Album Review: Orakle – “Éclats”

(Apathia Records)

It’s getting to the point where you can assume a new French metal band is going to be quality. Gojira is the best tech/groove band (sorry Meshuggah). Hypno5e writes beautiful, haunting music. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord revitalized the black metal scene. The list goes on. What’s especially impressive is how the bands end up carrying a similar aesthetic, despite the obvious sonic differences. There’s a wistfulness, a sense of beautiful melancholy that permeates most if not all French metal. Songs carry a very strong cinematic feel. Let’s add to that mix these (at least to these ears) Parisian progressive black metal newcomers. Orakle, like many progressive black metal bands has toned down the black metal aspects over time and amped up the prog elements. There is ample use of dissonance throughout, only making this album more enjoyable over time. No matter the journey because the destination is pretty damn great.

What works most in Orakle’s favor is their songwriting ability. Sure, we aren’t bringing in cheap choruses or djent riffs, but Éclats is carried by the quality of the songs. They ebb and flow naturally, so that transitions in and out of the more extreme (read: blackened) segments feel necessary and expected, instead of random and haphazard. Take “Le Sans de la Terre” for example. Like the best prog, this ten minute song never feels like it’s overstaying its welcome or carrying on past its prime. Different moments of songs flow seamlessly, and the song’s momentum never dies. Vocalist Fredric Gervais deserves a ton of credit balancing everything, as his melodies are as gorgeous as his shrieks are terrifying.

Overall, it’s pretty clear how much time and effort was put into Éclats, as this is a powerful and tough listen. Subsequent listens only make the pretty madness more enjoyable. Orakle has managed to sound quintessentially French while forging its own path. (Nicholas Senior)

Purchase Éclats here.

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