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Good, yet too short. - 95%

VoV, October 4th, 2012

Forteresse and Brume d’Automne are without a doubt the most important bands of what is called the Métal Noir Québécois movement, Brume d’Automne being its instigator and Forteresse being its most well-known. Both bands share some members as well, so it’s no surprise that this split came to be. It is rather short, but still quite interesting for any fan of what is done over here in Quebec in terms of black metal music.

First off, let’s start with Brume d’Automne’s contribution, called ‘’Rouge Souvenir d’Antan’’ (roughly translated: Red Memories of the Past). The song starts off slowly with a folksy melody played on flute, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and percussion hits in the background. Some violin comes up and another folk instrument subtly make its way… Harmonica! I couldn’t help but think about the fact that they are probably the only folk black metal band to use this instrument (I might be wrong though), which makes it even more interesting. Once the intro ends the harmonica keeps playing, accompanying a slow paced black metal song, all is kept very simple, yet it is extremely catchy. When the harmonica becomes quiet, the lead guitar takes over the melodic department, playing an even catchier melody. The song remains pretty much the same throughout, same tempo, which is actually a good thing. The guitar riffs varies a little however, always keeping things interesting. It is somehow different than their previous material while still feeling like Brume d’Automne, making it feel fresh while still staying faithful to their overall style. Very good song, especially considering it’s ‘’only a split’’ and many bands wouldn’t have bothered to do such a good job for a limited split 7'' release.

Forteresse then contributes with ‘’Profonde Liberté à nos Coeurs’’ (translated very roughly: Profound Liberty to Our Hearts). Also starting clamly, with the sound of birds followed immediately by, well, typical Forteresse. Same type of guitar riffing: a lead guitar playing a high pitched, powerful and catchy melody and the rhythm guitar playing a simple rhythmic pattern, while still contributing to the melodic department. This is Forteresse, nothing you haven’t heard before, but I can’t say it’s a bad thing since this is what makes their music what it is, meaning that long time fans like me can’t dislike this song. The drumming pretty much takes care of the pacing of the whole song. While the guitars feel like they are always at pretty much the same speed, with no variation, the drum beats varies from fast to slow, giving depth to the music. Though maybe not my favourite of the two, this is still a very good, atmospheric black metal song.

Production-wise everything is perfect as it fit’s the music pretty well. Forteresse’s sound is pretty much the same as in their previous material, though maybe a little bit ''muddier'', while Brume d’Automne’s part sounds much clearer than their first full length. Can’t say anything about the lyrics, as I haven’t read them, but one might guess that it is deeply patriotic, staying faithful to both bands’ spirit, at least, that is what the music evokes, and beautifully I might add.

All in all a very good split that will please both bands’ fans and could serve as a good introduction to their music for those who haven’t heard them before. While it only has two songs, it is still worthy of getting your hands on. I give this 95, removing 5 points because after all, there’s only two songs and I would have loved to get at least two more.

Very competent black metal - 90%

MaDTransilvanian, June 11th, 2010

Forteresse have finally gotten around to releasing their first ever split, in collaboration with fellow nationalistic Québec black metal band Brume d’Automne, which even shares one member with Forteresse. Brume d'Automne/Forteresse contains one song by each band and is relatively brief, clocking in at a total of just over 11 minutes’ playing time.

The first side is Brume d’Automne track, Rouge Souvenir d'Antan. This song begins with a soft melodic intro, consisting of a flute section and some apparent keyboard sounds in the background. In any case, no guitars can be heard and there’s some faint percussion in the background. Then the black metal part emerges, and it’s actually quite original. The base of the sound is derived from the repetitive and slow riffs, which kind of drone on and on, while the slow drumming plays in the background. The vocals are classic black metal stuff, a type of dark, evil-sounding rasp that is pulled off very well. However, the most interesting aspect of this song is the constant presence of the violin, which really works well to add a more ancient atmosphere to the whole thing. The real strength of Brume d’Automne here is the band’s remarkable ability to create a 19th century Québec folk atmosphere, due to the simple instrumentation and the addition of the flute and violin as backup sounds. This band is a pleasant surprise.

The second half is of course Forteresse’s, and they return in strength with Profonde Liberté à nos Cœurs. This song is very good, and it’s consistent with the band’s previous style of making repetitive atmospheric black metal with a real nationalistic feeling that is inescapable. These guys are proud of the nation of Québec and they fully express that sentiment in their music by adopting a historical and traditional edge to go with their nationalism. However, the music is pure black metal based on some very simple elements. The guitars are the primary focus of the sound, sounding a bit raw but never even remotely inaudible. The drumming retains that old repetitive edge that it used to create the unique Forteresse atmosphere in previous releases. However, this song is even more interesting because it highlights the evolution of the band’s sound, which is becoming more complex. This is especially apparent within the guitar work; the riffs are more varied and melodic than before, but still retaining that somewhat repetitive side so essential to atmospheric black metal like this. The vocals are the usual complement of rasps almost all the time, except at one point not far from the end, where these proud clean spoken French sections surface.

Forteresse and Brume d’Automne have pulled off an impressive split. Brume d'Automne/Forteresse is solid modern black metal that has enough atmosphere to keep it going very strong. I see a bright future for both of these bands, and my respect for Forteresse has never been stronger.