Decembre Noir - A Discouraged Believer (2014)
Review by Trevor Proctor
Decembre Noir was initially formed in 2008 as a two piece by Daniel and Sebastian but after writing a number of tracks they decided to expand by incorporating three new members with Marcel playing guitar, Mike on bass and Lars performing vocals, and so the current line-up of Decembre Noir was formed.
They hail from Erfurt in Germany and have just released their debut album, A Discouraged Believer on the FDA Rekotz label which is home to bands such as Morfin and Skeletal Remains. Decembre Noir’s music features a number of styles and showcase many influences with all members contributing to help create melancholic and emotional death/doom – A Discouraged Believer was produced, mixed and mastered by Alex Dietz (Heaven Shall Burn) and Eike Freese Project Mayhem.
Opening track A Discouraged Believer starts with a chunky yet slow riff and once the vocal kicks in with the words “darkness and emptiness” the tone is set for a seven minute introduction to the emotional music of Decembre Noir. Just over a minute in the heaviness gives way to a spoken word section with stunning effects and clean guitar in the background in turn giving way when the pace and heaviness suddenly pick up again – the seven minute duration of the track is perfect as it enables Decembre Noir to give us a good sampler of the music to come – quite heavy at times yet stunningly beautiful at others, the pace never stays static or constant for too long. This is a powerful track and excellent starter for the album; I like bands that vary sounds, tempos etc. and Decembre shift from style to style without any problems, using each contrast in sound most effectively.
Third track, The Forsaken Earth starts on a calmer note, clean guitar soothing the ears and mind, leading you nicely into another seven minutes of accomplished, impressive music. The intro to this track lasts a minute and a half until Lars’ growled vocal shatters the relative calm – this is another gem of a track that flits from style to style; from intense, heavy chugging riffs to cleaner, quieter guitar work it’s all here - that’s part of the beauty and appeal of what Decembre Noir have achieved with this stunning debut, they never stick to one style for too long yet each and every break in tempo and pace is used effectively, grasping the attention and snapping at your conscious rather than just being there for dramatic effect.
Closing track Escape to the Sun sees Decembre Noir further explore their creative side, there’s a section mid-point with clean harmonised vocals between Lars and a female singer, but yet again it works and contrasts nicely with the heavier sections either side - an excellent, glorious way to finish the album.
Whilst instantly likeable this is an album that impresses more with every listen - at times its head bangingly heavy, at others its heart wrenchingly melancholic yet at others again it’s laced with snippets of dazzling beauty – this is a superb album especially when considered as a debut. The press release I received drew similarities with, among others, early Katatonia and Opeth – normally a statement like that rings the alarm bells in my mind but on this occasion I have to agree, there are moments here and there reminiscent of those bands but most importantly they are only small parts which are woven into the complex and varied tapestry of Decembre Noir’s own music, in turn creating their own original sound.
1 - A Discouraged Believer
2 - Thorns
3 - The Forsaken Earth
4 - Decembre Noir
5 - Stowaway
6 - Resurrection
7 - Escape to the Sun
A Discouraged Believer is available now on CD, Vinyl and Digital from FDA Rekotz