ARTIST: Noir du'Soleil
ALBUM: Into the Sun (Deluxe Edition)
LABEL: Darkest Labyrinth
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
The latest signing to Japanese label Darkest Labyrinth, Australia's Noir du'Soleil incorporate the classical bombast and drama of Japanese visual kei with the dance floor aggression of German terror EBM. Starting off with processed music box chimes that degrade into industrial noise on instrumental intro track "Prelude of the Sun," the album proper begins with "Nightmare," a hard-hitting club anthem that utilizes melodic goth vocals and rich synthesized orchestration to achieve a mood that's more somber than raging; "Dreams Through Fire" seems to go in the same direction, thanks to a choir synth arpeggio and lead singer Koe doing his best Dave Gahan impression, but as the chorus kicks in, his voice slips into a vocoder-assisted demonic rasp that's every bit as evil-sounding as anything you've ever heard on a Hocico or Suicide Commando album. This juxtaposition of the melancholic, sentimental side of electronic music with its hardest edges is a motif Noir du'Soleil returns to again and again; "Le Blue et la Pluie" tricks you into thinking it's a dreamy dark rock song in the vein of The Cure, then wrecks everything with skittering glitches, and "Broken Arms" starts off with baroque-inspired piano and harpsichord phrases before launching into aggressive EBM. Actually a reissue of Noir du'Soleil's limited edition debut, this comes packaged with a bonus CD featuring over an hour of remixes, many of which are just as impressive as the originals. Blood guitarist and Darkest Labyrinth label owner Kiwamu contributes a guitar-laced alternate version of "Nightmare" that recalls latter-day Razed in Black, and Italy's XP8 offer a take on "Dreams Through Fire" that starts off as a more clinical club-oriented approach but takes a sharp turn into wistfulness on the bridge. Noir du'Soleil's own Koe offers, among others, a "Slow Version" of "Broken Arms" that might better be subtitled as an "Epic Version." A journey of nearly a quarter of an hour, it starts with distorted pianos underscored by subtle studio effects, then builds into an atmospheric magnum opus of thick electronic textures and guttural distorted vocals. An impressive debut given an even more impressive reissue treatment, this release makes a fine addition to the Darkest Labyrinth team and is sure to please fans of EBM, darkwave, and visual kei alike.
Check out the Darkest Labyrinth website at http://darkestlabyrinth.jp/ for more information about Noir du'Soleil and the label's many other fine acts.
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