Métal Noir Québécois at its finest by the progenitors of the genre, enfolded by pure insurgency and a strong sense of patriotism.
One of my favorite expressions in heavy music is “Métal Noir Québécois”, not only because it sounds beautiful, but mainly due to the fact it truly represents the unity, patriotism and epicness of Extreme Metal hailing from “la belle province” of Quebec. That powerful designation was originated back in 2006 when Atmospheric Black Metal act Forteresse, formed that same year in Quebec City, released their debut album titled Métal Noir Québécois, and now ten years later this talented quartet reinforces even more the concept they created with their fifth installment named Thèmes pour la Rébellion.
Singing (obviously in French) about the history of Quebec and its separatist movement, Forteresse continue their rebellious and vengeful path thoroughly built through the years within each of their releases, with Thèmes pour la Rébellion being a further step from their previous release, their 2011 album Crépuscule d’Octobre. If you love dark and dense sounds with a passionate and violent storyline behind them, this album will definitely blow your mind, and even if you’re not a huge connoisseur or admirer of Black Metal there’s still a lot to enjoy in all eight tracks from an album that, above all things, lives up to the recent but already distinguished legacy of Métal Noir Québécois.
The intro Aube De 1837 (“dawn of 1837”), inspired by the Rebellions of 1837, takes you into the battlefield, setting the tone to Spectre De La Rébellion (“spectrum of the rebellion”), emanating blast beats and an infernal atmosphere from its very first second, with Athros transpiring pure rebelliousness and anger through his harsh growls. Although it sounds like old school Black Metal at first, I believe we can call this Epic Black Metal due to its rising energy, its more melodious lines and its truly climatic ending. In the also dense Là où Nous Allons (“there where we are going”), guitarists Matrak and Moribund fire extreme aggression through their riffs and solos, while drummer Fiel accelerates his beats even more, generating the perfect background for the song’s belligerent lyrics (“Armez-vous de vos mousquets les plus fidèles / La charge sera brutale et sans pitié / La monnaie des cartes est inutile là où nous allons / À l’aube, le destin aura été scellé”). At this point of the album, you’ll be already able to realize all songs will be epic from start to finish, with no exceptions.
Forteresse’s metallic artillery do not cool down in the slightly less destructive and more melodic Par la Bouche de Mes Canons (“through the mouth of my cannons”), with highlights to the amazing job done by Matrak and Moribond on guitars once again, while Athros keeps sending an insurgent message through his combative vociferations. In addition, you can sense the pain and anger growing towards the end of the song, which ends up working as a bridge to the magnificent Le Sang des Héros (“the blood of heroes”), where a wicked intro with a short narration explodes into sheer brutality. This is high-end Black Metal where Athros and Fiel unleash hell on earth, an intricate composition that fills the air with hatred and sorrow, with its nonstop electricity and endless pugnacity helping turn this into one of the best moments of the album (needless to say, I would love to witness them playing this song live).
The last part of the album begins with Forêt d’Automne (“autumn forest”), where traditional riffs continue to spread darkness whereas Fiel delivers more of his rhythmic and complex beats and fills, not to mention that, as the story advances, you’ll notice Athros gets more and more enraged on vocals. Vespérales (“vesperal”), the second to last tune, brings forward more violence and anger, being one of the most epic of all songs with its seven minutes of cutting riffs, vicious growls and a fierce atmosphere, an amazing example of what Métal Noir Québécois truly is; followed by Le Dernier Voyage (“the last voyage”), an outro that beautifully represents a real aftermath, with its atmospheric passages signing the war is finally over, therefore concluding such a great album on a melancholic but strong note.
You can take a good listen to this thrilling album in its entirety HERE, as well as visit Forteresse’s Facebook page to know more about the band and their music. And in order to provide them your full support, go buy your copy of Thèmes pour la Rébellion at the Sepulchral Productions’ webstore, at Discogs or at the Season of Mist’s webstore. Forteresse do not just offer Métal Noir Québécois, they do it almost to perfection to guarantee you understand and absorb everything they want to tell you through their music. This is Métal Noir Québécois at its finest, and if I were you I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to join Forteresse’s army and get into the battlefield alongside them.
Best moments of the album: Spectre De La Rébellion and Le Sang des Héros.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2016 Sepulchral Productions
1. Aube De 1837 0:46
2. Spectre De La Rébellion 5:33
3. Là où Nous Allons 6:09
4. Par la Bouche de Mes Canons 6:14
5. Le Sang des Héros 6:51
6. Forêt d’Automne 5:20
7. Vespérales 6:59
8. Le Dernier Voyage 4:55
Athros – vocals, additional guitars, additional keyboards
Matrak – lead guitars
Moribond – rhythm guitars, bass
Fiel – drums, keyboards
G. – bass