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. Interessted? Read on!
The first thing to mention might be an 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 an 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 exactly, 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 long drawn synthesizer sounds 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 drum rhythm accompanied by a retro (as in good old computer games!) 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 synthesizer melody. 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 drum beats 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!
|4.||Through the Fear|
|Total playing time||41:49|