Female-fronted Asphodèle is very new in the world, having existed for less than a year as of this writing. That does not, however, deter them from producing and releasing their first Full-length album, entitled Jours Pâles (which, Google tells me, is French for ‘Pale Days’) – Nearly forty minutes of soft-worded French lyrics, constantly accompanied by simple, yet powerful rhytmic guitars and incessant drums. And, on tracks such as ”De brèves étreintes nocturnes” (the second one on the record) the somewhat light and near-angelic vocals of the female singer is given ad added depth and edge by a male growl; One that astute listeners to the French Black Metal scene might recognize as the primary vocalist for the band Aorlhac.
This, as well as the fact that both bands are French and play Black Metal, are the only things that the bands have in common however,.
Where Aorlhac plays a more traditional style of Black Metal (traces of which can also be found within Asphodèle), Asphodèle is, in contrast, a more slow, continuous and overall more ‘casual’ in its music, for a lack of a better term. The title track, for instance, has both spoken passages (in their native French, of course) as well as instrumental pieces spread out across its almost seven minutes worth of playtime. This works rather well alongside the very light and near-effortless performance by the vocalist, chaining Jours Pâles as an album together into something akin to an audio-novel – One that I, admittedly, understand very little of without the help of my trusted advisor Google Translate. That being said, I have grown more and more fond of the French language over the years as a medium for artistic and lyrical expression – For me, it fits the music perfectly and, in essence, functions as yet another powerful instrument.
While I by no means intend to diminish Aorlhac as a band (especially since I happen to be a fan), I will point out that Asphodèle is quite a different beast entirely. A beast with eight musical parts as of today, which I will most definitely recommend to any fans of Lifelover and even Trautonist – Make no mistake, Asphodèle is not at all a Shoegaze band, but they have managed to integrate some of the more appealing aspects of this genre into their music.
Below can be found a link to the second track on the album, entitled ” De brèves étreintes nocturnes”, which roughly translated into ‘Short Nocturnal Hugs’. Please enjoy. I know I did.