HDR - 005 : Neige et Noirceur - Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur Les Terres de la Guerre (Demo V)


Released: March 8th, 2009
Details: Pro-CDr, 4 page booklet/standard jewel case - Unlimited Quantities
Genre: Ambient Black Metal


From : Marty the Devilman's Music Promotions

Neige et Noirceur's fifth effort, and first release on Hypnotic Dirge Records, an experimental/ambient black metal band from Quebec. Truly unique, this is the 3rd ambient black metal album I have reviwed and it is unlike anything else I have received. Good to see diversity in this genre keeping it fresh. Inspired by the landscapes of the frozen North, (as shown below in the video below) and sounds every bit as chilling. My favorite is the title track, #2, Crepuscule Hivernal Sana Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre, almost 26 minutes in length, up right now on their myspace profile. (They couldn't fit the whole name, but you'll find it)Thanks again to Skog of Hypnotic Dirge Records for sending me this album.


From: NekroDeath Reviews and Interviews
NOTE: Due to the album being sent digitally to Nekrodeath, the tracklisting order must have gotten mixed up in the review.

Neige & Noirceur: Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre
Review Undertaken by Glenn 'Old Man Nekro' & Caz 'Lady Nekro'

Before we introduce you to this music we would like to introduce you to the idea & definition of sound – scape music, so you can fully understand & appreciate this album. The idea of a ‘sound – scape movement’ initially started in the 1970's. Although, it was almost 16 years later in 1986 that Canadian born composer Barry Truax used & sampled sounds in order to create the first sound – scape pieces. Now for a band that uses influential material such as Quebec Folklore in his musical pieces it is almost quite fitting that he incorporates something of a similar old age – such as sound – scapes. This is an unusual way of composing music, but lets see how well it really works…

So, HDR bring us yet another great black metal sound - scape album! Although, this has a slight different take on it to that of Astral Luminous. Still delving deep into the depth of Black Metal, but this time merging more natural sound - scape sounds. Of course I am talking about Neige & Noirceur and their lengthy entitled demo 'Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre'. This very loosely translates to 'The dark endless winter on the land of war'. This is quite a fitting name for an album that expresses winter landscapes through the use of sound - scape & the dark hatred that broods Inside Its creator with the use of black metal vocals.

It would seem that more one – man projects within the black metal genre are becoming far more daring. They are mixing styles that have never been seen fit to ever cross paths. An almost ‘mainstream’ of ambience & black metal is becoming very apparent. This is a very welcome style, as it just goes to show that not everyone out there is so one – minded that they have to rip off old school Burzum or Dark Throne. Spiritus (of once Mor Phose) has maybe thought about this factor when creating this project & this is the reason for such award winning musicianship. Also, we at Nekrodeath always welcome something with such traditional influences! Spiritus has used the Quebec Folklore for both imagery & lyrical inspiration. This definitely gives this album a more personal touch & intrigues the listener into finding more out about this ancient traditional way of life.

Track one entitled Aux Portes De La Crypte or ‘To the doors of the crypt’ opens up in true sound – scape style. A ‘tinny’ sound fills your ears… almost as if keys are clanging together.

Then a door into your mind is unlocked.

For one moment some one whispers to you, you don’t know what they say or who they are. Before you get the chance to ponder, a sample of church bells are used & you can almost feel yourself walking into some kind of church. Crowds of people are chattering away in the foreground & all the time there is an ambient sound – track throughout in the background. If this isn’t enough to put you into a trance, then the next thing is… people collectively start chanting the Lords Prayer, it’s such a serene atmosphere that you might even find yourself joining in un - be knowingly! With this use of a loop affect of ambience, then a layered but distorted church organ piece this becomes an even more eerie track. Finally, we are hit with Black Metal vocals & the use of something familiar… a drum kit… or more to the point… a cymbal. This is hit at constant intervals, lightening the track for a ray of hope. But then we are met with the ‘tinny’ metal clanging sound as a door shuts closed. Spiritus has said that he wanted his music to created a gloomy & distressing atmosphere & he has indeed captured that all within the first track. It is full of dark/ gloomy sounds & as that door closes you wonder if your sanity has been locked away there too.

