Décembre Noir – Pale Serenades

After four full lengths between 2014 and 2020, which brought them to be one of the leading realities of German death doom, Décembre Noir propose this interesting ep entitled Pale Serenades in which four previously published tracks are reworked and interpreted by as many singers; the operation succeeds very well, because the songs are subjugated to the vocalist on duty so much so as to make them seem newly minted, such are the substantial changes made in the arrangement phase. It starts with A Swan Lake Full of Tears, taken from the more recent The Renaissance of Hope of 2020, with Mick Moss (Antimatter) whose peculiar timbre makes the song a melancholic acoustic gem, while the following Barricades, originally included in Autumn Kings of 2018, sees the contribution of a tutelary deity of those dedicated to this subgenre such as Aaron Stainthorpe: again, the result is magnificent, with the My Dying Bride leader’s voice able to drape over the whole a drape of mournful abandon. After two rather intimate and rarefied episodes, the register changes decisively with Small.Town.Depression, taken from 2016’s Forsaken Earth, which takes on guises ranging from ebm to gothic rock thanks to the presence of Michelle Darkness (Michael Huber) of the magnificent End of Green. The journey back through the Erfurt band’s discography ends with The Forsaken Earth, a song from their 2014’s debut album A Discouraged Believer, in which the presence of Trivium’s Matt Heafy gives the track a modernity taken to the extreme, shifting the coordinates far away from the intimate atmospheres of the first two tracks, which, personally, I consider them so successful as to justify this release on its own, despite the next couple are not at all despicable, although if they lack the emotional impact given by Moss and Stainthorpe’s masterful interpretations. While waiting for a new full length, this Décembre Noir operation can be defined as absolutely successful, so those who appreciated their work in the past decade should have no qualms about making their own this valid digression.

2022 – Lifeforce Records