Miel Noir – From the Ashes


[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]

After the renowned “Honey & Ash” of 2011, the project of Dimo Dimov and Marcel P. (both of whom have worked with many important post-industrial and neofolk acts, such as Svarrogh, Allerseelen, Fahl, Stumprecht, Sagittarius) is back with a new full-length, that becomes massive in its limited 2-CD edition – including the 3-track EP “Rising” and the download code for the single “Not Sorry – offering a total of nearly 90 minutes of music. The duo is aided by four female vocalists and by Gerhard Hallstatt of Allerseelen, who has written the music for two tracks: “Abgrund” that maintains the hybrid industrial/folklore orientation of his main project, and “The Scars to Prove It”, the heaviest and angriest track in the album. On the lyrical side, it’s worth noticing the interest for poetry that inspires many of the songs, with lyrics borrowed from Friedrich Rückert (“Frühlingsruf”), Emily Brontë (the live-recorded “In Empty Coldness”), Charles Baudelaire (“L’Ennemi”) and Stefan George (“Wo Eine Stunde Alles Gab”).

As always it’s hard to align this multi-faceted creature that is Miel Noir to a specific genre, since there is a variety of influences in here, ranging from martial-industrial to EBM, from alpine-folk to neo-classical, from dark-ambient to eurodisco. Everything is anyway linked by the experimental spirit of this project: listening to “From the Ashes” I imagined these two guys in the studio, having an idea for a song or a certain musical style that they wanted to bring into a specific track, and developing it in a very instinctive way, with a creative urgency that is clearly perceivable. Any of these songs has a good idea behind it, or something that distinguishes it from the others, may it be the dialectic formula of the vocals in “Follow the Waves”, the anthemic chorus of “See You on the Other Side”, the overwhelming bass synth of “The Scars to Prove It” or the drum’n’bass speed of “Crack the Whip”. Some of these tunes will soon stick into your mind, and one of the causes is the talent for slogans that Miel Noir have: just listen to the title track to understand the communicative power of that chorus that goes “Rebirth! Renewal! Resurrection!”; but there are a lot more examples all throughout the album. You have the overall impression that these tunes are strong in themselves and don’t need complex scores with many overdubs: they work fine even in this essential layout. It’s true that some tracks have a lo-fi feel, and in some cases at a first listen you might feel the necessity for more production, more refined sounds, but you’ll soon notice that the energy that’s inside this record compensates for it all. Let’s spend a word also on the bonus material, that assures a complete listening experience, bringing even more eclecticism to a record that’s already varied and full of intuitions. I was particularly impressed by “Batshitsane”, the third track of the mini-album “Rising”, a song where everything from the lyrics to the cabaret-like piano and melody recalls the DIY genius of David E. Williams. And finally there is the A-side of the single “Not Sorry”, with that retro-dance feel given by the vocoder. In the end you’ll notice that they had fun in the making of this album, that they wanted it to be direct like a kick in the face, without frills, and this guarantees the listener’s entertainment.

Miel NoirFrom the Ashes
Indiestate Distribution, IST 090 CD
CD 2015

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