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Québec seems to be one of the most productive places in the word with respect to black metal. There are a lot of bands and their average quality is pretty high as well when compared to some other regions of the world. L'Aube Septentrionale is a split album between two lesser known black metal bands from Québec: Chasse-Galerie and Hiverna.
The split begins with Hiverna's four songs, which take up more time than Chasse-Galerie's tracks. Starting with an intro which consists of some wind sounds, some screams and a spoken part in French which is accompanied by screams saying the same thing as the spoken part, which has an effectively evil effect. The band then prove that they're a force to be reckoned with in the world of black metal, playing an able mix of black metal with many folk elements which never reach the intensity of such bands like Temnozor, this is black metal with a certain folk influence, detectable mostly in the matter in which the riffs are written. Keyboard passages are used with good taste and are neither overbearing nor excessive, adding atmosphere to the music.
The overall effect of excellent harsh blackened riffs with the occasional folk influence coupled with the intelligent use of keyboards, harsh vocals in the best manner of black metal and competent drumming which isn't repetitive makes for a captivating listen. The evocation of the darkness of the night during winter in the northern regions of the world, be it Scandinavia or Québec, is a key element in black metal and it's certainly present here in Hiverna's half of the split, although the folk twist betrays a regional belonging to the unique culture of Québec. The lyrics present in Hiverna's portion of the split deal with darkness and the solitude of a warrior remembering the glorious past.
The second half of the split album, also consisting of four songs, is filled by Chasse-Galerie, a more straight-up black metal band also from Québec. Chasse-Galerie play black metal, most of which is rather slow-paced but always interesting. It’s not as interesting as the Hiverna part but is nevertheless good. Musically the vocals are quite raw and blackened, pretty much on par with the quality of Hiverna's vocals while the riffs are good but generally aren't anything overly special. The drumming is interesting however, having some unique patters, especially when considering the nature of this record. The first and last tracks are instrumentals which are compositionally close to being ambient at times. The lyrics of Chasse-Galerie deal with odes to war and to the old ways of the Nation of Québec during its whole existence, having nationalist feelings throughout their compositions which are based on the culture of their ancestors.
L’Aube Septentrionale is a solid split album between two promising and talented black metal bands which are also incidentally quite original in their songwriting. This is worth hearing by anyone looking for great modern black metal which has in no way become stagnant or boring.