Black Metal Roundup: Ossuaire, Délétère, & Véhémence
We’ve got a bunch of black metal headed your way, heads up!
Ossuaire is an up’n-coming Quebecois black metal band freshly signed to Sepulchral Productions worthy roster to release their debut full-length. With only one prior demo, released a few years back, that I’ve completely missed, and since it seems none of the members have been especially active outside Ossuaire, sans the new bassists, Premiers Chants is a first foray into the groups mind.
Premiers Chants is recognizeably riff-heavy, in the same distinctly melodic way that many Quebecois black metal bands are. But their melodies don’t carry the same triumphant aspiration and folk-tinge that others, such as Forteresse or Monarque have. And even though their approach to riffs isn’t entirely different from Délétère, they lack the manic approach of the latter. Instead they evoke similarities to Sargeist and their ilk, though in a beefier setting.
Though Ossuaire makes an effort to inject some variation to the mix, with “La Flamme Noire Ge’henom”‘s and “La Grande Apostasie”‘s breaks into thrashier riffing and “Saints Cephalophores'” brooding build-up, Premiers Chants remains largely a monotone effort. Though not all such records are bad, the issue is that while there are exclusively good riffs, there are no real stand-out ones. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile record, and especially in smaller doses, can offer a great time.
3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
After a very good debut in 2014, Assiege, not much, if anything, was heard of the French Véhémence. Until late last year, when a sophomore was finally announced, and a practically all-new line-up introduced, now featuring vocalist Hyvermor, also the chief of Antiq Records, and drummer Thomas Leitner that some of you may have witnessed in Harakiri For The Sky, besides band-leader, multi-intrumentalist Thulza. And then, in February, Par le Sang Versé
Over the last couple of years, I’ve begun to favour albums with sorter run-times. It would be easy to assert this to mere declining attention span, but untrue. I’m not turning them off, I’m listening to them, dying a little bit inside everytime another band puts twelve interchangeable eight-minuters back to back with a complete lack of consideration for arc. You can have ten great songs and make a bad album, and too often, you will. Please, bands, don’t blast for 50 minutes straight over a two-chord tremolo riff. Or at least throw an interlude, preferably several, betwixt your brutal guttural ego-stroking northern hyperblast jerkfests. It won’t give you a narrative, it won’t create an arc where there’s none, but it will, at least, appear as if you had tried. With this in mind, it gives me little pleasure to tell you that Par le Sang Versé consist of six lengthy songs, and two interludes. And it gives me great pleasure to say that none of the above applies to it.
A medieval black metal album, in theme, and to a degree, in sound, Par le Sang Versé is by definition an album, not a compilation. Motifs, themes and instrumentation less common for music of this kind, recur throughout the record but there’s more to it. From the opening title track onward, Véhémence displays great skill at crafting a song from a singular idea, without allowing it to coil entirely around that motif. Taking a melody and modifying it, creating several variations on which to alternate, occasionally returning, and sometimes introducing an all-new idea. This further helps to highlight the effect of Par le Sang Versé as an entity, as sometimes the motifs returned to were already hinted at in previous songs.
Ambient interludes would hardly have fit on this record, and luckily they’re much more thought out than that as well, with flutes, psaltery, nyckelharpas, trumpets, saxhorns and bugles making the short tracks musically rich, intricate compositions capable of standing on their own legs, nor do they feel out of place, or hamfisted to create an illusion of a dynamism, the instruments are taken advantage of in the longer tracks as well, both, as means to underscore a passage and on acoustic sections centered on them.
If the compositions are intricate, the new members are no worse either, Leitner constantly changes up his beats and patterns to keep the songs’ incredible pace up between sections and Hyvermor charges his rough but clearly pronounced vocals with more emotion than most harsh vocalists are capable of, and changes them up with heartfelt cleans when necessary. Par le Sang Versé is without a doubt one of the most distinctive albums released this decade, and one of the best.
5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Délétère – Theovorator : Babelis Testamentum
Though I value my the opinion of my associate Vladimir Poutine, and enjoy Délétère’s body of work, I have not spent much time with their 2018 album De Horae Leprae – it’s not on Bandcamp, nor Spotify and I don’t much use other streaming services (I’ll place an order real soon, I swear!). On the 18th of May, the day they are meant to take stage at Steelfest, the Canadians will be releasing a new EP Theovorator: Babelis Testamentum, telling the tale of Babel, “survivor of the Great Deluge, who undertakes the construction of Babylon and the Tower of Babel with his minions, to liberate Tervenificus so he can begin the Theovoration – the consummation of God.”
A personal guess would be that some/much of De Hoare Leprae was considered somewhat ill-fit for live appearances, for Vladimir described it as “dialogue between feverish black metal blasting, within which the drumwork is particularly impressive, and a more bizarre overlay of organ and vocal histrionics.” And indeed Theovorator’s three songs follow the more traditional route of feverish black metal, organs do make an appearance, but a brief one, yet lengthy as they are – “Theovoratoris Adventus” reaches closer to nine minutes – they are not liable to mere blasting. Vocalist/drummer Thorleif’s howls and growls remain their unmistakeable self, corny perhaps to some, but a perfect counterpart to the nigh theatric performance of the band, and a good fit to their overarching concept. Likewise string-instrumentalist Atheos’s riffs carry the recognizeably Délétère tone, and though many of them have become more longwinded since Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam, feverish remains the single best description.
Though brief, and hot on the heels of it’s predecessor, Theovorator; Babelis Tstamentum is an excellent ep, retaining Délétère’s characteristics – Thorleif’s punky but expressive drumwork; melodic, but not profusely so, riffs and a soulful variety of vocals. It steers back from it’s predecessor’s chosen path, but not entirely without looking windward, to new directions, though these are but a mere seasoning on the face of God.
At the moment, there are no available pre-release tracks, apart from this NCS exclusive premiere of the album’s conclusion – “Milites Pestilentiae III – Babylonia Magnissima”
3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell