1. A Dance With The Asphalt
2. Crawling
3. Soerbyen
4. A Kill For A Hug
5. Streetlamp Obsession
6. Emlazh
7. Wish She Could Vanish
8. My Ill-posed Life
9. It’s Kicking In
10. Concrete Ocean
11. Strange Bliss At Dusk
12. I Shall Slay The Monkeys

Steven Le Moan

Mélancolie Urbaine (2010)



Released 2012-09
Reviewed 2013-03-21

hypnotic dirge records

One man bands from France seems to be the thing I have these days, just the other day it was Deathronic and now it is Netra. I think though that the similarities end there as Deathronic is a lot more conventional and Netra is nowadays Norwegian as the man behind it has moved to Norway and I suppose we can say hence the name of the second album. I would have to say that cover artworks is not something that is the thing of this man, both albums looks quite dull on the outside but when reading the info about the band you get a sense that there is much more excitement there than first meets the eye. “With influences ranging from the moodiest jazz music to black metal and trip-hop, netra has always been about challenging the listener's open-mindedness.” That is what you can read about this one man band when it is being sold by their underground label Hypnotic Dirge Records which is a Canadian label that you just have to love the name of. But what do I think about this album then? it does seem exciting at first glance (or second at least).

Well, musically it is a melting pot of different influences and musical styles, that much is correct from the description and trying to make a description that anyone can make heads or tales from is just pointless as the complexity of it is too difficult to describe in words. The mood is about “these horrible feelings, this underlying depression and boredom of city life” and that is more or less what you feel when listening to this album. The different musical elements all unite to convey this feeling and it is put together in such a way that it never feels incoherent or anything like that, and just that alone must be said to be an impressive feat. That is not all however, the production is quite strong with a good sound and it blends together all those many seemingly incompatible elements into one strong unit, there is a bit of underground in the sound though but not so much that it is really a problem for the songs or the album. Need I say that the variation of the album is quite large? I think you understood that and the album is a story in twelve chapters that plays for just over seventy minutes and seventy minutes is quite long in most albums but not so for this album.

I have to say that albums like this is why I endure all those crappy or generic or dull albums that can almost ruin one's day, albums like this that breaks off from convention and makes you sit up and take notice. I don’t think it rivals the absolute best albums of the year, there are some things that prevents that but it is still that sense of ideas and of thought that I think is so important in art. It is just that much more fun when someone threads down paths no one else wants to go, I wish more music did so I have to commend Netra for the exciting musical journey I have been granted with this album that quite well describes how I feel about city life. Fortunately I do not live in a city so I don’t have to endure that, but if I had this album would have been a good way to close myself in a bubble against that boring life outside this bubble. I should explain the reason for not saying this is amongst the absolute best while still praising it, and that is because I think the black metal parts are not that good and especially the growling thing sounds just bad to me but that is really the only thing that I don’t like with this album, even the extremely long playing time works for me in this album.

A word of caution is needed though as I must point out that this is an album that requires a listener that cares about listening to music and cares about music so all you silly people that bury your nose in the smartphone and just walk around having some music on in the background can forget about this album immediately as it needs you to really listen in order to unlock its greatness. In most regards a brilliant album where I think Wish She Could Vanish is my favourite song but I really like this album as it is something you don’t hear every day and as a seasoned reviewer I like that kind of thing. So if you are open minded and likes exciting music that doesn’t follow the established rules then you should really have a look at this album as it is great.



Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records
Three similar bands: Ulver/Autumnblaze/Germ
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Review: Daniel Källmalm

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