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Profond Barathre – Tinnitus

Profond Barathre
Tinnitus
by Ian Yeara at 07 April 2021, 1:42 PM

PROFOND BARATHRE is an instrumental Progressive Black Metal band from Switzerland actually, which is neat because I don't think I've had a promo from the Swiss in a long time. I don't usually dig fully instrumental Black Metal, for some reason to me if it doesn't have some guy shrieking like he's about to be executed in the background then why am I listening to this Black Metal. Well it turns out I was wrong, I've experienced a lot of really low quality "Atmospheric/Ambient Black Metal" that maybe has some moments of interest, but is mostly dull boring and terribly mixed. This album is the complete opposite of all of that.

The song writing is actually present, there's lots of shape and form to the songs, the riffs are excellent and most importantly it sounds great. It's still Black Metal, but instead of just being shitty recordings, this was recorded on some really high quality of equipment and then they used effects to give it that dark crunch that it needs, and it works out gangbusters. The bass is perfectly balanced in the mix, the guitars are actually harmonizing and doing interesting things. This is definitely Progressive Black Metal (add the atmospheric label if you want) and it's more interesting than most of the Black Metal I've heard in the last year, including the ones with vocals.

It's kind of difficult to talk about all the songs individually, they're all very long and if we're being honest, very similar in basic structure and sound. Some people hear sameness and think "ew'' immediately, but when a band finds a good sound, I am totally okay with them really stretching it out, and exploring that sound, which is exactly how it seems PROFOND BARATHRE goes about their songwriting.

I know I mentioned it before, but wow is the bass work on this album great. Not only does the bass sound really good, the player really does some neat things with it that I would not usually expect in Black Metal. All of the songs really focus on starting simple and then adding layers and layers on top as the song goes along. They really like the big momentous build-ups that are often followed by more Doomy sections, before moving into thunderous booming of blast beats and layer upon layer of guitar.

What impresses me the most as I relisten to this album for about the fourth or fifth time, is how despite adding layers of noise, it's never too much, you can always hear what's going on underneath, even if it's a little muffled. Very clean and precise production makes such a huge difference; I've worked with guys that can do that level of mixing and production and whew boy, is it tiresome, repetitive, and grueling work. So kudos to the producer of this album, he/she really did a job.

Is it bad that I honestly hate talking about individual songs in reviews? I'd rather either just cover each song individually or cover the album in broadstrokes. I can spend all day here describing to you the sounds emanating from this quintet and yet you will not have learned anything truly useful, it's almost like watching really bad movie trailers. Getting away from my pontificating, I want to share a quote from the band's Bandcamp page, because honestly I think it does a better job at explaining what this album is all about than I ever could:

"Written in a couple of evening sessions during the winter 2017-2018, “Tinnitus” is the ultimate howl of dying old hound. The album has been self-recorded in a minimalistic way: no voices, no synths, no additional guitars, no sample. Just the three shadows of Profond Barathre speaking through their dulled instruments. The celestial canopy is decaying and the ancient spirits are being crushed by their own wretched bodies. There only remains the faraway whistling of the years that have been lost."

I love it when Black Metal bands get all esoteric and pretentious describing their music. Black Metal was forged in the icy mountains and black forest of North-eastern Europe and this album just really encapsulates all of what I come to expect from Black Metal (minus the vocals). It's a solid album, not amazing, not mind blowing (for me anyways), but if you like Black Metal, and especially if you've always wanted some good Black Metal sans the vocals then I really suggest you give this album a try.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Stella
2. Spiritus
3. Anima
4. Corpus
5. Terra
Lineup:
Joachim Braekman – Guitars
Morgan d'Argenteuil – Drums
Julien Floch – Bass
Record Label: Hummus Records
     


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