent.
Reviewed by: Alex
From: Metal Observer Published: April 19, 2013
There are certain styles and genres of music that are rarely grouped together. When musicians begin dabbling with unheard of combinations and off the wall amalgamations the results can be quite interesting, to say the least. Take trip hop and Black Metal, for example. How often do these styles get meshed together into one? France’s NETRA takes conventional thinking and throws it out the window by doing just that, combining trip hop with Black Metal. Well, I should correct myself; the combination is trip hop and ambient Black Metal. While this combination sounds a little obtuse, NETRA is able to make it work by combing the doomy and gloomy workings of each into a cohesive album.
If you’re not familiar with the works of famous trip-hop legends PORTISHEAD or MASSIVE ATTACK, then you may be unfamiliar with the feel of the genre. Trip hop is known for down tempo, electronic beats that utilize elements of scratchy acid jazz combined with the rhythmic feel of hip hop. The electronic beats are combined with ambient natured backgrounds and spacey keyboard notes to maintain a fairly gloomy and depressing feel. NETRA uses these elements on the sophomore effort, “Mélancolie Urbaine“, and combines them with the gloom-laden atmospheres of many Black Metal albums. Other samples and instrumentation are added into the mix, running the gamut from wailing sirens to spoken word clips to saxophone notes, but all help in keeping the cold, desolate feeling alive.
These trip-hop elements take the forefront for a vast majority of the album. This is probably what makes the Black Metal sections so much more striking and menacing. After some spacey keyboards and electronic drum sections, “La Page” abandons the trippy electronic drums for a more traditional drumming sound which eventually builds into a running double bass section with selective cymbal work. Although these drums sound more organic than the trip hop sections, they still sound extremely plastic and programmed. The guitars gradually build up, slowly gaining ground by using heavily distorted, slow and deliberate chord progressions. The music never really gets exceptionally heavy, but the guitars do build into heavier sections that maintain the gloomy sound of everything else. During these heavier sections, the music stays rooted to the realms of electronica with the spacey keyboard lines and ambient soundscapes continuing along in the background. There are even some blues influenced guitar solos floating around, but they are a rare occurrence. While “Outside… Alone” does have some of the trip-hop towards the rear end, the distorted guitars and more organic drums take the lead. The guitar lines showcase slowly picked minor key notes which build into a swirling sound while the drums are heavy, yet slow and plodding. But even with “Outside… Alone” containing a lot of the atmospheric Black Metal we all know and love, the spacey keyboard lines are still rather prominent. Some parts are quiet and subdued, like “Blasé” and the beginning to “City Of Lights”; some parts are mostly heavy, like pretty much all of “Outside… Waiting”; but most sections see the band teetering on the borders of heavy and quiet. This album contains a lot of tension: gloomy, disparate tension, but tension nonetheless. These balances of heavy and mild, light and dark and all other comparisons that can be made also relate to the vocals. During the more mild sections the vocals are a baritone style, not unlike Garm’s delivery on ULVER’s “Perdition City” but not as confident or clean. Some of the heavier sections see the vocals using the old fashioned anguished scream style, but with a throatier approach than most. Everything here supports the cold and bleak atmosphere of the album.
The meshing of trip hop and Black Metal sounds like a revolutionary idea. Actually, it is, but NETRA seems reluctant to push the boundaries much further than playing some trip-hop here and adding a little atmospheric Black Metal there. The electronic elements do continue through the heavier sections, providing an enormous amount of continuity, but the metalhead in me keeps wanting more of the heavier sections. This album is great if you’re in the right frame of mind when listening to it, being much more suited to bleak and gray rainy days. NETRA is onto something here and will probably get mighty big in certain circles. Steer clear if you don’t like electronic elements, but, personally, I find that the trip-hop elements bring some new life into an otherwise stale and decaying scene.
Reviewed by: Shawn
From: Melting Album Reviews Published: May 12, 2013, 2013
Born out of the streets of France, netra are able to make quite the impact by melding very different genres together seamlessly and with style. Due to an unconventional mix of black metal and trip-hop, the tone of their music ranges from extremely laid back to aggressive, and sometimes both at once. What’s even more unique however, is that all the music is composed by the hands of just one individual. His name is Steven Le Moan and he is the reason the music is able to flow so fluently. He just has a natural ability to craft songs that take huge risks, but never seem to feel gimmicky or tiresome. This is exactly what he does with 2010′s Melancholie Urbaine. Although it’s only about half the length of his most recent effort Sorbyen, it doesn’t leave any less of an impact on the listener.
With paranoid dialogue and song structures, Melancolie Urbaine is truly haunting at times. ‘Outside…Alone’ is one of the eeriest tracks on the album as it mixes depressing and sometimes manic dialogue with some groovy but relaxed bass and bluesy guitars. It might sound like a strange combination, but the added sounds of everything from cars to seagulls flying over the angry dialogue gives the song a lifelike feeling. It seems Le Moan’s goal was to capture the sounds of the city life and he hits the nail square on the head as we are immersed into his vision. The song starts out sounding quite relaxed, with some low, depressing vocals over some chill drum beats and bass. However, everything changes after you get past the 2 minute mark. The sounds of crashing waves, demented laughter, and almost suicidal dialogue work together to create a complete monster of a track. As the mood shifts from dark to darker, Le Moan also brings in the muddy guitars that don’t seem to waiver throughout the schizophrenic speaking sections. Sure, it’s not the most uplifting thing I’ve ever heard, but it certainly seems to be one of the most gripping. Another standout track, ‘La Page’ flaunts the band’s softer side with some atmospheric downtempo electronics that lead the way into some scratchy black metal-esque vocals. However, the screams are followed by some unexpectedly poignant vocals slightly reminiscent of Tool that should be enough to get anybody’s attention. It’s a perfect example of Le Moan’s ability to switch between various vocal styles, while sounding fresh each time. His talent as an instrumentalist isn’t any less impressive though, as tracks such as the opener ‘City Lights’ and ‘Outside…Maybe’ rely on almost nothing more than his delicate use of electronics and some doom-like guitars.
While Sorbyen is surely just as good as Melancolie Urbaine, there’s just something about this album that goes down easier. Due to every track being placed perfectly, the short album goes by even faster and it’s one of those releases where you’ll find yourself listening to it twice in one sitting. Even despite some very blunt and angry dialogue that takes up a decent amount of runtime, pieces of beauty are scattered throughout the release which gives it a nice balance and flow. Ironically, the word ‘netra’ itself actually means emptiness, but the music created by Le Moan is anything but that. It’s generously filled with imagination and packs quite the musical punch in less than 30 minutes. Anybody looking for an atmospheric metal album that shifts sounds without ever dragging on or becoming unfocused can’t go wrong with “Melancholie Urbane.”
Reviewed by: atari85