FORTERESSE – Thèmes Pour La Rébellion

 
Band: Forteresse
Title: Thèmes Pour La Rébellion
Year: 2016
Country: Canada
Label: Sepulchral Productions
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Translation: Crypt Of Fear
 
TRACKLIST

  1. Aube De 1837
  2. Spectre De La Rébellion
  3. Là Où Nous Allons
  4. Par La Bouche De Mes Canons
  5. Le Sang Des Héros
  6. Forêt D'Automne
  7. Vespérales
  8. Le Dernier Voyage
RUNNING TIME: 42:49
 

The black metal scene in Québec is one of the most interesting and lively in recent years, thanks to the local historical and cultural context, a micro world that saw flourish a series of bands with national pride, musical conservatism and desire to revenge against the conforming push of the Central Canadian government. Among these Monarque, Sorcier des Glaces and Csejthe stand out, with the precious collaboration of labels like Sepulchral Productions and Les Productions Hérétiques; these are often the same musicians involved in multiple projects.

Another foundamental name to add to the list is Forteresse, given the decades-long militancy and peculiar style that perfectly embodies the concept of «métal noir québécois» (not by chance this was the title of their first lashing album). The exclusively French singing and the recall of Canadian history are also characteristic traits of "Thèmes Pour La Rébellion", the new long-awaited album, released in late June by Sepulchral Productions and following their great 2014 7" split "Légendes".

The music contained in the eight tracks, including a brief intro and a long outro, follows the trails of the awesome track "Wendigo" from the split mentioned above, it is majestic and battling, with a reduced contribution of the original folk component in favor of various sampling and spoken parts to increase the atmosphere. We find a series of long, epic rides in which Moribond's and Matrak's tremolo picking guitars weave fiery threads full of drama, not to mention a solid rhythmic base, but with the melodic element always on top. Fiel's drumming is fast and powerful resounding along very nicely, while Athros spits venom with his overbearing yet never intrusive scream.

The decision to use "La Ou Nous Allons" as a preview was successful, being the perfect compendium of the work, embodying all the traits of heroism; as the whole album also has the great merit of not loosing even for a moment the emotional tension. "Thèmes Pour La Rébellion" flows fairly uniform and consistent, classly treated with details and nuances: on the ending of "Par La Bouche De Mes Canon" evocative choruses appear; while "Le Sang Des Héros" is a rabid assault that does not grant reprieve, except for a few moments; instead, "Desperales" offers an heavy atmosphere detachment. In the end "Le Dernier Voyage" is an intimate and poignant instrumental farewell, against a backdrop of ambient noise, where Forteresse chose to not spend any word.

The scorching and gloomy shades of the worthy cover, oil on canvas by the political activist artist Joseph Légaré showing the burning of the Saint-Jean district in Québec City, express perfectly the tragic ardor emanated by the notes. They are inspired, as the title says, by the rebellion acts from the French-speaking patriots from 1837 onward against the British of the Lower Canada province (imitated the same year by the Anglophone radicals in Upper Canada), that ended with the victory of the Governement forces and counted over three hundred dead; as a result of these fatal events, they came to the union of Upper and Lower Canada (1840) and twenty six years of collaborative Government between Anglophones and Francophones. The lyrics of "Vésperales" are a poem from the poet Albert Lozeau, a Montréal native who lived between the late nineteeth and the early twentieth century.

2016 Forteresse are changed, while remaining true to themselves, and their ideas on the path to take are quite clear. The production provided by Necromorbus Studios is another symptom of evolution in tradition: goodbye to the blistering sound of the beginnings in favor of a better balance among the instruments, without sacrificing their intact and pure approach, based on repetition of solutions typical of the early days of black metal, to enchant and abduct the mind and the heart of the listener. "Thèmes Pour La Rébellion" is one of my favorite album of the year and an essential purchase for anyone who follows the Québecoise black metal circle.

Final Note: to write this article I consulted "The Canadian Encyclopedia" and re-read an in-depth analysis by CVLT Nation.

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