If I could just give one piece of advice to any band it would be to never rest on your laurels. No matter how amazing your last release was, no matter how many “Top 10s” you made, never become complacent. Each time you write music you have a chance to tell a story, to entertain, and to amaze people. While I love seeing bands progress their sound, it’s something I harp on a lot here actually, but I don’t acknowledge it enough when a band has found exactly the kind of sound they want and they continue that level of excellence throughout their musical career. Sometimes progression isn’t needed. Once you find the sound that defines everything you want the project to stand for, why change or alter that sound? Croc Noir was one of my favorites last year with their demo Froid. It was a slice of cold, raw black metal that sounded like a tribute to Darkthrone without being a copy. This year they continued the trend of excellent, raw black metal in the same vein as Darkthrone with Nuit.
Armed with a revamped and sinister logo Croc Noir brings us another slice of French black metal. Nuit is a more matured, but angrier version of Froid. All the aggressive melodies and break neck passed guitars and drums are there but there’s also a sense of exploration and experimentation here. Just as Froid wasn’t overlong, Nuit offers us five new tracks (one being and intro) that neither feels too long or too short. While I can always use more Croc Noir in my playlist, their music never feels like it’s getting old. The sounds remain fresh (in a manner of speaking of course) each time I hit play on the tape deck, the only real way to listen to Croc Noir. The music, while still fast and aggressive, has moments of serenity, where an acoustic guitar takes over for a measure or two to slow down the tempo and refocus the album.
The guitar melodies are top notch, they’re fuzzy but not incoherent. I love being able to discern the melody while still basking in the ambient background noise the fuzz and drone create. Nuit still has the sharp edge in the guitars. The vocals are a little crazier on Nuit than they were on Froid. They seem less inhibited and more experimental, ranging from screechy and shrill to deep and bestial depending on the tempo. Croc Noir is more willing to take risks with their vocals on Nuit. It pays off I think. The aggressive tempo of the guitars needs a vocal style that can keep up with it both in terms of pace and intensity. Nuit succeeds.
Each time I listen to Croc Noir it’s hard for me to remember that this is only two guys performing this music. It feels as though they have a whole host of musicians at their call. The sound is full and vibrant. I have to give it to the guys for sticking with the production when often that’s the most tedious part of making the music. They don’t skimp on the sound. They know what sounds good and they know what they want to sound like.
Nuit blends the classic raw, rusty black metal that Croc Noir, and the French scene in general, is known for with haunting interludes that pulls the band above the riffraff. While the album is raw as hell, every so often you get hints of medieval black metal, a style previously unexplored by Croc Noir. I would love to see more of that on their next work. I love medieval black metal and Croc Noir seems built to be able to create it. Whatever they do next though, their Witch’s Sabbath music is sure to impress.
Croc Noir didn’t rest on their laurels from the success of Froid, they instead went out with the intention of creating an even better album. These guys will soon be filling the underground airwaves; of that I have no doubt.
As I listen to Croc Noir more and more, I realize that that they may have sounded like Darkthrone in the beginning but they have moved beyond that. They found what worked for them in Froid and decided to move on with other sounds for Nuit. I can’t say I’m a bit unhappy about that. Croc Noir were a brilliant band last year, my sleeper album of the year really and now they’ve built on that success. Honestly at this point it amazes me that they’re still unsigned. Croc Noir is brilliant, I would have thought some underground label would have picked them up but for now they are mercenaries, killers for hire ready to blast the eardrums of any unsuspecting black metal fan.
Highlights: Ruine, Décharné, Charogne
For Fans Of: Gorgoroth. Wintercrown, Khaospath
Support the artists!
Listen, Like, Share, Spread the Word
Nuit was released independently through Bandcamp on June 3rd, 2017