Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées (Prophecy Productions)
By: David E. Gehlke
[8/10] Quite the wonderful world we live in when Alcest and Les Discrets are releasing albums around the same time. The pair have come to define the neo French atmospheric metal sound, with both finding their own ways to strike mesmeric moments of audio bliss and despair. We can’t quite call this a “scene,” for there’s only two bands inhabiting this sound/style, but don’t be surprised if imitators start crawling out of the woodwork. That’s just how metal operates…
Ariettes Oubliées (“Forgotten Ariettes”) is Les Discrets’ second full-length, the follow-up to 2010’s simply breathtaking Septembre et ses dernières Pensées, an album with a virtual stockpile of charming and harmonious soft-metal moments. Guided by mainmain Fursy Tessyier, Les Discrets have honed-in their sound on Ariettes Oubliées, meaning they’re operating on a much more direct clip. The album is bereft of the quick interludes that broke up its predecessor, but at the same time, possesses songs that are more full-bodied and deep, such as the shoegaze-meets-doom “La Traversée” and 80’s Goth-flavored “La nuit muette.”
There’s no dominant thread between the album’s eight songs, and its ability to spread the band’s sonic template out means the real standout tracks (i.e. “Le Mouvement perpetual,” “Ariettes oubliées I: Je devine à travers un murmure...” and “Après l' Ombre”) are less than part of the whole and stand out more on an individual basis. This is best reflected on “Le Mouvement perpetual,” where a chiming guitar melody binds together with Tessyier’s dreary vocal angle. It’s undoubtedly one of the band’s most alluring songs to date.
Far from a disappointment (it would be awfully difficult to top Septembre et ses dernières Pensées), Ariettes Oubliées sees Les Discrets wisely take a step away from its predecessor. It’s the type of move that should be expected coming from a self-aware artist like Fursy Tessyier, and if anything, it provides the ability to move laterally within the sound he’s carved out for himself. It must be nice being original…things probably happen a lot easier.