Review 1896 : Nature Morte – Oddity – English

Nature Morte is more alive than ever.

Since their first demo in 2016, the trio of Chris Richard (bass/vocals), Stevan Vasiljevi? (guitar) and Vincent Bemer (drums) have been writing non-stop. In 2023, they signed with Frozen Records for the release of Oddity, their third album.

Bruises & Lace, the first track, immediately immerses us in this dissonant, relatively melancholy mix, before welcoming the first visceral howls. The contrast is as striking as soaring, but even when the acceleration invokes the rawest sounds, the band keeps a touch of calmness, confirmed by the quieter parts, just as on The Pier, where airy melodies meet a haunting rhythmic basis just waiting to ignite, guided by the vocal parts. The central break turns into a heavy mysterious lament with a few growls, but saturation resurfaces to lead us into Here Comes The Rain, where the band welcomes Cindy Sanchez (Lisieux) to add a touch of sweetness, barely marred by the vocalist’s husky vocals. Although strange, the ballad perfectly fits with the misty approach before New Dawn brings back the dark eerie sounds, complemented by a few murmurs and then muffled screams as the majestic melodies grow. The sound slowly dies, but is brought back to life at full speed by Monday Is Fry Day and its vivid blast, which gives the composition a more aggressive identity. The break soothes the atmosphere, but it doesn’t last, leaving the band to unleash the throbbing harmonics again, before a strange final, followed by the catchy Banquet Overflow For The Mind House, which offers almost joyful tones before letting the darker elements weigh the atmosphere down. It is followed by Nothingness, where the band call on Lionel Forest (Cloudy Skies) for this short soothing composition, where Gothic influences contribute to the airy calm, before Untitled offers us a strange, disquieting noisy moment. The band closes the album with a very dark cover of Fireal, a composition created by American Alternative Metal legends Deftones, which the band’s saturated touch sometimes weighs down or punctuates, before letting the soothing sounds return.

Nature Morte integrates ever more influences into its waves of dark heavy saturation, creating a unique blend that makes Oddity an album that exploits far more than its stifling Blackgaze roots.


Version Française ?

Few questions to the band Nature Morte after their show at Hellfest 2023.

Here we go! Hello and thank you for your time. How are you feeling?
Stevan Vasiljevi? (guitar): Good.
Vincent Bemer (drums): But not with my feet. (French joke, as “how do you feel” is “comment vous vous sentez”, which is close to “sentez” which means “smell”, ed.)
Stevan: …But not with my feet. Tired, happy, relieved.

Relieved outright? Was the pressure on?
Stevan: Yeah. Well, no, he’s drinking it in now *greasy laugh* (another French joke, as “pressure” means “pression”, which can also used for beers in bar, ed.)
Vincent: Oh, I’m going to like that!
Stevan: Ah, you like punchlines too, they can last a long time.

Yeah, but when it’s too long, it’s no good. So, you opened the festival on the Temple stage this morning, how did the show go for you, both front and back, in front of the crowd and behind?
Stevan: Good, good, good, we were happy to see lots of people from 10:30 onwards, so it was great. 

There were a lot of people, but not enough for my taste…
Stevan: No, it was crowded, it was good. And back, what do you mean by back?

Wasn’t it complicated to come and all that?
Stevan: We’re super well received here, it’s deadly, I mean the staff and everything, we’re received like princes at Hellfest.

The beers are cold!
Stevan: And the beers are fresh. 

Don’t they foam too much?
Stevan: No. 

What does it mean to you to play at Hellfest?
Vincent in the back: It’s shit!

Oh well, I’m off! *laughs
Stevan: Naaaah, that’s cool. As a musician in a Metal band, playing at Hellfest is pretty cool, I think.

Is it like a dream come true?
Stevan: We’re pretty privileged, it’s true.
Vincent: Knowing that I’m the only basic festival-goer. Because they’d never been…
Stevan: It’s the first time we’ve been there.
Vincent: In other words, when they arrive, they’re artists. I was a festival-goer, so I played on a stage.

And do you hang out with these people?
Vincent: No, I don’t like them. We make music together, it’s completely different. *Laughs* It’s a bit complicated to get a pass now, so for the time being I had the opportunity to get one for a few years, they didn’t. 

Did you prepare the ground?
Vincent: Not at all. I told them, you’re on your own, you’re going to arrive and we’ll see how it goes… No, I don’t think we experienced it in the same way in relation to…
Stevan: Yes, that’s true. She really got you.
Vincent: I’ll shut the fuck up then.

Do you want a kiss?
Vincent: No, I don’t like that.

