#1
I realise I'm a hour early, but I sure no one minds

Forteresse - Métal Noir Québécois



When you think black metal, one place immediately springs to mind, Scandinavia. And for a while I’d have been hard pressed to disagree, it certainly seemed the region to look to for black metal. But over the last few years as I’ve gotten more and more into the genre, I’ve started to look further afield. And it’s great, there a ‘scenes’ everywhere, there’s the folky/atmospheric sort of stuff from Eastern Europe (from which I very nearly picked a multitude of albums to review), the if you will ‘post black’ scene going on seemingly centred around France Germany, or even the ‘heritage’ black metal as it’s being dubbed in the UK, but the scene I’d like us to turn our attention to is the Québécois scene, in particular the band Forteresse. Whilst I’m sure there’s going to be those who will say Gris or Sorcier Des Glaces, or even Sombres Forêts would have been better bands to review, those bands have never really clicked with me the way Forteresse have, and in particular their debut album Métal Noir Québécois

Proudly Québécois, Forteresse were formed, on what founding memebers Moribond and Athros claim is an irrelevant, day in 2006. After signing to Québéc based label Sepulchral Productions, they released their debut album Métal Noir Québécois in the December of 2006. The band say of this album ‘Metal Noir Québécois stand as a homage to ancient traditions and to all those that long to see the banner of liberty rise at last. PATRIOTIC, EPIC BLACK METAL.’ This is something of an indicator of as to their views. Even the album cover, which undoubtedly some of you thought odd upon first viewing is of, has the photo of renowned violinist Joseph Allard, who, yes you guessed it, was from Québéc. On top of this, 3 of the 5 tracks start with samples of folk music from Québécois musicians, included the aforementioned Joseph Allard.

Let’s get down the actual music of this album. It’s definitely on the more atmospheric side of black metal, though unlike a lot of bands who go by that tag, they make wonderful use of recurring motifs, making the music not only atmospheric, but also really catchy and memorable. The only way I can describe the overall sound of the album would be to say it’s like a relentless energy that envelops you, sucking you in. It’s rather raw in some senses, but at the same time it’s like a really well produced raw sound if that’s not an oxymoron. One guitar plays majestic leads over a rhythm guitar and bass that almost seem to mirror the lead, in a more rhythmic/accompanying way played on the lower strings rather than the higher ones. I’m unsure as to whether the drums are programmed or not, the more blast heavy sections feel like they could be, but the slower stuff doesn’t. Ether way the drumming is fantastic on this album. Not in the technical sense, but in that they always seem to play a beat that fits. I think it’s one of the main reasons this album doesn’t descend into receptiveness monotony, is because of how the drums have been varied to keep it interesting. Though it should be said, it does boarder the line of too repetitive, but for me I think its fine, I see it in an almost hypnotic and infectious way, like the musics repetitiveness draws you in whilst the tremolo picked melodies permeate your soul. The Meoldies just seem so perfect and timeless as if they were channelling some ancient Québécois melodies and giving them new life.
I can’t believe I got this far without mentioning the vocals. Whilst not the best vocals I’ve ever heard, they are well delivered, and suit the music perfectly. I think there’s something about the French language when used in a black metal context, that even though I don’t understand a word of it, it sounds aesthetically pleasing.

At 50 minutes this is a nice length of album, especially given the content. It goes on long enough to keep you satisfied, but doesn’t go on forever and ruin the experience by making you wish it would end. I don’t know if it’s me, but even albums I really like a lot I still sometimes feel can be too long. But with this I feel they get the balance right.
Now as a review I feel I should acknowledge potential flaws with this album, though I feel I’m putting myself in others shoes here. I think there might be those who find the music too repetitive, or perhaps find that there’s not enough going on to maintain their interest, or even that every song seems to follow a pretty similar formula.
Whilst I can appreciate that concern, I feel there is enough subtle difference to keep it interesting throughout, and the formula is a rather good one. You know what you’re getting when you put this album on; you know the sound and feel of the music you will get. (At least after your fist listen). And it’s either something that you’ll love and want to go back to time and again or something that one listen will satisfy and you might not wish to return to it. Personally I fall firmly into the first category, but I feel an album of this quality deserves to be hear whether it be once, one a hundred times.

jouir....

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#2
the Québécois have never done wrong concerning music, downloading right now.
Cette nuit j'ai rêvé que je mâchais ses yeux
Après avoir crevé par accès de furie
Ta replète panse d'helminthes blancs nourrie,
Trop prompte à déféquer le fruit d'un vit sanieux.
#3
Cool, good review. Never heard of 'em, I'll have to check it out.

EDIT: Checked out a song on YouTube while album is downloading. Really not my thing. The whole atmospheric black metal thing is extremely hard to pull off (most bands don't have the hypnotic riffs to create atmosphere) and I suppose I'm kinda picky with that stuff too. It's not bad, just kinda stale and, you called it, repetitive. Oh well. I'll try the entire album, maybe it's a grower.
Last edited by Born Headless at Oct 6, 2011,
#5
Quote by Born Headless
Sticky?

Aye, please

But at least you made the effort and downloaded it rather than dismissing it of a single track (something I did with the last few, but sshh )
#6
I agree with Born Headless, I've never been a fan of this style of this type of atmospheric BM. These guys are ok, I give them some benefit of the doubt since I have ties to the Quebec scene, but I've never really dug their stuff. I liked the review though, gave me a reasonable impression of how it sounds (though I'm not sure if I can be objective in that regard when I've had this album for quite some time before reading it)

On another note I do have my review ready for the upcoming week, I'm doing a well known album but I have a different view on it than most so I thought it'd be worth doing.
#8
Vive la quebec libre!

Nice review Neil. I could never get into this band, it sounds like passable 'anthemic' riffs just kind of stuck into a black metal context. There's the cool Summoning-type sound every so often though. Although I do love songs dealing with rebellion (being Irish and all) so I think that if these lads could lend their talents to something a bit more neofolk-orientated, it'd work out well.

Not one bad review so far in this thing, good to see.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


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burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#9
Quote by Stranglehold
Vive la quebec libre!

Nice review Neil. I could never get into this band, it sounds like passable 'anthemic' riffs just kind of stuck into a black metal context. There's the cool Summoning-type sound every so often though. Although I do love songs dealing with rebellion (being Irish and all) so I think that if these lads could lend their talents to something a bit more neofolk-orientated, it'd work out well.

Not one bad review so far in this thing, good to see.

I agree with everything here (being Irish and all).
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