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(Les Acteurs De L'Ombre Productions)

Once again the very dedicated label Les Acteurs De L'Ombre Productions unleashes great music upon mankind. This time, it's a 3-way split-album with two absolutely unknown bands, BÂ’A and VERFALLEN, and the already known HYRGAL, who already released their first album “Serpentine” via this label. As it is nearly usual for Les Acteurs De L'Ombre, all three bands are from France and can be defined as contemporary Black Metal of the atmospheric kind. Yet, all of them sound different and unique. First we have two songs from BÂ’A, which are the ones most rooted in classical Black Metal here. Their two rather short songs (compared to the other two bands) remind me sometimes a little bit of very old IN THE WOODS..., as far as the atmosphere is concerned, especially 'Les Terres De La Terreur'. But BÂ’A give this basic idea their own French touch, not only due to the language, but also in the ice cold guitar harmonies. The slower 'La Grande Désillusion' sometimes even has a touch of (not too) early THE GATHERING, using very decent keyboards to create a more melancholic feeling. Yet, this one still is Black Metal, dark and cold. Entering VERFALLEN, we have a really old fashioned start into their contribution to this split album. But 'Derelictus' soon surprises with breaks, harmonies and speed changes that take the listener by force. And at the latest when the rather classical acoustic break in the middle of the song leads to an old school Heavy Metal part, VERFALLEN got me. Their second song 'La Valeur Des Ténèbres' is also a bit more on the slower side (alike BÂ’A), yet this song has a lot of changes and breaks, like the acoustic interlude that leads to an intense and epic finish with captivating, polyphonic choirs and great guitars. Finally, the only band that already has a release of their own enters the scene. I already liked the album from HYRGAL very much, due to the dark atmosphere and the guitar harmonies of “Serpentine”. Their two new songs are a little step deeper into darkness. Their first song 'Césure' starts off pitch black and very gloomy, somehow the term Doom Black Metal comes to mind, which describes the atmosphere of the song pretty well. And the second song from HYRGAL, the long and complex epic 'Sicaire', again combines all the strengths and facets of the band. This one is a cold and dark beauty of a song, full of twists and turns, spiced with great guitar harmonies, epic moments and an end that calms the listener down and suits perfectly to the rainy mood of the fall. In my opinion, this one is the best HYRGAL recorded yet, and I can hardly wait wait for a new album from them. But also BÂ’A and VERFALLEN delivered great stuff on this 3-way split-release and both of them promise great albums for sure. To find out more about one of the best split-releases of the century, visit:

Thomas Meyer

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