Kevin : Melancholy, sad melodies, subtle keyboards, a typical French sound and tormented vocals. That’s Ars Moriendi in a nutshell.
After just having listened to a split release featuring this solo project I immediately get to go on with a full length album by Ars Moriendi. Instantly noticeable are the clear production and the higher quality of the compositions compared to those on that split. Composer and artist Arsonist has clearly spent a lot of time and effort on this. He takes us on a journey to the inner core of his heart. Five lengthy tracks pass us by, while saturnine guitar riffs hang like shrouds of frost from the branches of trees. The drums are the crackling gravel beneath our feet, the echoing synths are the cold, humid air in these forlorn fields. The only discernible warmth emanates from the bass.
Along the way we notice that our travel companion has some clear mental issues. Whispering barely audible words at one moment, singing tenderly the next, only to scream his lungs out seconds later. The road is long, the atmosphere desolate yet Arsonist knows how to work a lot tension into his music to keep it captivating. During ‘Entre Les Deux Royaumes’ we find ourselves in a no mans land between to realms. The guitars and drums are mute now. A pulsating bass line and a subtle layer of keys form the backdrop to a spoken tale by Arsonist. He is doubtlessly telling us about the darkest corners of his heart. From there we continue our journey and a slightly weaker track follows. Here I am reminded of how A.M. sounded on the split with Notre Amertume, where older work was presented. I get the feeling this song is from an older period. The next song proves this by showing Arsonist as a composer that has grown as a musician. A stunning, jazzy bass line and a layer of keys that has been interwoven with fragile guitars instantly take you to a dreamy place. Here I am reminded of Alcest. Subtle bass work, emotionally charged guitar solos, Arsonist is going all out here. Later, screams and clean vocals alternate to form a beautiful ending for a solid album.
To sum it up, this is a good album, filled with emotionally charged, melancholic black metal. Highly recommended for those who are into this kind of music.