The Tracks of the Haunted
Post Black Metal from Canada to chill your blood
Winnipeg's Noire are a band that came across my path recently and I have been enamored with their EP since it first started playing in my ears. "The Tracks of the Hunted" has some of the most beautifully crafted music that I have heard in a very long time. Considered a post black metal outift, "Hunted" has a few moments of traditional black metal with a heavy dose of Opeth/Porcupine Tree music thrown in. I honestly found myself thinking about Opeth's "Morningrise" album quite a bit while listening to this but also found myself enjoying what Noire had created here. The musical quality on this album is some of the best I've heard all year. And it's not super heavy at all, though there are some points where there is some really driving guitarwork that sounds like it was pulled out of the black metal freezer. It's cold, heavy and crushing, much like a heavy snow in Winnipeg or Norway I would imagine.
The atmosphere created by the music is what makes this album so incredible to me. The piano that is sprinkled in, minus the sole track that literally has piano in the title, adds a hauntingly beautiful quality to the majestic acoustic guitar work of Bob Fitzgerald (who doubles on vocals) and Andrew Lawes. The meandering, lush acoustic pieces are totally captivating and are easy to get lost in. In particular, the final track "My Name" features some of the most incredible acoustic work on the album. At times, it feels slightly depressive yet uplifting all at once. Another feature that they use sparingly but well are the anguished screams and wails that permeate the track "Eternity". The screams have an otherworldly quality to them, almost a banshee like wail that just sends chills through your body.
The black metal that does creep into the EP is extremely cold, extremely well-executed and just a bloody good time. The production on the album is really solid, it's clean, crisp and punchy when the heaviness starts up. The one drawback is the mellowness to the album, which might be why an EP was released. A full album like this, similar to Opeth's "Damnation", might start to grate on people's nerves after a few listens. But be that as it may, I am still fully enamored with "The Tracks of the Hunted" and highly suggest going to Bandcamp to get this release. Fans of pure black metal will lambast this release until their corpse paint fades off but it's post black metal, not traditional black metal and Noire does both elements incredibly well. Check this one out, you won't be sorry!