Track two is an English entitled track – ‘Hibernation’. The ambient background music is continued into this track to create an almost dreamlike feeling. You feel like you are the only one left on the planet. The sounds used in this track are lighter on a whole as they are that of elements. The sound of the wind howling is a key signature & has a knock – effect to everything around it, including the grass that sways around you. A synth is also used which is working against itself creating opposing sounds. There are low rumbling sounds, but light overtones too. This creates a dream – like atmosphere, but a doubt in your mind that something bad is on its way as the sound soon distorts with the sound of electricity surging.

The last track, named after the title of the album seems to merge the first two tracks together. There is a Black Metal Riff opening & this doesn’t stop, it becomes a drone. Nature is once again unleashed onto this album as wolves howl & then the guitar work changes into a two-note continuum. As soon as the guitars changes, as does the background piece as chanting emerges again - like that of track one. Again, Spiritus sad that his music reflects long evening winters & with this track being the longest on the album & the wind starting to howl again, we think that he has definitely mastered this. As this track is coming to an end there is a long, trance – like guitar breakdown & finished off with grim black metal vocals. This really leaves you thinking… what the fuck has just happened! But none – the – less like you have been on some sort of journey & believe us… no matter how many times you listen to this album you will never venture on the same one.

This album could almost be described as an ‘organic’ one due to the natural sounds used, plus it is steeped in as much tradition as a Helheim or even Foscor album. Coupled together with the dark/ surreal ambience and black metal, this makes for a fresh release. Neige & Noirceur are now setting a new standard and a new level to which contenders should be readily lapping up and even taking note of. So, all that is left to be said is… all that is needed in order to break down the stereotypical black metal project, is one – man to discover sound - scape. ____________________________________________________________________

From: Nocturnal Cult Webzine www.nocturnalcult.com

Ambient black metal, French Canadian style. That is what one can expect from Demo V of Neige et Noirceur which is comprised of three songs of hypnotizing black metal and dark ambience which instills a somewhat spiritual experience on the listener. Aux Portes De La Crypte sets the tone for the album with walls of electronic keys, subterranean black metal vocals and chiming cathedral bells. The 26 minute epic of the title track is a Burzum-ish trance inducing black metal hymn with repetitive riffs and catchy synths that draw the listener into a deep, impenetrable coma of somber, inner landscapes. Windy sonic synth sections break up the intentionally monotonous guitar passages that mesmerize me. Long after the album has ended those dense, trebly guitars and memorable keys linger inside my skull. Towards the end of the track the intensity is ratcheted up with a heightened pace though it is no less spellbinding than the rest of the material. Hibernation brings these proceedings to a close with split electronic personalities as it shifts from an electronic view of whale song to dark, tranquil yet haunting astral synth that climax like waves crashing on a distant shoreline. Neige et Noirceur has conceived and composed an album of hypnotic ambient black metal that is both spellbinding and intensely cold. Submerging the mind in timelessness broad and colorless landscapes these songs create voids with which to perform internal spiritual exploration and create a mood of suicidal hopelessness. When the last notes of this album have faded, Neige et Noirceur leave me with a sense of freezing stillness.


From: Black Belle Webzine www.blackbelle.tk

Before commencing this review I will underline a fact already well established and reiterated multiple times by myself and that would be that I am not at all keen on ambient music and becoming less so with each consecutive aspiring soundscape artiste sending more of the same synth heavy numbers spliced with discontinuous black metal abrasion my general direction.

Neige Et Noirceur are not about to change my opinion.

Granted, the Quebec based one man outfit probably holds a bit more sway than many of the others immensely swelling the ranks of a genre already stuffed and teeming with occupants given that its sole member Spiritus has released a number of predominantly ambient items along the way with a clearer idea of what is attempting to be achieved than some. This effort from Neige Et Noirceur is the tongue tangling 'Crepuscule Hivernal Sana Fin Sur les Terres de la Guerre' (try saying that ten times fast whilst intoxicated, shit try saying it once!) which at a rough translation equates to 'Dark Endless Winter In The Land Of War' or words to that effect.

