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The dream of mid-00's France is alive in the music of Område, whose upcoming second album Nåde is streaming in its entirety below. The band succinctly and accurately compare themselves to formerly-black metal outfit Manes, who were one of a handful of European bands that blended trip-hop, emotional rock music and metal during the mid aughts.

An effete and hyper-specific sub-genre intersection, this sound was never very popular. It doesn't even have a catchy genre tag. Though this sound co-existed with hyper-commercial black metal, it never had that many practitioners. Område keep a laser-focus on it, which affords them a few advantages. First, it's one of the few genre blends that is well-articulated but not well-explored. The road map they follow has clearly defined lines and plenty of GPS reference points, but the roads are still mud and gravel. Second, like many such internet-propagated niches, it can boast of a small but frothy-mouthed cabal of fans, who will go out of their way to consume it (not many people tried this out but the handful that did stuck the landing pretty much every time - think of blackgaze before any Americans tried it). I am one such listener, and Nåde absolutely slots in with its influences in terms of sounds and quality.

An added bonus, Ulver spent a great deal of time in this bayou before releasing this year's The Assassination of Julius Ceasar, which seems to be their most popular album in years and may ignite more interest in this sound. I mentioned blackgaze before, and if there's a black-trip (yes, finally a genre tag that seems right!) gold rush for this genre that mirrors that one, Område are sitting pretty.

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Nåde is out on May 26 via My Kingdom Music. Order it here and here. Follow Område on Facebook.

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