Forteresse
Thèmes pour la rébellion

I’m not familiar with the back catalog from Canada’a Forteresse other than they seem pretty well respected in the scene and I had seen them mentioned in the same breath as Neige et Noirceur, (early) Alcest. They have delivered a few albums varying between raw, minimalist black metal and more folky black metal and the songs are in French Canadian, with various Québécois,  historical and patriotic themes.

Well, whatever  I had heard about the band is completely blown out the water (other than the Quebec/Canadian/patriotic/ historical themes), because what I hear on Thèmes pour la rébellion is flat out some of the best melodic, majestic black metal I have ever heard. It’s minimalist in that the band simply play riffs upon riffs and while the production is shrill and the vocals high pitched. It’s not really ‘raw’, as the bass is audible and the drums pound (often with war drum-like  exclamations ), the result is more crystalline, than primal or truly ‘raw’. I seem to get a sense of a more melodic, atmospheric and delicate  Dark Funeral or even Abigor’s early work , namely the Orcblut EP, especially with those pounding drums.

But those riffs. Oh boy, much like Mgla (but higher register), these guys lock into a great tremolo picked riff and stick with it. Not shortchanging or sudden time stops or twisty, convoluted structures, just blazing, melodic, majestic and utterly enthralling riffs for the entire song (which are quite long). Often layered with a melodic lead over the top, these riffs just burrow into your mind with epic, but seething addictiveness. Want proof? Just go to third track “Là où nous allons” and take it in. My god, what a perfect black metal track/riff or what?

And that’s not just the lone great track, you get some somber choirs to gloss “Par la bouche de mes canons”, steady, shrill repetition of “Le Sang des héros”, or another perfect example of blistering but melodic riffage in the downright mesmerizing “Vespérales”. “Le dernier voyage” ends the album with an introspective 5 minute ambient number, that’s a bit of an emotional  let down, but does end the album fittingly.

Thèmes pour la rébellion is more than likely going to be one of my favorite black metal albums of the year (Vindland’s Hanter Savet is also in the running), and I don’t think I’ll be alone in that thought as the album does everything perfectly for the genre and arguably might be one of those albums we are still talking about in 5-10 years.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 4th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jebus krist

    The only band from Quebec worth listening to besides akitsa.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Wow this is terrific. I like how straightforward it is, most of the Canadian stuff I hear is too meandering. Great melodies, reminds me of Wodensthrone. I hear a lot of early-mid Satyricon in this too.


  3. Commented by: vortex

    I’m not a huge black metal fan but as a metalhead, I can’t ignore the epic riffs and that lead .. oh my that lead guitar! I love this album!


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