Among the many forms of metal, black is arguably the one that focuses the most on exploring the peaks and abysses of human perception. One of the most common tendencies over the last decade or so are the many one-man bands that more and more frequently attempt this search for a personal interpretation of reality and knowledge.
Grisâtre ("greyish" in French) is the brainchild of Rokkr, a multi-instrumentalist that covers all the aspects related to lyrics and music, and even the visual part of his work. "Paroxystique" is the third album released under this monicker and published by the obscure music oriented Italian label Dusktone (that has been doing a really good job in recent times), quite anticipated by the fans of the more atmospheric and meditative area of contemporary black metal.
The artwork conveys a sudden sense of emptiness, a portal that takes us to the greyish perceptions that crowd a mind struggling to comprehend. The structure of this album features three relatively short instrumentals that frame the two longer ones "Contemplation" and "L'Astre Gris", which include French lyrics sung in scream. As we have learned from the previous releases, grey is the main theme in Rokkr’s production, not a definite and sharp grey, but instead some sort of veil that enshrouds of inner and outer perceptions, with the end of "L'Astre Gris" that signals the oblivion of both darkness and light, somewhere in between. The concluding title-track moves like a slow spiral that confuses our senses, and then gets a bit more insisting before going back to silence.
"Contemplation" is quite a standard ambient-tinged black metal song, while this tinge is better represented by the three instrumentals. Generally speaking, this is a good record that fans of this style will probably like, especially if they have been following the French project in the past. However, there seems to be something missing that could separate it from the bulk of the similarly-influenced albums; also, the two tracks with vocals might result a bit too long.