A pure venomous black metal group is possibly what one may expect to encounter had that been titled in English but as it is the lengthy French language wording does sit better with the style and mood of the album itself, a promise of atmospheric ambient and experimental compositions. Mind you elements of a black metal nature do sporadically cast their shadows over the mostly ambient material especially in terms of vocals and some guitar use mainly centred in the title track.

As 'Crepuscule Sana Fin Sur les Terres de la Guerre' contains only three items yet runs just two minutes short of three quarters of an hour it is a no brainer assuming they are going to be very lengthy numbers. The albums centrepiece and title track alone sprawls on a trek that lasts a massive twenty six minutes even, encompassing both sides of the Neige Et Noirceur experience, the synthy soundscapes and the raw caustic chafe of glacial black metal.

Beginning this often arduous, occasionally beguiling and sometimes frustrating expedition is the shortest track at five minutes 'Aux Porte De La Crypte'. This creation entangles a melange of sounds ranging from bells, chants and organs with synth and drum programming, breeding it all together into a curious atmosphere where multiple voices seem to be talking at once. Though the aura built is strictly ambient and free of traditionally black metal instrumentation the vocals which eventually slither into the track and crawl over the hums and drones are very much in line with that genre. Sibilant whisper tones too make their waythrough the dark and spartan structures of the composition adding to the purposefully inhospitable nature of the entity.Repetition is an oft used tactic though fortunately as this is a remarkably brief number for NeigeEt Noirceur it doesn’t become unbearable.

Coming up next is the reason why this three track release spans to the average length of a complete album, the extraordinarily long title track 'Crepuscule Hivernal Sana fin surles Terres de la Guerre'. This monolithic piece of work takes elements of both the black metal and the ambient, starting with guitars based in the former prior to embellishing all with aspects of the latter including but not limited to a number of nature sounds, howling wolves, gusting gales of freezing wind etc.

The music of Neige Et Noirceur is said to be motivated by the frigid winters and chilly landscape environments of the acts spearhead Spiritus’ home region and thisbarren polar atmosphere is fairly well transmitted to the listener through the various techniques exercised. Once again I will restate that ambient droning repetition does not float my boat but at least here with some knowledge of what the artist is communicating, it strikes home better than most and doesn’t come across vague, indulgent or incomprehensible. With that said it still takes either a diehard devotee of winter soundscapes and ambient experimentation married to rawer black metal dabblings of grainy guitar and gurgling vocals or a soul with great patience to stay tuned to the whole twenty six minute stretch of this song. I slot more readily into the last category but nonetheless some passages of interest are contained within that often laborious trudge to conclusion.

'Hibernation' tip toes through frosty landscapes back into the purely ambient, eschewing any black metal notions with a firm accent on delivering more spectral nature sounds to the accompaniment of gentle synth. Whereas the opening song (well, composition-song is probably not the word) toyed with black metal aesthetics and such 'Hibernation' relies on only its stark winter representations and infrequently discordant instrumentation. Trancey and hypnotic at times with a couple of undertones of darker and more sinister stuff skulking amongst any daydream causing passages this final number eventually signs off after a twelve minute period.

Neige Et Noirceurs 'Crepuscule Hivernal sans fin sur les Terres de la Guerre' is released on the Canadian Hypnotic Dirge label which specialises in artists mostly dwelling in the ambient genre (see labelmates Ancient Tundra and Astral Luminous for additional ideas, both formerly reviewed here) and will find the majority of its listeners in that certain field. Of course those who enjoy tempering their sporadic doses of black metal with dollops of the above will also derive plenty from this.It is niche music, though its fair to say the niche it exists in seems to be an increasingly widening one.


By: Matthew Caughlin

Neige et Noirceur – Crépuscule Hivernal sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre (Demo V) [82/100]
Consensus: Amazingly dark and thought provoking yet seems longer than necessary and tends to drag on at times.

