Label: Void Wanderer Productions
Date: February 26th, 2021
It’s always been a love / hate relationship between France and me, whichever way you look at it. I love the wine, but hate the food. Love the painters, but hate the writers. Well, most of them anyway. Absolutely love the history of the place, but hate the rulers. Love their death metal, but black metal out of France, however religiously followed by the underground (and otherwise) crowds never seemed to impress me. Be it the ancient LLN movement or the experimental, avant-garde contemporary acts.
You name it, I will find a number of faults I find within. Weird, but what can I do? Other than take on another French black metal band for evaluation. And a one-man band, to top it all off. Not a promising premise to begin with. Furthermore, I’m dealing with a newcomer. Tattva came into existence last year. Another not so good premise. The one thing I can imagine is that the project came out of quarantine. Out of sheer boredom. And then I see that there are already two releases, albeit shorter, that came out in the same year. Summing it all up, there was nothing good to look forward to here.
I was definitely not judging a book by its cover. Especially since the cover for this album is very good. Appealing, to say the least. Though I should have given such a judgment.
Simply put, “Nirjara” captivated me somewhere around the second minute of the playtime. That’s even weirder, considering the fact that I’m not dealing with an easily digestible record. Even taking into account the genre determination there is no easy way to describe these forty-five minutes.
Sure, let’s call it black metal. It certainly might be construed as the main axis around which this album revolves. Blatantly speaking, it is Norwegian influenced, fairly old school and composed using the basics of the genre. However, “Nirjara” constantly evades the narrow-minded understanding of its music. Enhanced with death and doom metal add-ons, it takes us on a path that branches out into myriads of different sides. Consequently, I cannot avoid thinking about an overly black metal version of Bloody Sign, their renowned countrymen. While that might be the closest reference to what is going on here, it is not a complete description.
As I’ve already mentioned, Tattva does not strive for technicality. The ingredients used on “Nirjara” are quite simple. Even raw at particular moments. However, the mixing and arranging of these individual parts is what creates almost original outcome. Especially when it comes to the atmospheric side of the album, which is the key feature this French guy set out to achieve. Though the record doesn’t go for aggression more than it is necessary, then the atmospheric side of it is made to perfection. It is even quite melodic, at times. The album is flowing nicely, though it is sort of sliced up between differing musical pieces. Tempos often change, leading instrumental pieces intertwine, and the whole definitely sounds very rich.
Now, it is obvious that such multilayered music must be keeping up with the nowadays standards in black metal. And it does. Tattva is most definitely exploring the similar ground as many other contemporary acts. Only, this French outfit is still keeping very close to its actual roots. “Nirjara” is not an album for the purists, but it is also not for the present day philosophers who openly despise the foundation stones of the genre. Simply put, Tattva performs music that will appeal to open minded black metal fans who are always on the lookout to expand their understanding of this musical direction.