Monday, 5 August 2013

Sombres Forêts, Chasse-Galerie, Thantifaxath and Crépuscule @ Théatre Plaza, August 3rd 2013

After a succesful show in Québec City last week, Sombres Forêts played their first show in Montréal in 5 years. The only difference between the two shows were Csejthe being replaced by Thantifixath. Unfortunately for me because I've seen the latter and I really wanted to see Csejthe, I consider their debut to be one of the best recent black metal releases but since they opened for Nargaroth/Mgla in March and Absu in April, they weren't booked for this show and it's understandable, I should only go to more shows! Anyway, the weather was grey, perfect for a night of dark emotions. The Théatre Plaza wasn't as packed as the last Messe des Morts (the same promoter, Sepulchral) but around 300 persons were present for the show.

- Doors : 19:30
- Crépuscule : 19:55 - 20:30
- Thantifaxath : 20:45 - 21:25
- Chasse-Galerie : 21:40 - 22:25 
- Sombres Forêts : 22:40 - 0:00

Crépuscule opened the show with their blend of almost instrumental black metal with post black and even shoegaze elements. It's a project of Bardunor of the aforementioned Csejthe and it's quite different from his main band and also not as good as many parts are disjointed. The transitions between the songs weren't as good as on their very good debut album "Néant" released in 2011. I enjoyed their set as I knew what to expect, the musicians were pretty good and the bassist was nice, very audible with her clean picking. It was their second show ever and it showed but they were still pretty interesting. Promising band, although the songwriting needs some work and the vocal department needs some improvement. Compared to the 2 other openers, they were a good fit for the headliner.

Thantifaxath from Toronto were next. I've seen them at the latest Messe des Morts and the set wasn't quite different. I thought their set was too long the last time and it was unfortunately once again the case here. I do like their sound but after 20 or 25 minutes, I'm starting to get a bit bored and they played for 40 minutes or so. Their sound can be described as orthodox black metal, it's fairly fast, cold and lifeless, hard hittin' and kind of simple. I think it's too redundant and samey though and better on record. Talking of studio recordings, the band will release their first full length this year on Dark Descent and I'm pretty sure it will be pretty good. They have a good atmosphere for a trio and their artistic approach is undeniably good (with their black hoods similar to Black Witchery) but their black metal doesn't work that much for me live.

Chasse-Galerie were the last opener of the night and frankly, they were not quite needed. While they don't do anything wrong, I can't really get behind their sound at all. I think they're pretty generic patriotic Québécois black metal without the atmospheric feel of Forteresse or Brume d'Automne or the primal rage of Neige Éternelle's first demo. Their riffs are ok and their vocals are decent but it gets pretty monotonous after a while, their music isn't varied enough. I'm not talking about adding keyboards or anything like that, but more about tempo changes. Still, nothing offensive but it's a bit mundane compared to what was next.

Sombres Forêts were of course the band everyone wanted to see. Their 80 minutes set was truly out of this world. They had this nautical & romantic look with their small masks, pirate bandanas and Annatar had this awesome trench coat. The leader and the sole "real" member of the band was really charismatic. He was alternating guitars, keyboards and electric cello and obviously, the vocals. The band had 3 guitars and it really helped to recreate the very rich atmosphere of the new record "La mort du soleil" in a live environment. Helped by both Gris members live, it was magical as they truly know how to compose and play a very opulent sort of atmospheric black metal with ambient soundscapes. The peak of their set was when Annatar reached his keyboard and played "La Disparition" and 2 other tracks if I'm not mistaking. I believe their last album truly established Sombres Forêts as the leading force of QCBM alongside Gris and Forteresse and it's as good or even better live. A complete success.

I need to rant a little though, people need to fucking shut up during the calm and soothing moments of a a band. I don't mean like excited screams (ok, it's unnecessary but it can be tolerated) but more about loud people who are talking about their week ends and not paying attention to the band. Go outside or wait 5 fucking minutes until the beautiful calm moments (Satan knows Sombres Forêts has many of them) are over. Pay some respect to the crowd and to the band, please. Thank you!

True emotions, truly great music, an awesome way to conclude a great night of black metal. It was an experience not to be missed by the local fans.

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