I enjoyed this release very much though I think NeN’s attempt to make long songs is the act’s only flaw. Track 1 I’d consider an intro, because it is sheer soundscapes, though it sets the mood of the album perfectly. This is definitely not for the casual fan, though I consider that a good thing in this case. The next track is over 20 minutes long and continues with more of a dark ambient approach before kicking in. The atmosphere is very dark and oppressive, and the musicianship is sound along with the vocals. Unfortunately, the length of this track is too long. I’m not the type to normally judge on length and I have listened to longer compositions and felt it was fine (even the 5 hour “40,000 Leagues under the Sea” by noise-improv artists, Excepter). However, it seems like the same riff is playing for over a quarter of this epic track with little to no variation, sans the vocals. It is an enjoyable riff nonetheless. There is only one other song on this release, and the whole CD is over 43 minutes. True fans of underground black metal will love this CD, as I personally enjoyed it as well. Though, this is not a groundbreaking release that will silence the nay-sayers of the genre.


From:Meridian 9 Magazine - Issue #3; Review by: Owen Wears
Neige et Noirceur
Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre
Hypnotic Dirge Records - 2009

"Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre", or Demo V is one fucking brillant album. Combining Dark Ambient, Drone, Industrial , and Black Metal into a sickening miasma of sound, this French Canadian duo have made one truly unsettling piece of music. There are few tracks on this disc, but two songs are well over 15 minutes in length. Each of the epic journeys into the depraved ebbs and flows like a plague-bearing wind that sweeps over the listener and carries him/her along whether he/she likes it or not. Perhaps I was just in a foul mood when I sat down (Actually I lay down on my bed because I was fucking tired. Sue me) to give this a listen, but by the time the album was finished spinning my heart was pounding and my mind was reeling. I was unsettled, to say the least. Now, a person of sound mind and body (who is not totally exhausted) will probably not feel the same discomfort when listening to this album. It still stands that this is a muscially diverse and twisted album. One that fans of bizarre fusion will find most enjoyable.
Wears - 6/10


From: Chronicles of Choas Webzine

Sometimes bands grip a profuse amount of attention before releasing any standardized full-lengths. There is a dusting of bands that have sprung to omnipotent status releasing only a tape or two, a "best of" disc and scores of re-releases and re-re-releases for younger fans and those not worthy enough to have acquired one of the "limited to 200 copies" original. Neige et Noirceur, while not having leaped any godly bounds to cult status, has still gained measurable attention for EPs, demos and even a couple of rarely seen singles containing ambient black metal, worshipping the wintry Elysium of Canada. Last year's 'Ancien Folklore Quebecois' published Spiritus' reverence for his homeland, paying homage to the traditions and history of Quebec. 2007's 'L'Abîme des Jours, l'Écume des Nuits' gave off the deep twilight glow of a snow covered landscape sheathed in a light fog with a brew of raw black metal and otherworldly ambient. 'Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre' ("Dark endless winter on the lands of war") plays along with that same theme, haunting the mind with occult-ish combinations of chanting, whispering, rainfall, coyote howls, footsteps and black metal.

"Aux Portes de la Crypte" initiates with rainfall, the sounds of knife sharpening, church bells, murmurs, a child's whimpering, coven-like group prayers, an unsettling haunted cathedral-inspired organ theme and Spiritus' hungered vocals. Blood-boiling guitars, howls and scratchy screams are the onset of leviathan sized title track "Crepuscule Hivernal Sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre"; a verbose name to match 26 minutes of creeping atmosphere of the penultimate track. Some parts consist of a weathered structure, beaten down into the ground to give off a muted, unbreathable atmosphere, and others, of the weather; rain, wind and the coldness of frost. Keyboard parts again add a gothic, sitting alone in an abandoned church in the dead of winter vibe. The black metal half of Neige et Noirceur always comes back, unleashed in the form of classically fuzzy, cold guitars, crisp drums and sandy throat screams. This track is unmercifully long and takes its toll though, the variation changes it to seem like many track strewn together. Lastly, "Hibernation" is a lurid end of amazingly themed horror. A goal of Spiritus on this release was to create creepy music, and while the previous tracks are dark, "Hibernation" achieves this scare. The approach and the atmosphere are right for a foreboding experience of hair-raising ambience without any black metal. Perfectly suiting a midnight stroll into an unknown part of town with heavy footsteps that emerge from out of nowhere and powerful background noise like a dark alley, supposedly empty.

