Thursday, 5 May 2016

Cantique Lépreux – Cendres célestes (2016) / 81%

Trilogie noire québécoise

Tome III: Paysage d'hiver

Thanks to Eisenwald for the promo copy

I’ve never really liked Chasse-Galerie, they’re not a bad band at all but I think they’re too boring and play it safe, I wasn’t quite convinced by their live presence either. Considering this, I was a bit skeptic when I got this album in my inbox but I was surprised by how much I liked this new project of three of their members (also members of Forteresse or Au-delà des ruines). While it’s not a perfect debut album, there’s enough quality here to please most black metal fans. They’re not yet in the Québec black metal elite but they could very well be soon enough.

Soundwise, this album is the shiiit, the production is just icy and clean enough to make the songwriting shine and just raw enough to give it the necessary atmosphere. To be fair, I was expecting something akin to Paysage d’hiver when I saw the cover. The vocals of Blanc Feu are perfect for the genre, crispy yet tenebrous and just buried enough to give them the rightful snowy cavern feeling. The guitars are also very well produced and aren’t exactly that typical for the genre, there’s even some surprising, insane soloing (such as in “Transis). Considering they took the time to start a new band, I do think they didn’t do enough stuff to truly distinguish themselves from the masses. I was expecting something more epic and grandiose (not that it isn’t) but I do dig the (somewhat) melodic and (somewhat) peculiar approach they took with Cendres célestes (Celestial Ashes). They didn’t use all into the usual tropes of QCBM and that’s something that we see more and more in the Québec’s scene nowadays. Many bands are leaving their old tricks (winter, nationalism) behind and they’re taking a different, often more occult, direction. Gevurah or Délétère are good examples of this new trend.

I think this project has a lot of potential and that’s something that the excellent German label Eisenwald also saw (Csejthe and Grimoire, two of the best Québec bands ever are/were signed there). Even if I think that the compositions lacked a certain abtract component that I can’t really pinpoint, it’s solid material and it’s highly recommmended.

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