Review from ThreNodies Webzine

Posted by Nick Skog on Sunday, December 9, 2012 Under: Album reviews
From: ThreNodies Webzine
Published: December 9, 2012
Original Link

About two years ago, I received one of the most impressive debut record I’ve ever heard. This piece of art featured a completely new style of black metal, which was mixed with trip hop influences, you probably never heard before. There was a huge thrill of anticipation according his new record called Sørbyen, which features an impressive total playing time of 70:23 minutes! Will it be able to follow the footsteps of its predecessor?

Mélancolie urbaine, the debut record of the French, could easily be described as one milestone of modern black metal, at least concerning the edge regions. The mixture of black metal and trip hop elements may sound quite strange at first but it was more than nice to listen to and really well done and as Sørbyen tries to follow up, there is nothing that could go possibly wrong, or could it? Sadly, there are some things that actually went wrong, or are at least more radical compared to Mélancolie urbaine. 

One thing should be made clear before we start with the actual review: It’s quite natural that artists/musicians try to develope their style and that this is accompanied by some major changes but, at least in my opinion, something went wrong here. The record is still defined through a steady interplay of slow trip hop passages, that are often accompanied by spoken samples and faster somewhat black metal like ones, although, the overall electronic influence has grown.

First of all, we would like to start with the positive aspects of the record though. There still are plenty of moments that can be as hypnotic and immersive as the songs that were featured on the debut. Although Streetlamp Obsession only features some spoken passages, it still features a good mixture of slow, distorted heaviness and electronic enhanced, melodic black metal passages.

Every song features at least one little passage that has the quality to catch up with the brilliant songs of the debut record and they construct a little golden thread that streaks the record. This record features clearly more clean sung passages compared to the debut record, which often reminds me of the eighties gothic-pop-rock projects, at least paired with the dark and electronic sounds. There are some similiarities to Frank the Baptist (Crawling) or even Placebo (A Kill For A Hug). The steady interplay of slow trip hop and fast black metal like passages were one of the most important elements of Melancholie Urbaine and, of course, Sørbyen features them as well, but sadly the transitions between both parts are rather abrupt and often less reasonable. For instance, the opener of the record  A Dance With The Asphalt has a rather slow beginning and a quite harsh end without a good transition or similiarity between both parts.

There are several of this structural “failures”, which could, euphemistically spoken, be considered as a positive point for the record, as they are quite varied but in my eyes the songs lack auditabillity. Another little flaw are the really electronic sounds, that lost their “retro” flair and are mostly somewhat tacky or (again, euphemistically) “oldschool”. For instance the later part of A Kill For A Hug features some really bad synthie sounding “strings”, that are neither suitable nor atmospheric. The production is well done though, as even the most complex parts are well differentiated.

I don’t really know what to think of Sørbyen. On the one hand, there are some really good references to the debut record, on the other hand, there are  these strange structures that can’t be understood. Nevertheless, the record is quite varied but it lacks the big golden thread. Although you clearly can sense the special note of Netra, it would seem that he had received several basic songs, he just had to finish and release them as a “compilation”. You should be quite open minded while listening to this record as you could be disappointed otherwise. 

Rating: 70/100
Reviewed by: Daniel Dervaric

In : Album reviews 

Tags: netra sørbyen sorbyen alternative experimental black metal trip-hop goth rock 

                       NETRA - SØRBYEN 

Released: September 29, 2012
1000 Copies
Alternative Black Metal/Trip-hop