Jours Pâles – Tensions (Review)

Jours Pâles - TensionsThis is the second album from French post-black metal band Jours Pâles.

Last year’s Éclosion came out of nowhere and hugely impressed me. I ended up enjoying it so much it appeared on my end of year list too. I wasn’t expecting another album so soon, but here we are with Tensions, which contains 61 minutes of new material.

Two things struck me initially when approaching Tensions. The first was the more modern and colourful style of artwork, and the second was the increased average song length. So, what have Jours Pâles brought to us on their new creation?

These new songs build on Éclosion‘s good work, further developing the band’s individual and idiosyncratic sound. This is done by highlighting many of the traits that were present on Éclosion, and then enhancing them.

The songs are more aggressive and heartfelt. The latter aspect is a key part of Jours Pâles’ success. The emotional depth of the music reaches further, and the atmospheres crafted are more immersive. The melodies are brighter and richer. The classic black metal elements are less-obviously delivered this time, despite an actual increase in aggression overall. While the aggressive side of the music has been heightened on Tensions somewhat, this is never to the detriment of its emotive impact or to the characterful flow of the song structures.

One of the striking things about Éclosion was the vocals. On Tensions, much like the music, these have been taken to the next level, and everything from the screams to the shouts to the cleans sound strong and dripping with passion.

Taking familiar ingredients such as the blackgaze, depressive, atmospheric, melodic, Gothic, and post-black metal styles, along with bits of heavy metal and hard rock, Jours Pâles bake these together into something that genuinely tastes like few other offerings out there. I loved that about Éclosion, and I love it even more about Tensions. The ingredients of both albums are the same, but on Tensions Jours Pâles take things further and deeper, resulting in an album that simply shines with multifaceted lustre.

Wonderfully unconventional, Jours Pâles are iconoclastic, and when it comes right down to it, Tensions is just a great album to listen to.

Essential. If this had been released earlier in the year I wonder how far up my end of year list it would have travelled?

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