Led by Falls of Rauros' Jordan Guerette, Foret Endormie takes quite a different route to what we can expect from the black metal guitarist. This chamber ensemble draws its influences from the past, be it the modern take on classical music implemented by the likes of Erik Satie or the poetry of the decadent movement, mainly Paul Verlaine. This is the main quality that makes the band's debut record, Etire dans Le Ciel Vide acquire such a retro characteristic, seamlessly transporting you to the 19th century.
The ambiance that the record presents is the key aspect towards this nostalgic quality, and it is where Foret Endormie also differentiates. Usually it feels like chamber music is confined within a space, be it through the sparse instrumentation or a lo-fi aesthetic, but Foret Endormie actually opens up the scenery. They do not appear to be bound or confined to an enclosed space, and instead roam freely through this magical world they have created. The neo-folk element, influenced by masters of the sound like Sol Invictus, allows them to expand on their sound, surrounding themselves in a more open environment. The inclusion of vocals is another variation from the norm, with the dual delivery of Guerette and Beever adding more depth and granting an ethereal dimension to the music, as is the case with moments like “The Clearing.”
In the core of the record there appears to be something very delicate and fragile, represented in the subtle melodies that evolve through the crystalline notes, as is the case with the beautiful phrases of “String & Hammer I: Sylvan Wayfaring.” It aids in the construction of depth in the scenery, and works also with the sustained parts that Foret Endormie explores in “String & Hammer II: Pastorale” as slight augmentations from the background instrumentation add to the narrative. It is quite astonishing how the acoustic guitar manages to work within that context, but the manner in which it is placed and the minimal performance, as parts of “Meditations on Disquite” showcase, it is able to grant a sense of movement and warmth to the progression.
Etire dans le Ciel Vide is a record that displays a highly romantic quality, something that is vividly displayed through the melodic leaning of the band and the use of such sweet notation, but it still contains a darker side. The final part on the band's trilogy “Hammer & String III: Baleful Apparitions” unveils the bleaker perspective Foret Endormie take on, switching from the serene settings to a more haunting landscape. It is a further exploration on the stylistic tendencies the band takes on, and it also displays how much more lies beneath the surface and how extensive the palette of this record is.
7.9 / 10
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