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Aube Grise’s "Mauvais Augure" Echoes a Sophistication Beyond Their Ambient Black Metal Appeal

Mauvais Augure

Mauvais Augure

Distant Voices continues to be one of the most resolutely underground labels that I have ever come across. Every Distant Voices release has been given a strictly limited run, never topping a hundred hand-numbered copies. It is a purposefully alienating philosophy that proves no less than perfect for their black ambient and DSBM roster—all projects you’ll never have otherwise heard about. Even if the quality behind some of these projects can be iffy, I think Distant Voices’s perpetual determination to produce art without the hope of wider success puts them on the map, at least in an ultra-niche sort of way.

Aube Grise is a more recent addition to the Distant Voices circle. Anna M., the central mind behind the project, has had a longstanding role with the label, often contributing layout and artwork. It’s only fitting that she would put out her own material. She’s accompanied on the project by Thomas Bel, whose particular brand of funeral folk has already been glimpsed by our own Malachy O’Brien this past summer. After having heard several of Distant Voices’s releases, Aube Grise’s strung-out, raw DSBM is hardly surprising. This is an exceptional sort of truly miserable depressive black metal. Mauvais Augure is seemingly devoid of energy, lifelessly wallowing in sadness and plodding, simple riffs. If the description ended there, Aube Grise would be easily disposable. Rather, the real beauty of Anna’s work here lays in the fact that she’s been able to imbue that familiar template with the less common longing of Romanticism. Even in the album’s driest moments, there is a distant echo of hope and beauty.

Thomas Bel of Aube Grise | Credit: Matthew Swiezynski

Thomas Bel of Aube Grise | Credit: Matthew Swiezynski

In fact, the closer you put your ear to Mauvais Augure, the more apparent it becomes that Aube Grise is drawing from more than the barest DSBM essence. Her gentle piano work and lighter sections are boundlessly more interesting than the boring black metal. More surprising still is when the music takes a more punk-based turn; hearing sudden spurts of life and energy on an otherwise miserable affair are an easy way to catch a listener off-guard. It should also be said that Mauvais Augure continues to improve once it steps away from its lacklustre opening. While the sneaky influences manage to somewhat liven up the bland take on DSBM, Aube Grise is vindicated by their classical influences. If some of the material here is any evidence, future work in the neoclassical end of dark ambient music could bring the project up to another level entirely.

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Track List:

01) Tes Yeux Brisés
02) Mauvais Sang
03) Sur Ma Peau
04) 1909
05) Rouge Pâle
06) Je Me Laisserai Faiblir
07) Aube Vieille
08) Tes Yeux Lassés

Written by: Conor Fynes
Label: Distant Voices (France) / DV016 / CD, Digital
Ambient Black Metal / Funeral Doom / Lo-Fi