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Drakonhail – L'autre lieu demo (Rempart Immortel, 2020)

Greek version here

In this black and white Metal Archives photograph, Dunkel, the mastermind behind the French one-man band Drakonhaul, can be seen in a forest with a bird (perhaps a raven) perched upon his arm. Moreover, the band’s logo consists of just the name written in a Gothic font. These two characteristics sent me back to an instance of early ‘00s underground aesthetics, an era in which Drakonhail’s origins can be traced (2002).

Despite its intense productivity (19 releases in total), the band was until recently completely unknown to me; on Metal Archives there are zero reviews about its releases. The same is true for one of Dunkel’s other projects, Saatkrähe (also recently discovered), which plays a more traditionally-minded black metal style. Keeping away from Bandcamp and other digital platforms, the artist seems to belong to a minority striving to shut itself inside analog walls (without total success to be honest, as there are YouTube videos and digital rips), in a possible quest for a nostalgia fortress.

The 3 tracks of L’autre lieu, Drakonhail’s latest release, first appeared in 2019’s three-way split between Striborg, Bosc Fosc and Drakonhail; there, one can find the demo’s lyrics which deal with nocturnal solitary pathways, aligning with the music atmosphere.

L’autre lieu is the macabre hustle roused by a nocturnal promenade. Rhythmically, it’s almost solely based on a calm, cracking pacing that hints of menaces hidden in the dark, in these spots that our eyes try to avoid while walking in the night. Musically, this work is built on slow-moving riffs of an acoustic mien (occasionally transforming into folkish arrays), otherworldly shrieks and a flickering ambiance with spectral emanations. The whole thing is reminiscent of misty tombs, encapsulating also something of black metal’s naturalistic craving.

Aesthetical and spiritual relatives: Aghast - Hexerei im Zwielicht der Finsternis, Smorzando - Smrad

15 Sep 2020

Tags: black metal   france   2020
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