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The Tracks of the Haunted
Type: CD
Company: Indy Release
Release: 2016
Genre: Black
Reviewer: Greg Watson
Post Black Metal from Canada to chill your blood
Winnipeg's Noire are a band that came across my path recently and I have been enamored with their EP since it first started playing in my ears. "The Tracks of the Hunted" has some of the most beautifully crafted music that I have heard in a very long time. Considered a post black metal outift, "Hunted" has a few moments of traditional black metal with a heavy dose of Opeth/Porcupine Tree music thrown in. I honestly found myself thinking about Opeth's "Morningrise" album quite a bit while listening to this but also found myself enjoying what Noire had created here. The musical quality on this album is some of the best I've heard all year. And it's not super heavy at all, though there are some points where there is some really driving guitarwork that sounds like it was pulled out of the black metal freezer. It's cold, heavy and crushing, much like a heavy snow in Winnipeg or Norway I would imagine.

The atmosphere created by the music is what makes this album so incredible to me. The piano that is sprinkled in, minus the sole track that literally has piano in the title, adds a hauntingly beautiful quality to the majestic acoustic guitar work of Bob Fitzgerald (who doubles on vocals) and Andrew Lawes. The meandering, lush acoustic pieces are totally captivating and are easy to get lost in. In particular, the final track "My Name" features some of the most incredible acoustic work on the album. At times, it feels slightly depressive yet uplifting all at once. Another feature that they use sparingly but well are the anguished screams and wails that permeate the track "Eternity". The screams have an otherworldly quality to them, almost a banshee like wail that just sends chills through your body.

The black metal that does creep into the EP is extremely cold, extremely well-executed and just a bloody good time. The production on the album is really solid, it's clean, crisp and punchy when the heaviness starts up. The one drawback is the mellowness to the album, which might be why an EP was released. A full album like this, similar to Opeth's "Damnation", might start to grate on people's nerves after a few listens. But be that as it may, I am still fully enamored with "The Tracks of the Hunted" and highly suggest going to Bandcamp to get this release. Fans of pure black metal will lambast this release until their corpse paint fades off but it's post black metal, not traditional black metal and Noire does both elements incredibly well. Check this one out, you won't be sorry!

About this Writer:
Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

All reviews for Noire:
The Tracks of the HauntedNoire
Greg Watson9/28/2016

All interviews for Noire:

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