Ok. How did you prepare for this show? Mentally, physically, rehearsals…?
Stevan: Yeah, rehearsals, normal. But then we played for half an hour, so we had to cut our usual set short, so…

As I say, you’re not a Doom band, so you were able to do more than one song, which is good enough.
Stevan: That’s right. We did four in half an hour, so that’s fine….So that’s how we prepared! Rehearsals, treadmill, exercise bike… *laughs*. 

How would you describe the sound of Nature Morte without using the usual « Black/Atmo/etc » labels? Like for beginners.
Stevan: Ahhhhhh….*silence* Independent metal.

Yeah, there’s a lot of effort.
Vincent: It’s like Indie Rock with saturation and a guy screaming.
Stevan: It’s a mixture of pain, finesse and violence … and strength.

We’re right in the middle of BDSM.
Vincent: *very happy* Yeah, a bit! But yeah!
Stevan: Yes, but no.
Vincent: I like this « independent metal ». 

Your latest album, Messe Basse, just turned two this year, and you’ve done quite a few shows to promote it. How did the live test go?
Stevan: We did two tours. We did the Motocultor last year, the Hellfest today, so there you go. We’re still kind of defending this album, waiting for the next one, and then we’ve got Rock in Bourlon.

Ah, the next festival? Good luck with that! Earlier this month you unveiled Oddity, featuring a cover of DeftonesFirewall. To begin with, how did you go about composing the album, and what were the differences with the creation of the previous album?
Stevan: The composition process was identical….
Vincent: He does everything.
Stevan: I do everything and they listen to me. *laughs

Are they the inspectors of the finished work?
Stevan: That’s it! *Laughs* The little staff.
Vincent: He comes up with the songs almost from scratch, we make little arrangements here and there, Chris comes up with the lyrics afterwards, but I mean, most of the instrumentation is done by the guitarist, by Stevan…
Chris Richard (bass/vocals): What are the lyrics?
Vincent: …I don’t give a fuck. 

Lyrics are when it’s written, lyrics are when you’re singing.
Stevan: That’s it!
Chris: That’s the way we’ve always done it, Stevan does most of the work, and if we have anything to say about it, we say it again, but generally we have nothing to say about it, we’re happy with what he brings to the table.
Vincent: Yeah, knowing that there’s nothing to complain about is a bit of a pain when you get to the point where he knows exactly what he has to offer…

It’s pretty good, at least…
Vincent: DUNNO, I don’t know, basically I don’t like it, you see it’s…

Ah, you’re so forced … never happy!
Chris: That’s it! There you go!
Vincent: You’ve seen my brother, I don’t give a damn *laughs*… Oh I get drunk doing this kind of …
Stevan: Yeah.

Just a quick personal question, how do you manage to have so much energy? You opened this morning, now you’re really into it…
Stevan: Oh, we’re just bursting! We’re so exhausted! And the more exhausted we are, the more bullshit we talk!
Vincent: That’s true. *Laughs*
Chris: No, but it’s true when it comes to energy, the more tired we are, it’s like at the end of a tour: at the end of a tour, we’re super energetic, like at File7, we’d just come back from a fortnight’s tour and, er, we’re off! 

You guys are great. What prompted you to cover a Deftones song, because it’s not the usual thing to do?
Stevan: It’s a band we like already, it’s not everyone’s taste, it’s not necessarily a band we still listen to today, but it’s a band we listened to when we started music as teenagers.

When you were young?
Stevan: When we were young, exactly.
Vincent: We still are!
Stevan: And this track in particular, because it’s a rather special Deftones track, evolutionary, progressive, so it fitted in well with what we usually propose in our compositions, so we thought: let’s go for it.

The Pier is a rather intriguing track, featuring some very mysterious vocal parts in the central break. What are your reasons?
Chris: The sort of Tibetan chanting there, you mean? Yeah…
Vincent: Go on, answer! *laughs*
Chris: So how was it created? Well, I’ll tell you… I’ll tell you, my good woman!
Vincent: Go on, Chris!
Chris: Yes, we tried to take a slightly different approach to what we usually do, while not being completely, well, I can’t sing and I’ll never sing, but it was musical references and the fact that we didn’t necessarily feel screams or things like that on such and such a passage, we weren’t… we tried to change, to do different things, I made them suggestions, Vincent wasn’t there at the time so he discovered it late in the day.
Vincent: I couldn’t say anything to this.
Chris: Well, at the same time, it’s not as if it was interesting! *Laughs* It was just that we wanted to do something different, and it fitted in well with the direction of the song, which was… different. 

