Oct 2012 02

L’Âme Immortelle - MomenteL’Âme Immortelle
Category: Darkwave / Industrial
Album: Momente
Stars: 5
Blurb: The Austrian duo returns to their roots with this newest album and they forge it in a fire of pure emotions to be their best release to date.


 

Even though there hasn’t been a L’Âme Immortelle release in a long while, one cannot accuse its yin and yang – Thomas Rainer and Sonja Kraushofer – of lack of prominence. Occupied with their own individual acts exploring their own distinctive sensibilities, they are back after four years and Momente finds both of them tied closer to each other than they have ever been and yet, strangely totally independent – two artists with unique properties and their capacity to translate them into one extraordinary record. For those who are familiar with even a tiniest fragment of L’Âme Immortelle’s 17 year long history, Momente will not be a totally unexpected surprise. Its beats and themes are defined by nine previous, studio releases, but regardless, there is still much to discover here and much to behold.

The opening is fitting if slightly pompous; a reading of French poet Théodore de Banville being little more than exercise in artistic self importance. While the actual lyrical content might resonate with the mood of the album, the track itself has very little actual appeal. Atmospheric as it is with sparse use of synths, live instruments, and explicit intonation of the words that seem to pierce through the silence, it is but a brief set up, a device that establishes Momente’s haunting overtones that come later. Following “No Goodbye” is an emotional ballad reliant on a deliberate melancholic pace and for those who’ve never explored L’Âme Immortelle’s work before, a great introduction to Sonja Kraushofer’s brilliant vocal work. “No Goodbye” establishes the overriding dichotomy in execution of Momente where, just like acoustic and electronic, juxtaposed is masculine and feminine, melancholic and energetic.

“Absolution,” from its first shy beats, begins to merge those two dominant modes of expression of L’Âme Immortelle and although the song’s tempo is dictated by rhythmical electronic hooks, it is the gentle, fading sounds of the piano that lend Rainer’s vocal the necessary depth and emotion. His delivery is melodic and quite unlike his usual growling mode exercised on his solo project Nachtmahr. Suddenly and effortlessly, for few brief seconds before it fades, “Absolution” unleashes a hypnotic, memorable finale that, if extended, could sustain an entire EBM feat. Shifts in tone and mood cement Rainer’s and Kraushofer’s versatility and Momente never becomes too reliant on one particular style even if its overarching aesthetic is quite obvious.

One of the most powerful moments on the record comes from dramatic delivery of the chorus in “Wie Tränen Im Regen,” another ballad that belongs in its entirety to Sonja. When the track is stripped to its bare melody, her voice, clear and unobstructed by rich instrumentation, shines through the fabric of the song… not like an instrument even but like an entire orchestra, nuanced and resonant. She achieves a similar emotional response on “Empty” that features equally powerful vocal work but contrasted with a lively pace and heavy guitars. Both compositions are milestones of L’Âme Immortelle’s songwriting and effortlessly combine their artistic occupation and an intense, memorable structure befitting of a crowd pleasing hit like their classic “5 Yahre” from 2004’s Gezeiten.

It’s not until halfway through the album that the two opposing forces of L’Âme Immortelle finally come together. “Demon be Gone” is a track steeped in pounding, resonating rhythms but is defined by two vocals furiously clashing together. Sonja’s and Thomas’s voices are entwined in a lyrical, lovelorn battle and this track, where they appear to fight for supremacy, is entrancing and emotional. A sound of sitar comes as an unexpected yet organic addition that proves the musical complexity of Momente without ever compromising the atmosphere or tempo. “Banish” and “Why Can’t I Make You Feel” are two of the more emotionally charged, potent tracks that strip the music on Momente from its industrial influence and make up a careful equilibrium together with “The Heart” and “Dort Draussen,” which see L’Âme Immortelle, once again, embracing their heavier, dynamic dark side (although, truthfully, between industrial and gothic, who is to say what stands for “dark”). On a release filled with memorable songs, fantastic texts, and absorbing sounds, it is only the closing track, “Hold Me,” that left this writer baffled and unsatisfied. It initially feels like another piano driven acoustic composition but its elevated, melodramatic chorus defies the simple exposition and ultimately, the track feels too rich in exaggerated emotionalism to resonate with the same verve that the rest of the album does.

This writer has always preferred L’Âme Immortelle at their worst behavior, unrestrained by darkwave sensibilities, like they were on Seelensturm. It’s the testament to Momente’s brilliance that they managed to invigorate me and themselves. It’s an even greater testament to the talent of Sonja Kraushofer and Thomas Rainer and it should be discerned not within any artificially erected musical categories but simply as a work of a pair of musicians that achieved an impressive quality of their music at their debut and then kept elevating it until in 2012 they were able to release a masterpiece of their distinctive, affectionate style. Momente is one of this year’s best and might very well be your favorite L’Âme Immortelle album to date.
 
Track list:

  1. L’Étang Mälo
  2. No Goodbye
  3. Absolution
  4. Wie Tränen Im Regen
  5. Empty
  6. Demon be Gone
  7. The Heart
  8. Banish
  9. Why Can’t I Make You Feel
  10. Dort Draußen
  11. Hold Me

 
L’Âme Immortelle Website http://www.lai-music.com
L’Âme Immortelle MySpace http://www.myspace.com/lameimmortelle
L’Âme Immortelle Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LAI.official
L’Âme Immortelle Twitter https://twitter.com/LAI_news
COP International Website http://www.copint.com
COP International MySpace http://myspace.com/copint
COP International Facebook https://www.facebook.com/copint
COP International Twitter http://twitter.com/copint
Trisol Music Group Website http://www.trisol.de
Trisol Music Group MySpace http://www.myspace.com/trisol
Trisol Music Group Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trisol-Music-Group
Trisol Music Group Twitter https://twitter.com/Trisol_Music
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD (Standard Edition)
Amazon CD (Limited Edition)
Amazon MP3
 
2012-01-27
 
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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