Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monarque - Lys Noir [2013]

Arguably the best part pf receiving random promos is unearthing a new find that can be held a higher level then the rest of its mediocre counterparts. I had, having little idea of the band's formative aspects or background, initially perceived Monarque's ''Lys Noir'' to be just another ambitious daisy in the garden, sprouting out of the dirt eagerly, and awaiting attention. Only later could I comprehend the fact that I had made a terrible mistake, tossing away the Canadian duo's sorrowful third full-length. Monarque's roots are deeply buried in Quebec, which explains their fervor for French titles. For those both accustomed and unaccustomed to the Canadian's sound, ''Lys Noir'' is cascading waterfall of undoubtedly bleak, razor-sharp riffs, and atmosphere that engulfs the entire riffing station like a heavy, smoldering cloth, and it's simply one of those releases which hardly reinvents the wheel, but proceeds to render it more flashy through a strong and keen sense of musicianship and judicious experimenting in familiar territory.

As I explained, ''Lys Noir'' merely stretches the innumerably skewed aesthetics of black metal, but delves into combinations that are perceptible mostly as antique, but are somehow still doused with a somewhat pungent touch of originality. I'd say Monarque's musical roots are a cross between numerous inclinations of the Scandinavian black metal scene which exploded in the mid-early 90's. Monarque is crude to an extent, and the ambiance of the entire record is an entrancing spectacle of mourn, which means most of their atmospheric tenets were snatched from the likes of Darkthrone (the first three records), Carpathian Forest, or perhaps the Greek black metal masterminds Spectral Lore, but at the same time, the duo is modest, and the riffs are filtered with incorrigible tenacity, relating strongly to more flexible acts such as Arckanum, Forteresse, Emperor or Ragnarok, bearing the posture of a voracious wolf crawling amid the snow, diligently pursuing its prey.

I absolutely love the mournful indulgence the record sometimes dives into, showering the wary listener with a further incursions of deep sorrow and hypnosis. ''Comme Des Vers'' and ''Mes Condoleances'' perfectly exhibit this, quaking the rest of the record with such magnetic, titular strength that I was left utterly destroyed. The rest of the band's arsenal disposal is rather a savage bigotry rather than an empowering eclipse of mourn. ''Vigor Mortis'', ''L'appel de la Nuit'' and ''Comme Des Vers'' are all laden with such wild riff arrangements, piercing and utterly frigid, something like the latest Thy Darkened Shade disc, but devoid of any nihilistic qualities that would have otherwise turned them into crazed war metal act charging at full force. As I said above, ''Lys Noir'' does not really have a brilliant intake of intricacies, but there are subtle joints that pop up here and there, though the most resplendent atmospheric attraction for me was the rather infrequent usage of the synthesizers, doleful tempests of sound that beautifully bind with the raucous riff-work above, forming the ultimate companion for a desolate mountain hike in the Andes.

The texture of the drums have been adjusted quite well, sounding resonate enough to have an effect but as to not disturb the overall coherence of the record. Monarque (the guy handling the guitars, bass and vocals) has a nice, vivid rasp which echos as efficiently as any other vocalist in this field of black metal, with little diversity but much harrowing quality. Individually, the only track that was the most distinguished was ''Solitude'', a near 3 minute ambient passage with soothing acoustic guitar medleys and classical grandeur, and it my humble opinion that Monarque's biggest loss here was the lack of proper distinction. Certainly not a major gripe considering the entirety of the album, but I thought I could have further satisfied is a feeling of quandry was evoked with only putting a tad more thought into the compositions. Nonetheless, the Quebecois have performed very solidly here, making them one of the more admirable black metal bands to emerge in the last decade.

Mes Condeleances
Vigor Mortis
L'Appel de la Nuit

Rating: 84%

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