Sora tries to find clarity with madness on Throane’s icy, epic album ‘Plus une Main à Mordre’

How much suffering is enough? Everyone has a limit, and pushing oneself beyond what is manageable is not healthy for any person’s metal or physical health. When must one let go of the torment? At what point is it acceptable to stop suffering and simply slip into reflection.

Those are questions raised by artist Dehn Sora on his second record under the Throane banner. “Plus une Main à Mordre” (translated means “No Hand Left to Bite”) delves into that territory, wondering when it’s OK to go from chaos into reflection, a matter that’s not easily resolved. The answer lies in every person’s hearts, and there is no solution that works across the board. Sora sings in his native French, so anyone held back by language might not absorb every message he’s conveying, but the music is the great delivery tool, which crashes through all barriers. For Sora, who has done graphic design work for bands such as Blut Aus Nord, Ulver, and Deathspell Omega, this record marks a serious step forward creatively for this project. Sora handles just about every inch of this immersive, hypnotic record, save for the contributions from drummer Gregoir Cortier (Cortez), as well as Colin Van Eeckhout (of Amenra) and Sylvain (Incivil Tragedia). It’s a major step up from his very good debut album “Derrière-Nous, La Lumière” and a sign that Throane is going to be a force moving forward.

“Aux Tirs Et Aux Traits” has hypnotic tones and raw growls as guitars soar, and a halo of chaos is unleashed. The vocals remain monstrous, but the music turns cold and serene. That freezing continues and pushes into noise that wells up and barrels through. The track then reignites, as gruff fury takes this to an abrupt end. “Et Ceux En Lesquels Ils Croyaient..” is both atmospheric and animalistic as it gets moving, as dark playing and a melodic rush combine and thicken the darkness. The vocals feel like fingernails scraping a metal sheet, while Sora’s yells echo, and the song melts into time.  “À Trop Réclamer Les Vers” is really strange and disorienting at the start, with the growls going deeper and the music heading into shadowy dreamland. The song pounds away with precision, as the music causes you to go dizzy, and everything ends in a haunting assault.

“Et Tout Finira Par Chuter” contains psyche-rich riffs and a cool tempo before nasty growls blast in, and the bass recoils and brings painful darkness. The music heads into proggy black metal territory, as the growls are crazily barked, and then calm washes over everything. Out of that, the attack begins again as the growls bruise the flesh, and the songs comes to a rupturing end. “Mille Autres” starts with uncomfortably heavy breathing, but then the clouds burst and bring a freezing pain. The track gets spacey and strange, as desperate cries tear into the ground, and a pit of agony swallows you whole. Guitars cry out, while the vocals are choked, and the song goes back into sub-freezing temperatures as it folds its doors. Closer “Plus Une Main À Mordre” swims into a noise cloud, as the song heads into dark, moody waters, and then the lid is ripped off the thing. Spacious guitars also enter the mix, as the song feels like a fever dream from which you can’t awaken. Crazed wails and chilled singing combine, sliding behind the chaos, while the melodies fold into each other, giving the song a hypnotic finish.

I’m not sure whether Sora found the answers he was seeking with “Plus une Main à Mordre,” but the horrifying vortex created by this music indicates he sure went through hell trying to reach a solution. Musically, this is Sora’s vision coming into greater clarify, even while the tornadic music causes mental confusion. Removing oneself from chaos and sinking into clarity isn’t a mission easily accomplished, but Sora tried like hell to demonstrate how it can be done.

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