August 28, 2013

Menace Ruine - Alight In Ashes

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by S. de La Moth

As metal becomes increasingly hybridized, with more sub-genres and novel combinations springing up all of the time, discovering something genuinely new becomes increasingly rare. Still, every once in a while something comes along that sounds like nothing else, but itself, and that is certainly the case with experimental Montreal duo Menace Ruine. Their fourth full-length, Alight In Ashes, is their most ambitious to date, employing much cleaner and more sophisticated production than any of their previous efforts. The band's two members (S. de la Moth and Geneviève) have assembled a sound that they can genuinely claim as their own out of a relatively few key parts: muted percussion, complex and droning guitars, and at the forefront of every composition, Geneviève's insistent, haunting voice.

Photos by Pedro Roque.

The layered production is unlike anything I've heard before, with some elements, like the vocals, set in stark relief, while other elements are heavily veiled, as though seen through smoke, as a barbed riff or aching trill of a cello will drift in only to be obscured. They certainly brush against other influences. "Salamandra," for instance, has an eerily psychedelic quality, with hints of folk, occult rock, shoegaze and even a touch of black metal staining the edges of the sound. Menace Ruine certainly don't exist in a vacuum, but though moments of comparison to Nadja or Bloody Panda may come up, in terms of a certain technique or moment, their sound and compositions are entirely their own: fresh, surprising challenging and distressingly beautiful.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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