On the album Oddity, you have two guests: Cindy Sanchez on the track Here Comes The Rain, and Lionel Forest on the song Nothingness. How did you get in touch with them and what was the collaboration like?
Chris: To begin with Cindy Sanchez, she’s the singer of a band called Lisieux, which is based in Toulouse, and I actually knew about her band via social networks, YouTube videos and so on, and I liked it, so I already had the idea of getting a girl to sing, So I sent her the instrumental and the lyrics, and it just clicked. We didn’t meet, she recorded the track on her own, sent us the tracks, we mixed them and voilà! As for Lionel, he’s a friend of ours because he plays in a band called Cløudy Skies, they’re from the Paris region like us, and we’ve known each other for a few years now, and we like his voice, a bit of Nick Cave, a bit greasy and all, and we thought it would be a good fit. 

Thank you. Another track that intrigued me was Monday Is Fry Day, especially because of its name. What’s the story behind it?
Vincent: It’s true that the title is intriguing! I’m going for a piss, sorry.
Chris: It’s the first time I’ve taken the liberty of telling stories, because it’s actually… well, who cares? It’s about Ted Bundy, when he was in the electric chair, it was a Tuesday and people had signs saying « Tuesday is Fry day » because he was being grilled. So that’s what I based it on, then why Monday and not Tuesday is because we’ve, well, I’ve been making music with Stevan for a very, very long time, together we made Monday… I don’t remember what it was called, eh, and then beyond that I just, it’s a story, it’s the story of someone who’s waiting to be executed in an electric chair, and what’s going on in his head at that moment. A bit like us this morning at 10:30.

Chris: Ah, it’s a bit like that, I’m living with unbearable stress, so my Monday is Fry Day was earlier, a Saturday…

Listen, next time I’ll leave you alone, don’t worry!
Chris: That’s not you, 10.30am, that’s the world, that’s the beauty of Hellfest, that’s all there is to it…

It’s the fatigue too.
Chris: Yeah, and stress.

I can see there’s not too much stress, you’re pretty relaxed, that’s cool!
Chris: Absolutely not, if you knew what was going on in our heads right now…
Stevan: No, if it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s more relaxed than this morning at 10:25. 

I’ve got three more questions.  The band has signed with Frozen Records for the release of this album. How did the contact go, and how is the collaboration going?
Stevan: The contact with the label came naturally, in fact a few months ago through social medias they had the opportunity to listen to the album and they loved it and they proposed this contract…

So they came looking for you, did they?
Stevan: Yes and no, because we got in touch with them.
Chris: Yes, they’re people we’ve known before. Well…
Stevan: We already know them from before, they offered us a concert last year…
Chris: The motivation behind the release of this album was really…

Chris: Yeah! A real feeling, a real thing, and communication … well, we’ve got nothing to say, it’s pretty…
Stevan: It’s going well!
Chris: Very, very well! 

Very good! I understand you’re planning a new album. Are you going to stay with them?
Stevan: Yes! The next album, the third, which comes out at the end of September, on September 29th to be precise, will be released by Frozen Records in CD, vinyl and collector’s vinyl versions.

Okay. Just a personal question, since you’re at a festival, you’ve played, now you’re festival-goers, do you have any plans to see any bands today or tomorrow?
Stevan: Yeah! Today… It actually started yesterday, because we were really looking forward to seeing Botch, a band from the 2000s Post-Hardcore scene. It was very good… Carpenter Brut… Tonight I’d like to see Meshuggah for the good stuff in the mouth…
Chris: I’m very disappointed because Booba isn’t here *sigh*
Stevan: Iron Maiden too, Porcupine Tree too.
Chris: And we missed Loathe! It’s very, very similar to Deftones, but it’s great!
Vincent: That’s it, I’m back! And it went really well, my wee-wee!

You make me tired. Well, now that you’re back, what are you planning to see?
Vincent: Well, the thing is, there’s an awful lot of shitty bands at Hellfest, as Chris was telling me 5 minutes ago *laughs*, and er, no, I’m planning to go and see Carpenter Brut, Meshuggah, I saw Botch yesterday, it was sick, Porcupine Tree!

You’re giving me the same list! *laughs*
Chris: … and then Maiden, because it’s nostalgia! And then I’ll go on to Metallica, Sepultura, a little Slayer, and uh… Russian Circles, Cult of Luna… uh, we’ll see what else I’m forgetting… Amenra, ah shit they’ve already been… Uh… Katy Perry, who apparently has something monstrous planned for this year, well there you go ill there’s still a whole load of stuff to see between now and Sunday night!

…Thanks, I think I’ll go out in the sun and burn myself. *laughs* If you had to choose a musician as a guest for the next single, what would you choose? Do you have any ideas?
Vincent: For me it would be… Vincent Bemer, drummer with Nature Morte. For me it’s really, if I can get the chance to play with this guy…
Stevan: For me it would be Mike Patton, for the opportunity to have a real singer! *laughs*
Chris: I’m going solo, I’ll tell you that right now! I’m done with collaborations, they bore me to death!

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