Glaciation
Ultime éclat

I’ve been on a huge Swiss and French black metal kick recently really digging into the likes of Aara, Fluisteraars, Alcest, Verlies, Bâ’a, Abduction, Véhémence and such. Particularly the French scene, once more known for more twisty, discordant black metal (Deathspell Omega, Aosoth, Blut Aus Nord etc), the French scene has also evolved a very nice melodic /epic/ atmospheric sub scene, that’s been a joy to delve into.

One such act that caught my attention is Glaciation, because it at one time featured Alcest’s Neige, and now features vocalist Hreidmarr, formerly of one of my favorite symphonic black metal bands, Anorexa Nervosa. And while the not the same theatrical, sweeping orchestral epic style (there are more subtle keyboards used), its certainly a very enjoyable, certainly French and militant sounding album comparable to last years excellent release from Véhémence, Par le sang versé, (though less medieval), Abduction’s upcoming Jehanne and label mates Bâ’a‘s recent Deus Qui Non Mentitur album. 

The album actually takes a while to get going as the opening title track was actually a but forgetful, but luckily there are 6 more lengthy songs to flesh out the 50 minute run time. Second track, the 9 minute “Le rivage” is where I was pulled into Ultime éclat, (ultimate shine/sparkle?), with its delicate acoustic intro, blistering riff then regal, clean, French sung vocals, and then the 6:30 minute climax with a glorious melodic riff and subtle female vocals in the background.  On a side note, the French language is perfectly suited for this type of savage, blackened Romanticism , the usually softer prose collides with the savagery spate fort with rasping vehemence sounds like spurned lovers at each others throats.

Third track ,”Et puis le soufre” delivers a killer shimmery riff about 1;45 in, as does fourth more primal track “Acta Est Fabula” right at the start of the track, and uses those enigmatic clean sung french vocals again (and a creepy French spoken work sample at the end of the track), before unleashing yet another simply brilliant riff and piano to close the track out at the 4;14 mark.

” Ce qu’il y à de chaos” adds some more upfront, majestic keys to the already elegant fray and penultimate track “Vers le zéro absolu” intially slows things down a bit before a more traditionally French dissonant tangent and swirling orchestration kicks in mixing with super busy, layered melodies, it’s quite a lot to take it, but its also quite breathtaking. Closer “Les grands champs d’hiver” ends the album with a delicate piano piece, that allows for a nice cool-down period after the prior track ( and album’s) and a pretty killer French black metal album that highlight a scene that’s making some serious noise in 2019 and 2020.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 4th, 2020

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