Moving forward as a musical entity doesn't always mean growing more complex, and it doesn't always mean adding on. Sometimes, as is the case with Swiss atmospheric black metal group Profond Barathre, the only way to go is down: strip your sound down to the essentials and, in that simplicity, find a new focus. After nine years, they're back with a new album that shows how subtraction can ultimately lead to a greater whole: Tinnitus is an austere, captivating journey that crashes down from the stars into fertile earth. Take that trip now with our full-album premiere.

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There's no vocals and synths to be found here, just the resolute necessities of guitar, drums, and bass. On their previous albums, such as Snaar, those extra elements bolstered the band's atmospheric nature, but what remains has gained renewed emphasis that more than compensates. The bass, particularly, plays a huge role in the album's sound, cooperatively driving the melodies with guitar. More bass in black metal is always a good thing, I maintain.

How Profond Barathre approaches the field of atmospheric black metal with a limited toolset here is refreshing. It's simple, perhaps, but not minimalist: tracks like "Spiritus" have colossal walls of sound where interweaving motifs are backed by drumming that focuses on emphasizing meta-rhythm versus sheer power. The tremolo riffs, which can certainly border on staleness in some implementations, are given a dynamic cadence through how the rhythm section interprets them. Every note and beat here matters, and nothing is buried.

Could a more varied, vocal-backed sound have worked here? Perhaps, but Tinnitus is an awe-inspiring work on its own that needs no additional touches. It's no-frills in a genre space that often finds itself bogged down in complexities and needless layers.

Below, find the band's thoughts on the album and each track.

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About the album:
"Tinnitus" has been conceived just after we wrote "Quod Erat Faciendum" with Euclidean. This record was intentionally theatrical, especially on the vocal arrangements. I personally took care of the concept and racked my brain over it. With "Tinnitus", we wanted to create something different, a lot humbler in its conception and also more focused on the instruments themselves. You can always try to wrap your music in the most etheric concept, and adorn it with devilish incantations. If you do it well, it will certainly benefit your project. For our part, we had the urge just to listen to the few instruments we were playing, and not to drown anything in an ocean of tracks, as we did before. We wanted to focus exclusively on their sound, and capture it as it is: natural and powerful at the same time. We recorded the album by ourselves, in our rehearsal room, with actually quite simple gear. And the work that Raphaël Bovey (MyRoom Studio, Lausanne) made on the mix and the mastering is staggering, at least in my opinion.

These are the reasons why we reawakened a long-time sleeping project. Profond Barathre never meant to be something else than the unfiltered musical expression of our innermost being. In that perspective, it suited our purpose better than Euclidean. At the time we wrote it, we were harassed by the tinnitus, to such an extent that one of us had to definitively stop playing. The time had come for us to record something simultaneously mature and unostentatious. So that’s how I would define this album: a modest farewell to the scene we have been active in for so long. If it is definitely over and done?

A few words about the songs:
§1 – Stella:
The first of all beings is an infinite brightness. Unlocated and still everywhere. The Bishop of Lincoln was right. Adam and Eva are for the fool. The supernatural light is the true Eden, and the origin of all things. Matter and Heat are nothing but offspring of a metaphysical luster. The thousand Seraphs are united in existence. Endlessly moving but fixed at same time. Lightening the void. The cauldron of all essence.

§2 – Spiritus:
A pure substance emanates from the first element. Yes, dear Ḥasan, it is true: the eyes do not see. But the brain does not see either. Only the spirit is the real and immeasurable vision. Only the unworldly can stare at the divine light. The perfect self-contemplating existence does not know any darkness. It is perpetually illuminated by the stellar glow. There could have been hope for mankind.

§3 – Anima:
Why does the primary unity have to be shattered? The spirit’s radiance was too strong not to burst. Two entities were born from the incorporeal quintessence. The first is beset by obsequiousness, the second is beset by pride. They do not have any desire though; they do not know concupiscence or lust. They never rest. They do not need words to speak. But the former
is too weak not to love and the latter too free not to hate.

§4 – Corpus:
Through hate matter came into existence. Dark. Heavy. Unwieldy. The souls entered into their prison and because of their hopeless rebellion against the cunning gravity, endured a never-ending agony.

§5 – Terra:
All lights are gone, all air has perished, all pain has ceased. Terra. It is not whence we came; it is nevertheless where we are going to.

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Tinnitus releases February 26th, 2021 via Hummus Records.