Fess it up to my pessimism, or to the fact that II was just that good, but I had little hope for Bosse-De-Nage's third installment in their pseudo post-alt rock-depressive black metal tome of vignettes. With that out of the way, and nearly two weeks of constant listening, III is an outstanding, powerful and ever shifting release that has catapulted Bosse-De-Nage into a stellar space.
Where II maintained a very simple approach, III explodes with potential and vibrant thinking. The album is much warmer and for the most part stays away from the drudge of previous efforts. Part of this is thanks to the robust and excellent production, another reason could be the influence of other genres. Where "The Arborist" starts in very familiar territory, the complete dominance of the drums is a welcomed and noticing change. Never content to play into a standard pattern for longer than a measure, the drummer is constantly exploring new tones and textures utilizing the whole kit and letting lose on nearly every fill. This dynamic of simple black metal riffing and fluctuating drums creates a pleasing, yet engaging atmosphere with energy.
The strength of III relies in the constant shifts and budding sound, yet overall fluidity and tying themes. "Desuetude" explodes with a 90's post-hardcore feel only to dissipate into multiple build ups and following flurries of blast beats and tremolo picking. While "Desuetude" fits, it sounds very different from "The Arborist" and the following "Perceive There A Silence" which trudges at a meandering and downtrodden pace.
"Cells" returns to and highlights the band's dedication and attention to obscure lyrics and prose (another highlight of the band). Spoken words which seem to be largely about interpersonal existence drive the simple marching drums and sparse guitar playing until it explodes into a mid-paced section of layered and tortured screams which subside into a quiet ending. In this development, the song feels much like a story, with building tension, a climax, dénouement, and an end. "The God Ennui" starts as reprise of "Cells" with the familiar guitar line, marching drums and spoken words and slowly buds into a bombastic, overpowering tower of swirling guitars and thundering drums eventually ending in wash of double bass drumming and post-rockish guitars.
"An Ideal Ledge" ends the album on a rather standard note, possibly being the weakest point of the album. I don't particularly mind this as like ramping down from a work out, it gives your brain time to sort out the past 37 minutes that are no doubt running rampant through your head.
Overall III is Bosse-De-Nage's finest effort to date and one of the most inviting and overwhelming releases in recent memory. The constant flux of minimal guitar lines with dynamic structures and omniscient drumming create a well balanced journey and an extremely powerful album.