Hypnotic Dirge Records 2013
France's eclectic and eccentric entity, Netra return with its sophomore effort, Sorbyen. The album is beautifully enigmatic as the music shifts through degrees of melancholic black metal painted with strokes of ambient and trip-hop styles. From the dark and sultry piano and emotive, sung vocals that take you on a nocturnal sojourn for the first segment of A Dance With The Asphalt to the sinister, yet melodic black metal of its latter portion you get an insight to the depth and scope of the album. The dreamtime synth and clean vocals of Crawling remind me somewhat of final album from Manes. It's a very reserved track that fills me with a sense of longing and hurt. The title-track carries on the solemn, solitary emotions but frames them within a trip-hop beat. And then I am struck by buzzing black metal riffs and a drum machine beat that borders on Burzum-esque, that is until it shifts into another trip-hop beat that throbs against twinkling synth. The frigid guitars sweep back in accompanied by soaring vocals. Part II of the album starts on the tragically mournful Wish She Could Vanish. A tapping beat contrasts against the disharmonic guitar line that crests towards a blackened riff on the chorus. The vocal line rides a monotone approach as well until it floods itself with emotion on the chorus. A bluesy guitar seeps into the song's innards while it lays itself for all to see. Some Pink Floyd-esque guitar plinking creates a vast canvas across which a brooding bassline and whispered vocals drag your subconscious into areas that are both seedy and thrilling. Concrete Ocean has a rolling motion in its riffs and is about as black as Netra gets. Raspy vocals and crisp guitars are juxtaposed against a fiery guitar solo and some unnerving synth that stabs at your psyche. The album closes on an unsettling note with I Shall Slay The Monkeys. The synth lines are maddening and the beat fights against the reverberating guitars. The song then explodes into extreme black metal. The snyth enhanced melody would not be out of place on an album like Transilvanian Hunger. However the drum machine and maddening synth lines would certain cause some alarm. Netra has always been one of those bands that pulls me out of my comfort zones. On Sorbyen I get lost in alleyways of regret, the night time illumination is the only thing to guide me as I am swallowed in loneliness.