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Hard not to be seduced by an album that starts with a resounding “BATÈCHE”! This ancient curse, once popularized by the poet Gaston Miron, is also part of my own repertoire for years, but its presence as an opening of a black metal disc may seem incongruous… but not on a Brume d’Automne album (which already uttered a brutal “tabarnak” on Le sacrifice des paysans guerriers). Founded in 2003, this group is the “metal noir Québécois” pioneer, a movement that combines extreme music and patriotism. After a rather successful first album (Fiers et Victorieux, 2005), many fans believed the Québec duo plunged into a deep sleep, only two splits being launched five years apart (2005 with Teutates and 2010 with Monarque). It is therefore with some surprise that I learn the release of a new self-titled album produced by Sepulchral Productions.
Much water has flowed under the bridge for seven years, but Athros (Fortress, Ur Falc’h) and Nordet (Ur Falc’h) do not care and continue where Fiers et Victorieux stopped. They are back their Finnish-inspired black metal dipped in Québécois vitriol. Le temps des béliers sets the tone from the outset with its speed and aggressivity. The guitar is marked by a playing style that relies heavily on treble, while the voice is a real possessed howl tearing eardrums with all the force of his anger. However, something prevents a full appreciation of this music. I do not know if this is the capture or the mix that is to blame, but drumming is a recurrent weakness on the album. Playing is excellent, but toms give the impression of being hollowed or muffled, limiting power and scope of the instrument. Maybe is it an aesthetic choice made by the band, but the result is unconvincing.
Apart from that, members of Brume d’Automne demonstrate their know-how with well constructed songs, never tiresome, alternating traditional hymns-inspired passages and more furious ones. L’esprit du courant is probably the best example, with its changing rhythms, its pace and its epic, martial-style conclusion. The album closes with Quand Les Corbeaux Crient Leur Haine, a song punctuated by a short acoustic jig air interlude. If traditional music fans wanted to dust off their repertoire, this song would be appropriate!
This self-titled album, despite seven long years that separates it from its predecessor, shows that Brume d’Automne has lost none of his fighting spirit and is a must Quebec black metal ambassador. In conclusion, the group also inserts a famous phrase uttered by René Lévesque on the evening of the referendum defeat of 1980 (“If I have understood you correctly …”), a note of hope, so maybe we can expect not having to wait so long before enjoying a new album. 7/10
Originally written for Métal Obscur