For their second album, Parisian post-metallers Lost In Kiev have gone all out and released an epic, sprawling opus named Nuit Noire.
Following on from their previous work, [Motions, 2012, and a 2013 split EP with Zero Absolu] the band has chosen to add spoken word samples to their music. They stray from common post-rock convention however, by writing and recording their own tracks, rather than borrowing select soundbites and quotes from movies, as many of their peers would. Two speakers – one male, one female – narrate the haunting songs. I find it interesting that the French musicians have chosen to include English speaking in their music, rather than using their own native tongue.
The concept story alludes to dark and mysterious nights, as the album title would suggest. I’ve never been one to pay much attention to vocals (which is half the reason that I love post-rock), but the vocal tracks do add to the overall mood and not only enhance, but complete the listening experience, like in Ranges track “If I Were The Devil“. I had an honest go of trying to listen to the stories, but found it rather difficult to hear a lot of it within the mix – even after playing with the EQ to try and boost the vocal levels. After acquiring a copy of the lyrics I had a better idea of the story. My interpretation is that two lovers have somehow become separated, and the woman must try to find her partner who has become lost in a spiritual realm.
The albums feels cohesive as a whole, and is all very dark and looming. I guess that goes without saying when the word “noir” features in the album title. The title track “Nuit Noire” features cries of desperation and despair, giving the song an ominous undertone that can be felt throughout the whole album. One of my favourite tracks is “Catalepsy”, which is set in a hypnotist/psychic’s room, and adds an intriguing dimension to the song.
The music is depressing, yet compelling. It’s typical post-rock/metal/hardcore but by no means clichéd. Think Dumbsaint with snippets of spoken word that add to the setting. Eerie scenes are set, and the music rises and lowers as it takes us on an aural journey. Many brilliant moments can be found, but I’ll highlight a section in “Mirrors” where a grueling breakdown with insanely low bass under-riding crunchy chugged riffs transforms seamlessly into spiraling guitar licks.
Nuit Noire starts strong with “Narcosis”, with sinister humming, tribal drumming and the mysterious vocal tracks. The album finishes with “Emersion”, featuring reverberating tapping, and a long deliberate build up, that lets loose towards the ends with rousing chanting and head-nodding riffage to send us off on a high. And everything in between those two tracks is stellar. If you love post-metal then make sure not to miss this incredible release.