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Black Metal’s Bleak Edge: Précipices Stays Sharp on “Seulement le Monde”

seulement le monde

French metal has proved to be a humble force in today’s scene, with fresh figures like Alcest subtly serving as the face of rock music’s future which, pre-Soundcloud oversaturation, was looking quite uncertain. As hip-hop’s supremacy in the grander scheme of music may be starting to grow stale, there is perhaps no time like the present for the metal community to face forward. Back on North American soil, Québécois duo Précipices brings the spirit of French heavy music with their debut full-length Seulement le Monde released last Friday. While rock might be maintaining its pulse, that does not mean that post-metal has remained untainted by the pain and regret of the past, giving a sound marked by unmuddied production cut with a bleak edge.

Translating roughly to “just the world,” Seulement le Monde is the welcomed expansion of ideas first introduced in 2017 with the La pénombre de l’agir EP. Polished, but not necessarily pretty, the four tracks document the intensity of living in a modern cityscape like the one depicted in the album’s artwork. Thoughts and emotions, however, run much more deeply than the surrounding color palette. The hands of this conflict are especially thrown in La pénombre de l’agir’s title track. The sounds of the city’s cadence — sirens, horns, whispers, and so on — fade in and out before two riffs play out the high and the lows of bright and bustling black metal.

The dyad, whose core members consist of M. and K., decided to open Seulement le Monde to vocalists Alexandre Thibault and Valérie Longpré, with Longpré’s poetic work serving as a major source of inspiration. The additions make for an even fuller, more well-rounded sound. Most notably, Seulement le Monde masters a third way found somewhere between metal and hard rock. Précipices may be blasting beats and picking tremolo-style, but these elements lack any screechiness, achieving a dire tone with an air of approachability. Shorter passages like “Repère 2ième partie – Si je marche” also prove just as satiating as longer feats. By forgoing the length quotas that say, doom metal, occasionally prides itself in, Précipices practice a healthy habit of expanding on an idea until it has reached its saturation point.

While the essence of Précipices is embodied in tight songwriting and recording, it is also woven into the fiber of their name. Précipices is a cognate of precipice, referring to a towering cliff overlooking a steep drop. The troop has made it to the top, long-since fulfilling whatever black metal birthright bands were supposed to fill. Now, it’s on to something different. That being said, from their towering vantage point, Précipice s is about gazing forward, but also taking one last melancholy look over your shoulder.

Seulement le Monde is out now on Bandcamp. Follow Précipices on Facebook.

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