The pursuit of innumerable artists seeking to express the concepts of light and dark—both as separate or symbiotic entities—is one conquest which, when done well, will never become monotonous to me. Vast as the universe is, so to is the space available to navigate and interpret the meaning and the status of these forms, both literally and metaphorically. In addition to the ideas themselves, the experience and environments of the person exploring them inevitably bring new words, new dimensions, new characteristics and facets, thereby pushing the territory available to explore that much further by clarifying what already lies within it. With Derrière-nous, la lumière, French artist and musician Dehn Sora has taken one such sojourn into this boundless realm and has done so with a marvelous ferocity. When taking a moment to absorb his compositions and his words, his observations of this territory press upon you with a denseness of substance. It is not art for art’s sake, and it is the variety that leaves you anticipating what is to follow in the future.
Released in May of this year on Debemur Morti Productions, Derrière-nous, la lumière is the debut production of Sora’s latest solo musical endeavor, Throane. It is a structured album with an excellent balance of eerie ambiance contrasted with an unnerving sense of chaos as it features alternations between drones, sharp percussion, and storming screams broken with tension-building pauses, such as in the introductory track, “Sortez vos lames, que nous perdions nos poings.” Found most notably on tracks such as “Aussi féroces que nous repentons” and “Contre Terre,” his use of vocal layering creates an engrossing depth that adds an intensity to the music without being superfluous or taking away from the rest of what is happening. To crown all of this, there is kick pedal-heavy programmed drumming, which is the major facet establishing the clear industrial presence heard on this record. The aforementioned vocal depth and the driving pulse of percussion in conjunction with the ebb and flow of all the other instrumental elements that are found throughout the entirety of the album have effectively formed the sort of exclusive auditory distinction in tone and style that every artist strives to achieve. That isn’t to say that this is completely groundbreaking material, but it is the type of album that you would be able to identify as being Throane rather than something that blends in with a slew of other artists that have attempted to create dark industrial post-metal but sound like carbon copies of Godflesh or Neurosis. While the influence of these bands is strongly felt, the heavy dose of atmospheric ambient black metal in the mix undoubtedly helps set this apart.
This is the sort of well-constructed maturity I am always longing to hear in music. While I am not fluent in French, I know enough to know what the title of this record meant right away: “Behind Us, the Light.” Behind us, the light can either be a thing of the past or a distant thought; it can also be the source to accentuate the shadow of a silhouette. Considering the latter, it seems only fair to say that this is an album defining the shadows that would not exist without the light at all, and it certainly stands out as result. Clocking in at just over thirty minutes in length, this album is concise and to-the-point, and I hope Throane continues to concoct other such uncomfortable, intense explorations into the shadows of existence.
01) Sortez vos lames, que nous perdions nos poings
02) Aussi féroces que nous repentons
03) Derrière-nous, la lumière
04) Un instant dans une torche
05) Contre Terre
06) Nous blâmons la tempête de nous avoir laissés en plaies
07) A Cette Chute