Written by: Izzy
Have any of you noticed this trend in recent years of more post-black bands mixing in elements of post-hardcore, and vice versa? Harakiri For The Sky, Asunojokei, Cara Neir, Unfurl, Oathbreaker, Glassing, King Apathy, John The Void, Møl, they all do it, and as both a hardcore nerd and someone who's often annoyed by the stagnation of black metal due to the attitude of trve kvlt worship many bands have, it's a trend I've loved to see popping up.
I adore black metal, it's easily one of my favourite non-core genres, but post-black especially is where I get off, as you can likely tell by the Sunbather aesthetic plastered everywhere on my Instagram (@izzlesreviewvault yes I'm a self promoting shill.) I'm absolutely a sucker for any bands that know how to blend the heavy, melodic, emotional, and vicious aspects of the genre or experiment and mess with the genres aspects all together, and no one does that better than the post-black community. But despite my adoration for a good black metal album I'm not particularly active in the black metal community for, uhm... obvious reasons.
Back on topic: L'Homme Absurde are another example of this wonderful and fascinating trend amongst the blackened metal sphere. A post-blackened post-hardcore with post-rock elements band of sorts, they undoubtedly have a very distinct sound, it’s clearly got all these elements sewn together gorgeously, but it's hard to fit into one box without being reductive. As you should know by now, that's always my favourite kind of sound. I love any band who defies a singular label, and are able to carve out a sound that’s so interesting or unconventional that you can’t cram them in a box without something spilling out the sides. They dwell most often in the vein of post-black metal, but venture off into the territory of hardcore and post-hardcore on the occasion, often adding either a very welcome tinge of post-hardcore's twinkly catchiness and knack for melodies, or hardcore's crunch and grooviness.
Their music blends these elements together wonderfully: post-black’s signature melancholic beauty mixed with throat tearing screams, much more akin to the hardcore side of the spectrum with their less shrill and more robust delivery, which provides that intensity and feeling of release, catharsis, and ferocity. Meanwhile, the instrumentals either reinforce that feeling by providing an extra layer of vehemency with sharp black metal riffage and hardcore chugging, or create a contrast between them by showcasing the bands phenomal melodic aspects, slow and dulcet or energetic and striking.
Belong is a visceral and raw album, it tears open old wounds anew, it is a fearlessly emotional and irascible project from to back. Maybe not one that will leave you balling on the floor like me on a Sunday evening after listening to Sunbather and eating 3 packets of instant ramen, but you will feel L’Homme’s soft, delicate fingers slipping in between your heartstrings and dancing around them, waiting for a moment when you’re feeling just a tad bereaved to bear its claws and yank.
If blackgaze is too soft for you, and you’re craving some gritty post-black with both beauty and bite, look no further. L’Homme have crafted an album that is gorgeous as it is fierce. While their last album was good, it was somewhat by-the-numbers for this brand of Harakiri-esque post-black, but on Belong they develop and expand their sound in amazing new directions and leave us with something truly great, and a feeling of intense excitement for what comes next. I hope that not only do they evolve and expand on this formula, but also that other bands from across the black metal spectrum take notes, and learn from L’Homme Absurde’s willingness to forge such a captivating mix between fury and feeling.
L’Homme Absurde - Belong was released on Jan. 17th
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.