'Crepuscule...' shows, as has been shown time after time, that French (be it French-Canadian respectively) black metal is a genre unmatched. Norway may lay claim to the "true" grim and Satanic strains of metal (though South American bands are dangerously evil and may even top their Scandinavian brethren in that aspect); France and it seems, the French graced part of Canada, are black metal leaders in their own right. Neige et Noirceur ride the tail of a growing league of ambient / black bands that understand fright does not always come in the form of fang, nail or stinger, but could be a dark shape lurking behind, always disappearing when you look over your shoulder, only to swallow you whole when you turn your head back 'round.

Reviewer: Yulon Zhu - 7.5/10


From: Heathen Harvest Webzine

I consider ambient intro tracks on black metal records to be a scourge of the genre that, alongside corpse paint, boring anti humanity manifestos and illegible logos have got to go if participants of the music have any interest in moving their art out of the gutter of grimnity and into something more than a constant feedback loop of the same old ideas. I'm not saying that any of the ferocity or bloody mindedness of the music has to change, but people can only ponder for so long how one sulking man and his choice to express rage at the modern world through a small guitar amp and putting on make up differs from another. It's frequently disappointing to hear an album kick off with some ghostly synth preset and amble along for a few moments before the first track proper begins with more of a pop than a bang through a weedy production value that in every way fails to match that of the crafted synthesiser. It's nothing to be too upset about as there are many exceptions to all of these rules, but given the rate of unsuccessful applicants, imagine the alarm bells when I discovered that Neige et Noirceur is described as a dark ambient (or 'ambiant' on their myspace page) and black metal hybrid of some sort. Though for some it could take some adjusting to, it's probably once you're ready to approach their music from the perspective that they're dealing with ambient passages as equally as pounding, minor key black metal that you can realise Neige et Noirceur are one of these exceptions, albeit upon a few conditions.

Opening piece 'Aux Portes de la Crypte' is made up of hissing winds and rain coupled with dark, disembodied field recordings of church goers sleepily reciting the lords prayer. The muted and mumbled delivery of this section is hauntingly nightmarish in it's eerie restraint and soon gives way to an unsettling dirge of looped voice and church organ before ending with a pounding drum and an animalistic yet hushed vocal. The piece is darkly ritual and could easily stand out amidst a whole albums worth of similar material as well as it's function of an introduction of sorts to 'Crepuscle Hivernal sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre', which at 26 mins serves as the main body of the whole album. The length of the track ensures that it will always be a lot to digest, but also contributing to the confusing process is the way in which it is structured. During this song we hear what Neige et Noirceur has to offer from it's black metal leanings, which is hypnotic and droning if not particularly groundbreaking. Where these elements succeed is in their placement. Riffs repeat and repeat, taking time to build into new movements which really allow the catchy and memorable progressions to sink in. These are also embellished by a prominent but tasteful and interesting use of ghostly synths which augment the lead melodies nicely and give the otherwise fairly minimal music room to expand. At one point the track fades out into another collection of ambient and spooky sounds, but at this point it feels a little unnecessary and when the music begins to fade back in and continue as though uninterrupted it all feels a little tacked on.

Final track 'Hibernation' is another standalone ambient piece, this time stretching over a much longer 12 minute duration. This track seems to be a collage of various experimental and ambient ideas, that one can easily imagine struggled to find a home within the album and were pieced together and thrown on the end. It's a frustratingly mixed bag, containing a use of found sounds and natural recordings which feels innovative within the genre, alongside entirely standard and uninspiring synth passages, all of which fade in, go nowhere and fade out. Maybe this track is exemplary of the whole Neige et Noirceur experience which is for the most part enjoyable and worth repeating, but possessed of some lacklustre combinations of sound and style, which if separated and refined would stand out as brave and unique.

Reviewer: Duncan Harrison


The Stuff of Nightmares - By: Perplexed_Sjel

Neige et Noirceur, which translates to Snow and Blackness, were an easy choice for my “A Year In Winter” collection of reviews. Anyone who knows anything about this one-man French-Canadian project, formed by the mysterious and occult-inspired Zifond, understands why they have a place firmly guaranteed in this collection. As this short biography indicates, this act possesses all the right characteristics to become a wintry masterpiece of ambient black metal, “Québécois Black Metal, strongly inspired of Quebec’s wide winter landscape. The music wants to be a dark musical interpretation of long evening winters. The gloomy and distressing mood mask a cold stormy black metal.” Whilst this band, and this debut full-length entitled ‘Crépuscule Hivernal sans Fin sur les Terres de la Guerre’, do harbour an interest in black metal music, there are some other things going on beneath the surface of this enigmatic and very intriguing band. As the bands description suggests, Neige et Noirceur also deal in drone and doom metal influences.

