French project Paramnesia may not be a name on the lips of every black metal fan just yet, but their sound is one that is much loved the world over and their full length debut is sure to push them into the minds of fans of the Cascadian sound championed by Weakling et al. Paramnesia is a gorgeous, raw, magical and intense record, and coming on the back of an incredible split with UNRU and an initial demo which paved the way to today, Paramnesia will certainly hit new heights with this release.
1. (Psychiatry) psychiatry a disorder of the memory or the faculty of recognition in which dreams may be confused with reality
We have an exclusive stream of the first track from Paramnesia, “IV” which follows the flow of releases quite succinctly (the catalogue includes tracks I – III, naturally) and these two new pieces of music showcase a much more rounded and technical approach without losing the emotion and weight of the band’s first forays into black metal.
“IV” and “V” both wade in the waters of the American/Cascadian sound, which is somewhat unusual for a French act – more often than not, bands from France will have a much rawer tone or tread the path of gorgeous post-rock – yet Paramnesia stands ahead of the pack with a record that bites and curls around the heart, and progresses with beauty and hate in equal measure. The melody is held deeply within both tracks, only shimmering through at select moments, and the vocal is slightly stepped back to give an aura of mystery – an aura which follows the band itself, as not much information is forthcoming as to who is involved in this project. But such things don’t matter when the music is this good. “IV” caresses the atmosphere with glorious depth and shade, the track shifting from pounding drums, incredibly quick guitar work and suffering vocal lines to occasionally allow a modicum of sublime harmony to push through. Howling screams play off pulsating beats to create a generous air of utter despair, and Paramnesia blur the lines between what can be seen as beautiful with passages that breathe with elegance, yet drip with vocalized agony.
The comparisons to Weakling, and in turn Wolves In The Throne Room and Skagos, are difficult to turn away from, but Paramnesia are so adept at creating soundscapes that any such similarities are a bonus rather than a hindrance. The palette takes in ravaging drums, a vortex of guitar and a voice so laden with burden that it becomes painful to hear, and as such, this young band have much to digest in their array of tones. “IV” gives way to the grand scale of “V,” which continues to walk in the footsteps of “IV” and ramps up the majesty ever further. Where “IV” has occasional shining moments, “V” completely wallows in misery, misanthropy and wretchedness, with the slower-paced moments full of desolation and horror. It’s a stark, cold piece that works its way into your soul and clouds it in darkness for the entire twenty minutes it punishes. Paramnesia are not about creating wonderful and serene movements, and the two tracks on display here are desperate in their machinations – all icy fingers and cold touch. The band whip up a swirling and passionate scream for finality in “V’s” dejected undertones, and with it comes a distinctly distressing melancholy. Paramnesia is a stunning work that needs to be heard.