Espérer Sombrer is one of the best post-hardcore albums in recent years, the ferocity and construction of the songs unparalleled. Vesperine has unleashed a debut to behold and fear.
Everything Is Noise is pleased to present not only our review of Espérer Sombrer, but also the full album premiere of Vesperine’s debut full-length record too. Prepare yourself for some of the most furious music of the year so far. You’ll find the album stream at the bottom of the page, and links to the band’s social media above.
Espérer Sombrer opens with a savage howl from the lead singer, before wave after wave of crushing riffs and drums smash into you. The whole first track, “Clair Obscur”, is titanic, thrusting you back into your seat or knocking you off-kilter as you move about. The band channel doomy riffs alongside post-metal tunings to create a storm of guitars, with notes that hang and reverb containing raw energy. The result leaves you feeling oppressed and moody – and this first track is only a minute long.
To keep this immersive mood intact, Vesperine flow from “Clair Obscur” into track two seamlessly, something that I feel is so important when trying to create such an atmosphere in an album. The second song released off of Espérer Sombrer, “Nous, si photosensibles”, opens much, much slower, with a steady drumbeat filling in the mix. Often throughout the record, you’ll find that Vesperine have crafted the songs in a hypnotic fashion, surrounding you in a binaural atmosphere. You get that exact feeling from this opening section and many other parts of the song. When the vocals return, they sit on top of a thick layer of metal, which at times sounds like it wouldn’t feel amiss as the anthem for a Mad Max war party. The French lyrics are perfect for their sound too, and the way they are delivered in raspy stabs compliments the crushing music. Later in this song you’ll hear the band slow right down, drawing sharp reminders of Follow The White Rabbit and Amia Venera Landscape, due to the way their music ebbs and flows from calm madness to violent frenzy.
However, Vesperine introduce different elements to their music than these bands. You’ll hear that as the tempo builds and the band begins transitioning to a climax in each track. The guitars get more distorted, loose, and with more noise introduced, which only adds to that sad and oppressive atmosphere mentioned earlier. This builds to a raging fury at points, such as at the end of “Mille Colours”, a song which builds up and up, before hitting a devastating and noisy climax. Listening to this song on big speakers with rich bass makes you feel like you’ve entered a black hole, with all other sounds except the band drowned out, making it a really surreal experience.
Vesperine is yet another quality product from the French metal scene, and with a few more releases as incredible as Espérer Sombrer, you might start putting them on a pedestal alongside Gojira. Their sound feels influenced by them in ways – certainly the furious bass and guitar tones, which never cease in their onslaught. Vesperine has progressive elements in their music, making them a true hybrid of prog, doom, and post-hardcore/metal, similar to Neurosis.
Espérer Sombrer means ‘To Hope, To Sink’, a feeling portrayed very well in the music. As you reach the depths of the record, you’ll find the music very slow, but the atmosphere incredibly melancholic, which reminds me of The Ocean‘s Pelagial. This descent into sadness makes the fifty-minute playtime of Espérer Sombrer worth experiencing in one session, and you get to appreciate the way the band have crafted this album to be an intense aural experience.
Stream the album in full right here! Espérer Sombrer is available for pre-order!
One of my favourite experiences on the album is when the guitars pan from left to right, creating that hypnotising binaural feeling. It crops up often, yet one of the best can be found in the slow, sombre “L’Immensément Noir”, a track which really lulls you into a false sense of security before the finale of the album. A fourteen-minute journey closes out Espérer Sombrer, which after a crushing post-metal entrance, throws in elements of death-metal too. As the ferocity of the drums builds, the aural experience gets better and better, the layers colliding with each other brilliantly and tearing you well away from the thick layers of melancholy heaped on earlier. Yet the length of this track allows Vesperine to slow down one last time, introducing Tool-like elements to their music with thick bass before a final noisy climax, bringing this exceptional record to a close.
Espérer Sombrer sits proudly in my top three releases for this year, and rightly so. I was drawn to Vesperine thanks to their first EP Parmi Les Autres, a three-track monster, which is absolutely worth your time. You’ll hear a marked improvement in the production that really helps, especially when the band are using panning to create the stifling atmospheres. I’m hoping that with the resource of Apathia Records, we’ll see these guys out on the road in Europe and the rest of the world in the next year. Overall a brilliant record by a hot new band. Make sure to let us know what you think of the record!