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Baroque brilliance - 90%

kluseba, April 28th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2012, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Sanguine Glacialis is one of several avantgarde metal bands from Quebec that evokes the atmosphere of a sophisticated horror tale throughout its entire full length debut release Dancing with a Hanged Man. Gloomy sound samples of haunted screams and whispers over wind and wuthering, Baroque music dominated by harpsichord, organ and piano sounds, progressive metal influences combined with more chugging riffs and a classically trained female singer that meets throaty male growls are the ingredients of this sextet from Montreal. The band’s old-fashioned clothes used on stage, the gloomy album cover and the poetic lyrics in both English and French further underline the band’s Baroque gothic metal style.

The group could be described as a less stressful version of Unexpect and a slightly less creative group than Le Grand Guignol. The band also has a similar sound to Akphaezya. In brief, the band’s style is quite particular but right up my alley. Since Le Grand Guignol and Unexpect are no longer active and Akphaezya hasn’t released anything for nearly five years, Sanguine Glacialis’ inception might have happened at a strategically clever moment. The band clearly deserves further attention and should get invited to gothic festivals from all around the world.

What I like about the band is that its songs are quite accessible thanks to a consistently gloomy atmosphere, memorable vocal lines and a few well-dosed surprises such as short throat singing passages for example. Despite being incredibly detailed, the music never feels overloaded. The record grows more and more after several spins since there are so many soundscapes to discover.

The only reason why this record didn’t get an even higher rating is because I believe the band can develop an even more unique sound that doesn’t need to be compared to the groups mentioned earlier and because there are a few too many chugging and uninspired main riffs in a handful of songs that could have been avoided. Fans of avantgarde, gothic and even symphonic metal should though give this band a chance and this album a few well-deserved spins. The group is also quite convincing on stage and currently working on a promising sophomore full length effort, so this might be your chance to catch up with this creative band.