De s​è​ve et de sang

I grabbed the prom for this Swiss one-man project as the moniker, album title and French song titles screamed Antiq Records-styled medieval, epic, and atmospheric black metal (i.e Passéisme, Veheménce). And I wasn’t too far off.

The brainchild of one Marc Dalton (also of the solid melodic black metal band Tyrmfar, who released a fine album earlier in 2023, Dialectic of Ego and the Unconscious), and this debut album De s​è​ve et de sang (‘Of Sap and Blood’) is a collection of songs based on the Swiss history, myths, tales, and legends. And it’s a very, very impressive album, that’s up there with 2023s very best atmospheric black metal from the likes of Numeron, Passéisme, Winds of Tragedy, and such.

Now I specifically bring up Passéisme and Winds of Tragedy, as Dalton has the same gruffer, vocal delivery as opposed to a standard black metal rasp or shriek, as well as a similarly burlier guitar tone, rather than a shriller, tinnier tone. This gives the material a powerful, but organic overall sound.

Admittedly, the opening number “Sedunum Invictus” isn’t anything too special, being a standard enjoyable, melodic/atmospheric black metal number. However, the delicate little atmospherics that start the second track ” Ce que c’est que la mort” signal a run of tracks that make for a killer album. The tremolo blast that erupts at 1:43 is essentially a perfect melodic black metal riff and chord progression that Dalton seems to revisit and lock into throughout the rest of the album, but that’s OK, it’s that damn good.

“La garde de Fer” continues the killer riffage with one of the album’s many standout melodic riffs.  There is yet another for the more brooding “Dryade de sang-mêlé”, where the chord progression starts to get a bit familiar, but still is oh-so-good. “Du haut de l’échafaud” is the album’s longest track and slows things down a bit for a mid-album break before “Le mal pour le mal” delivers a varied track of scathing melodic blasts and moody moments.

The last three tracks are more of the same absolutely killer riffs and melodies but in particular “Nuit des tourments” with its gorgeous keyboard laced first half and the closer “Tueuse d’étoile” where Dalton again locks into a stunning melodic riff to end the album on a really killer high note and certainly be in the mix for my 2023 year-end list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 14th, 2023


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