DARVULIA – L’alliance des Venins LP
Released on CD in 2005, “L’alliance Des Venins” has long been considered by many to be among the most prominent recordings in the canon of French Black Metal. While Darvulia’s influence may not be as widely recognized as some other French acts such as Peste Noire or those in the LLN camp, the band’s 15 years of existence is a testament to the power of the music. That the band only has eight official releases (including just three full-lengths) to its name during that time is evidence of the deliberate manner by which Darvulia sets about writing and recording material and explains the remarkably high quality of the band’s catalog. “L’alliance Des Venins” is arguably the most substantial statement made by the band, and may easily be considered among the most impressive, if often overlooked, Black Metal releases of the past decade. Darvulia incorporates melody, intensity, and discordance in equal measure into the overall tapestry of its sound. Assertive passages of rapid and sprawling melody give way to mid-paced and down tempo atmospheric segments pregnant with the tension of restraint. Woven throughout the album are astounding riffs that shimmer with melancholy minor key dissonance. The effect calls to mind some of the more atonal aspects of Piggy’s playing in Voivod, but the riffs here are firmly embedded in the sweeping, sorrowful, and decidedly French, Black Metal tradition. The overall impact is wholly unique. No other band in Black Metal quite utilizes shifts in tempo and prominently misaligned harmonies to such tremendous effect. The production on “L’alliance Des Venins” also deserves comment. The album is never blown out or overdriven, leaving intact the disorienting interplay of incongruous notes while also maintaining and merging the visceral attack of each instrument. The production, like the songwriting, never incorporates any extraneous and unnecessary elements, and, in this way, Darvulia relies precisely upon those sounds needed to achieve the desired effect and nothing more. The cover art, a simple rendering of the main de gloire or hand of glory, is as evocative and austere as the music within and bespeaks the potent and mystical aura of death that the album exudes. At its summits, “L’alliance Des Venins” attains a state of grandeur and brilliance of form that casts the album alongside the greatest in the genre. Includes A-2 poster and printed inner sleeve.
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