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Sur terre rappeler Dieu - 72%

Wilytank, January 24th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Sepulchral Productions

Four years after Ad Nauseam, Monarque release Lys Noir. As one of Quebec's biggest black metal acts and considering how awesome Ad Nauseam was, this album would be a highly anticipated follow up. Unfortunately, while Lys Noir still retains a fair amount of Monarque's brilliance, it falls way short of the high water mark they set with their previous album.

But first, I want about where this album succeeds: the first three tracks. These tracks feature some high energy black metal that will definitely be remembered as some of Monarque's best songs. "L'appel de la nuit" and "La quintessence du mal" introduce a more melancholy tone that Ad Nauseam didn't quite wholly plunge into. The tone doesn't get to depressing levels and it takes little away from the songs' powerful riffs. "Vigor Mortis", the intermediate track, takes a different route with its more haunting tone made especially potent with the ghostly "ooooh!" keys put in at the final stretch of the song. Put all together, these three songs are the collective high point of this album.

While the first half of Lys Noir is definitely worthy of praise, the same can't be said about the latter half of the album. After an interlude, the track "Mes condoléances" continues the melancholy tone of "L'appel de la nuit" and "La quintessence du mal". Unfortunately, it's seven and a half minutes long and only goes through two riffs over blast beating drums until the final two minutes of the song. Following this track is a cover of a Frozen Shadows song. Despite it clearly being the best track of the last three with some pretty strong riffs, it just lacks the emotional power that makes Monarque's original riffs really amazing on their better songs. The album ends with the slow paced "Comme les vers; sous la bannière du lys noir" which might have worked as a track put in the middle of the album, but as an album closer it's just weak. Unlike "La vallée des larmes" from Ad Nauseam, this song doesn't provide any sense of climax or closure. It just ends and then the album is over.

So that's Lys Noir. None of it is particularly bad, perhaps with the exception of "Mes condoléances" for just being boring, but I really can't recommend it beyond the first three tracks to anyone exploring the Quebec scene. That's what this album feels like: three amazing songs and then filler. I hope Monarque step it up for their next album.