Pénitence Onirique – Vestige (Review)

Pénitence Onirique - VestigeThis is the second album from French black metallers Pénitence Onirique.

It seems like ages ago that V.I.T.R.I.O.L. came out, and it was 2016 I suppose. The record made an impression, so I’m pleased to now be presented with its successor Vestige; 53 minutes of new material.

The first thing to strike me about Vestige was that the song lengths have, on average, been pruned back. At a mere eight minutes in length, the opening track is under half the length of V.I.T.R.I.O.L.‘s opener, for example. The band make good use of the time they have, however, delivering sharp, lethal black metal played with passion and fire.

The music is modern black metal, but isn’t afraid to be influenced by the legends of the style when it needs to. The resulting songs flow and twist, combining complexity and straightforwardness with ease and skill. The vocals are quite diverse; we get piercing screams as the main style, augmented by grim screeches, deep daemonic growls, and cleaner vocals, all performed admirably.

With a good ear for dynamics and a blackened melody, the band’s new work is involved and intricately-composed. Atmospheric and powerful, mixing a forthright nature with more textured depths, these songs are both engaging and enjoyable as they move through the album’s duration. The songs draw you in and contain plenty of hidden depths that only really become apparent once you take the time to get to know their layered ways.

Vestige improves on what Pénitence Onirique were already good at, and is an album to be embraced and explored by any fan of modern blackened art.

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