Review: “Belong” by L’Homme Absurde

A Post-Black Metal band that originally started out as a one man project in 2015, L’Homme Absurde are now a fully fledged 5 piece as they approach the release of their third album “Belong“. The Russian residents now comprise vocalist Alexey Slavin, guitarist duo Alexandr Safronov and Roman Savenkov alongside a rhythm section of bassist Pavel Gorshkov and drummer Evgeny Loboda have described their sound as “a fusion of modern Black Metal vibe with Metalcore and catchy melodies” after “Monsters” (2016) and “Sleepless” (2018) set them on their path…

…”0” is the partially programmed opening of “Belong” that is perhaps the last thing you might expect to start an album. The primitive drum programming serves as a distraction to the beautiful guitar work that overlays it like a quilt on a four poster bed, but it seems meant to be as the song bursts into life with feedback after 76 seconds or so and becomes an aching Black Metal affair of the finest order. If the start of “0” is a surprise, “Rot” starts with a Post-Hardcore riff that evolves into Post-Black Metal with dexterity and skill. A driven affair it’s vicious vocals from Slavin are it’s heaviest element while the music offers a far brighter contrast. Album title track “Belong” is starts off as “Rot” closes with some driven Black Metal blast beats during the opening verse as Loboda goes full throttle before slowing into the dull ache of a clean vocal line. Musically nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful with a fine rise and fall, as Black Metal often is, the vocals are the ugly forest fire in stark contrast, very much the male equivalent of the wail of the Banshee who’s appearance is an omen that a family member will die. As with their description of their sound, “Separation” has a Melodic Metalcore tinge to it’s beating heart while the addition of Black Metal elements, especially in the vocal department, create a truly unique sound. There is no doubt that anyone who is expecting something more melodic vocally may find the unclean brutality of Slavin gargling blood a little too much but in the context of what L’Homme Absurde are looking to create with it’s roots in Black Metal, over the duration of the album, those vocals become the thread that holds everything together perfectly.

The opening bars of “Departure” could be from a band like Touche Amore, such is their shoe-gazing beauty. While L’Homme Absurde build up the song into a flurry of faster paced music, the beauty of it is never sacrificed as Slavin screams to be taken away from oblivion. For the most part a clean guitar tone is the choice and that helps the drum sound which is a vital component of Black Metal sound crisp, clean and as fresh as a daisy resting on a rotting corpse. “Burn” has a bolder bass line from Gorshkov standing up in the mix on what is a stand out track on album of impressive consistency. What makes this one is the catchy, bright hook at the center of the guitar work that could be part of any piece of guitar orientated music from the past 60 years. It would fit as happily in the soundscape of Rush as it would in that of Navian, such is it’s imaginative and unexpected glory. By stark contrast, you may feel like you’ve been zapped into another bands material with the opening of “Forsaken” as it’s main riff occupies territory that is distinctly early 2000’s Metalcore with some enhanced use of distortion in the guitar tones. Safronov and Savenkov build on the curve ball to create something closer to the bands core sound by the time the song reaches it’s inevitable conclusion with some slick lead flourishes. After multiple listens to the album as a whole and starting out as something that is something of an awkward fit, it becomes a welcome heavier point in proceedings and allows for “Sanctuary” to become the closing piece of melody. Clean sung at the start, something that Slavin has the capability to do but chooses rarely to do so, the song wraps the album around to the a start by introducing those primitive programmed drums into the second half. This is a darkly beautiful album [8/10].

Track listing

  1. 0
  2. Rot
  3. Belong
  4. Separation
  5. Departure
  6. Burn
  7. Forsaken
  8. Sanctuary

Belong” by L’Homme Absurde is out 17th January. It should be available over at bandcamp

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