One of my favourite musical discoveries this year was Funeste, a brutally heavy black metal band from Montreal. Their blend of sludgy, dark, black metal was exactly the type of record I was looking to enjoy all summer, which is exactly what I did. So, when I heard that Funeste’s only two members (Yannis Panos and Léo Fradet) had also created another musical project, I absolutely had to check it out. 28 Degrés by St-Petersbourg is a post-rock, electronic instrumental record that features both Funeste members, as well as Sébastien Caron, William Gilboërnand, and Pierre-Martial Gaillard. And while it sounds completely different from what Funeste’s demo sounds like, make no mistake; this record still has a gloomy atmosphere, but in a completely different way.
The record begins with “Ibernare.” If this record were a movie, then this would be the opening theme song; it does a perfect job of introducing you to the type of sound you’ll be enjoying. It’s a heavier track than what you’ll find on the rest of the record, but still introduces us to the atmospheric feel that is present throughout. “Perdition” slows things down, and has a slightly pop edge to it. Don’t let that fool you, though. The track still has that dark presence, and a middle section that speeds up and evokes an uneasy feeling, almost as if the track itself is trying to break out of your speakers and grab you by the throat.
“Myosis” is definitely my favourite song on here. It’s full of echoey guitars and eerie sound effects and, bringing back that movie analogy from earlier, makes me think that this song would make the perfect soundtrack to a horror movie. Title track “28 Degrés” is another great song. Distorted bass and drums carry it, as the guitars and keyboards slowly build up and take over the track.
Finally, the record ends with “Aux Dernières Neiges ” and “L’issue.” In French, “Aux Dernières Neiges” translates roughly to “The Last Snow,” and that’s precisely the image that popped into my head listening to these final tracks. I couldn’t help but picture myself in a big, open field that’s completely covered in a beautiful layer of snow while this record played in the background.
Something I loved about this album was the fact that, even though there are no lyrics to speak of, the entire record has an overall theme and a story that it’s trying to tell. But, because of the lack of lyrics, it lets the listener decide the story for themselves. I imagine everyone that listens to this will interpret the story in a different way, drawing upon their own imagination and past experiences, and that’s precisely the beauty of it. Every listen so far has evoked different imagery and feelings for me. That must truly be the sign of a great record.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Kate Erickson