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There is no doubt that 2012 is a particularly good year for the most Norwegian Quebec black metal band. Indeed, no fewer than four titles are launched within a few months by the duo Sorcier des Glaces: a split-CD with Monarque, a re-recording of their debut album Snowland (1998), a new album, Ritual of the End (2012) and an EP, called Monuments Ancients (2012). It is this latest record I'm reviewing today.
Like many fans, I discovered the Sorcerer with his third album, The Puressence of Primitive Forests (2011), which illustrates the style practiced by the group, a Scandinavian-inspired black metal, very close in form to the Norwegian second wave. Monuments Ancients is no exception to this trend, quite the contrary. Impossible not to draw parallels with the early Darkthrone albums as the similarities are obvious. First example, the song, Hunger of the Freezing Fog, whose title is a pastiche of three classic black metal tunes: Transylvanian Hunger (Darkthrone), Funeral Fog and Freezing Moon (Mayhem). From the musical point of view also, the similarities are striking. The compositions are organized around rhythmic loops favouring cold environments and gloomy atmospheres, which abound in the first four Fenriz and Nocturno Culto albums.
This new EP has seven tracks, two from a 2001 demo. Also note an ambient song (Le royaume des morts) and a conclusion (Slumbering Through the Dark). Interest in this release tape format is thus based on three original songs, which fit into the continuity of the work of the Sorcerer. Production is just enough raspy and highlights the voice of Sébastien Robitaille, the true black soul of the band. The guitar, fast and full, deploys the atmosphere, but the battery is slightly muffled and sounds in the background. One detail, however, bothers me more: the transition from English to French in the same song (a constant on this EP) that interferes with the homogeneous character of the titles and causes a kind of discomfort for the listeners who master the two languages.
In a musical world saturated by more or less successful tributes to the founders of black metal, Sorcier des Glaces is distinguished by the quality of its interpretation and stylistic intransigence, but Monuments Ancients is particularly aimed at fans of the band who collect limited editions, with songs that have not been able to make their way into full-lengths. Other fans may wait for the release of next album. 6/10
Originally written for metalosbcur.com