Not only this, but there also seems to be a definite dark ambient inspiration behind the music, akin to bands like Paysage D’Hiver and Germany’s Trist, with this album particularly reminding me of the epic ‘Hin-Fort’, a grand ambient black metal meets dark ambient tale of astral empires and wintry weather. This album, much like ‘Hin-Fort’, is a mixture of ambiance and genuine black metal material. The album masks itself in a dark cloud, shifting between genres and sub-genres with a quick flick of a switch. Zifond is a very inspiring song writing and musician. Although he hasn’t managed to garner the reputation of bands like the aforementioned, as well as acts like Darkspace, he has mustered up one hell of a reputation amongst the avid followers of the truly black metal underground, deep beneath the layers of bands who’re considered far more accessible. Despite the relative inaccessibility of the material in general, certain passages within the main self-titled twenty-six minute epic can be considered comparable to bands like Deathspell Omega, or Clandestine Blaze. At least to me, anyway.

The comparisons don’t stop there though as they keep on coming during the ever-changing self-titled song. The mixture of raw and symphonic structures reminds me slightly of Poland’s Evilfeast fifteen or so minutes into the self-titled epic. As aforementioned, the self-titled epic is the main feature of this album as this is the only song to contain metallic forces. Both songs either side of it as instrumentals with varying purposes. The first, ‘Aux Portes de la Crypte’ builds with a really frightening atmosphere. The song is filled with a variety of samples taken from unknown sources. There’s a definite spiritual sense in this opening introduction with the Lord’s prayer being chanted out by a group of unknown individuals. The setting for this song is quite odd and very unique. I don’t really understand its purpose, but it certainly knows how to generate a really affecting mood with mind altering benefits. This album, as expected, is best listened to in the dark and by yourself. That way the music and use of samples can truly wash over you like rain from blackened storm clouds. As the song draws to a close, some instrumentation becomes apart of the scene setting with the use of a distant drum beat, presumably some keyboard samples and nightmarish vocals. The onset of whatever hellish play is about to begin.

A drum signals the ending of the first song and the opening of the song, alongside samples of howling wolves. The black metal material then begins to flow as it does on albums like the aforementioned ‘Hin-Fort’. In fact, the material present on the self-titled song strongly resembles the song ‘Hin’ for a number of minutes at the beginning. The eerie distant voices, the fast and repetitive drums and the monotonous distorted guitars all mesh together well. This song, as with ‘Hin’, has subtle movements occurring beneath the destructive foreground. Although the surface would suggest that this song has very little to it, there is a lot happening beneath with subtle melodies and changes that diversify the state of the song, and the album in general. As with ‘Hin’, these changes become more noticeable the more you listen to the album, as well as the more patience you grant to the song and its overall development and evolution. It’s a slow process. The song shifts between black metal and dark ambient as samples come back into play after a few minutes and a soft moving ambiance takes over the incredible distortion and fast style of play.

During these sections, the vocals take a back-seat and rightly so. These subtle, ambient passages allow the listener to catch a breath an examine what just happened in greater detail. The song soon shifts again after the electronic sound moves on out to be replaced by the black metal elements once again. This time however, things have altered slightly, though this isn’t noticeable for the first few minutes. After ten minutes or so, the vocals kick back in with the feel of bands like Clandestine Blaze. Zifond reminds me of Mikko Aspa with his deep and dark grunts. Finally, the black metal aspects fade away into the blizzard of the samples, becoming masked by the dark ambiance that takes over for the third and final song, one which concludes the album well enough. This is the type of album that keeps you on the edge of your seat whilst forcing you to crave for more as it finishes. Despite having a twenty-six minute epic in between two moderately long instrumentals, the album feels like it ends all too quickly.