netra is a one-man project from France that combines Depressive Black Metal with Trip-Hop and various other musical elements.
Formed in 2003 by multi-instrumentalist Steven Le Moan, netra released its first album “Mélancolie Urbaine” in 2010 via Hypnotic Dirge Records. After relocating in the city of Gjøvik, Norway, he released his second record “Sørbyen”. In 2013 Steven Le Moan collaborated with Californian Rap duo We’re Wolves, creating an interesting hybrid between Black Metal and Hip-Hop. After moving to Auckland, New Zealand, netra unveiled its newest album entitled “Ingrats” (ungrateful in French).
This record is an astonishing soundtrack of several different musical genres, perfect for an urban late-night walk. Covering a grey, oppressive and tormenting urban image, netra managed to create an odd mind-blowing mixture between Depressive Black Metal and Trip-Hop. I personally think that this is the first band to achieve the impossible, namely, combining in a very successful manner two different styles. This so called “Urban Black Metal” reminds me here and there of Lifelover and the legendary German Ambient/Jazz group Bohren & der Club of Gore.
The record begins with a Jazzy intro “Gimme a Break”, throwing afterwards the listener in a harsh Black Metal mood with “Everything’s Fine”. The alternation between heavy blast beats, tremolo guitars, piano fragments and harsh/clean vocals create an anxious atmosphere. “Underneath My Words the Ruins of Yours” brings a much more atmospheric climate, alternating Post Rock elements with electronic music and reaching the high peak of the album with track “Live with It”, a pleasant combination of clean vocals with acoustic guitars and electronic music. Having a short instrumental intermezzo (“Infinite Boredom”) the record continues with the excellent saxophone sorrowful track “Don’t Keep Me Waiting”. Sick growls with Atmospheric Black Metal, electronic elements and Trip-Hop are to be found on “A Genuinely Benevolent Man”. The dark walk through the urban jungle continues with “Paris or Me” and “Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve” ending with a superb Jazz track “Jusqu’au-boutiste”.
As I said before, netra combines the best of Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal with Trip Hop and Jazz, packing everything under the anxious and depressing image of a decadent and miserable urban life. Who knows…..maybe Steven Le Moan will release another “sick” masterpiece of hate and despair once he will move to another major city.
After listening to this album multiple times I’ve come to a very strange conclusion. Cities can have after all a major roll when it comes to inspiration. So, apparently, Black Metal isn’t only about forests and coldness and has multiple other mysterious paths…….but never disappointing.