French black metal artist Ouranos—a one-individual project created by the musician Silmar, who handles the guitar, vocals and synth duties—has created a memorable album for his sophomore release, Voir La Lumièr. A faint buzzing starts album intro “Apnée,” slowly joined by drums, vocals and foreboding synthesizers. At nearly eight minutes, “Apnée” feels like a test of Ouranos’ capabilities. The other four songs on Voir La Lumière up the album’s intensity, striking a balance between aggressive and atmospheric.
The presence of synths is a major part of Ouranos’ sound, offering ambience and new melodies on top of the traditionally-expected black metal instrumentation. One of Silmar’s stated aims when beginning the project was to further expand the relationship between synths and black metal established on Mayhem’s Deathcrush. With Ouranos’ new album, that vision feels like it has been further recognized: the synths heard on the album serve as organic parts of the music, not simply set dressing.
“My tinnitus, carefully tuned by twenty years of dedication to black metal, and life’s hum and noise sometimes become alive,” Silmar tells Decibel. “As Ouranos‘ second album, Voir la lumière (‘to see the light’) is the biggest step so far to get closer to the music that plays in my head. This is Ouranos‘ densest, heaviest and most cohesive release, where my doom-influenced black metal meets experimental and psychedelic electronics once again.”
Voir La Lumière is out April 1 on Sludgelord Records but Decibel is streaming the full album below.