Spectre Sinister, 2013
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
1. Flamme et Sang
2. Le Dieu dans l'Urne
3. Notre Honneur Immortel
4. Vers d'Anciennes Cités Magiques
As soon as I saw a new Ephemer tape on the shelf at Messe des Morts III I immediately purchased it. Their first demo was pretty good and I expected even more from this "super group" duo. After the most recent prolific releases from Csejthe and Forteresse, I had rather high expectations for this Ephemer demo and I am very pleased to say that they managed to meet that perfectly.
That high level of Atmospheric Black Metal presented on "Guerre et Gloire" continues, but with some very welcome changes. First noticeable change is the production. Everything is a lot more crisp and clear this time around. The guitars came across wonderfully in the mix, so you can really hear those majestic leads that make Ephemer a very special project.
The songwriting has gotten even better and a lot has been learned from albums like Csejthe's "Réminscence", though I wonder how much Csejthe's compositions can thank the experimentation on Ephemer's first demo. Either way the beautiful approach from "Geurre et Gloire" continues here. One of the major differences between the two projects has to do with the atmosphere evoked by the projects. Csejthe is a lot more dark and somber compared to Ephemer. Ephemer builds a dark, yet very epic atmosphere, which comes across as almost hopeful at times. The vocals are a lot more present in this release and where they were the aspect that would turn me off the most in the first demo, they are a lot more well done here. The vocal style is very reminiscent of the styled used on Morrigan's "The Damned" album, to me. I find this a very welcome presentation and it works pretty well within Ephemer's compositions. The one thing that's bothering me is the main lead riff in "Vers d'Anciennes Cités Magiques" sounds like something I've heard before... but I just can't remember what it was!
I truly hope this is a prelude to an imminent full length from this project. While I could understand the band did not feel ready to unleash a full length after "Guerre et Gloire", they are absolutely ready with the material on "Notre Honneur Immortel". In fact I would love for them to do a re-recording of "Guerre et Gloire" and publish all the tracks together as a debut full length. To be honest, if they had just skipped right to this step I would probably rank Ephemer into one of my top 10 albums of 2013. I hope 2014 brings more of this band to light...
Spectre Sinister, 2011
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
1. Aube Héroïque
2. Sous l'Épée Blanche Sacrée
3. Guerre et Gloire
Here's a new band that I've recently heard. Ephemer is sort of a Québécois super group featuring members of Forteresse and Csjethe. After listening to some Forteresse it is good to see that Ephemer seems to sound quite different. "Guerre et Gloire" is limited to 100 copies and I am currently holding number 13. Unfortunately I wasn't able to purchase this tape and I am borrowing a copy from my friend.
"Guerre et Gloire" is certainly not a typical Black Metal album and it follows the traits of the more atmospheric brands of Black Metal showing up quite a bit these days (circa 2012). I think this particular form of Black Metal is really gaining some ground because everywhere I look there seems to be more and more bands performing it, when before there just weren't as many. One thing I really enjoy about Ephemer is that they use no keyboards, which is something a lot of bands rely on to generate that atmosphere. I don't mean the bands that are Symphonic, I mean the bands blending with Ambient to generate that dense and droning atmosphere. Ephemer does this simply with a standard Black Metal setup. The result is simply beautiful. Granted the opening track "Aube Héroïque" is entirely a keyboard intro, but this is certainly fine for an intro. Anyway, the song structuring is really what makes this work. The rhythm guitar is playing through a fast rhythm generating that droning feel, while the lead guitars play very majestic and wonderful tremelo picked leads over it. This makes those lead sections really stand out similar to what ColdWorld will setup in their arrangements sometimes. Ephemer sounds nothing like ColdWorld, so don't expect that! The drums certainly don't blast through the demo, but they are played more slowly. I feel like the bass drum tends to follow the pace of the rhythm guitar, so double bass is used almost throughout, while the rest of the kit is following the slower feeling pace of the lead guitar. It actually makes for a very relaxed feel to the music.
The vocals are actually pretty different. Standard Black Metal vocals aren't used at all. It will be tough to describe, but it reminded of the type of thing Morrigan might use once in a while. That sort of middle ground between a yell and a growl. I'm not really sure how much this added to the music for me. It certainly didn't take away from the music, but it didn't really stand out to me either. Then again, if they had used standard Black Metal vocals, I'm not sure that would have stood out either...
The booklet appears to be printed on fairly nice paper and folds out more than one panel. However, it is only single sided, so we only get one side of printed material to read. One thing that is interesting about the packaging is that it's all green. Just like you see the cover above everything is green! Even the tape is green! I have never seen a green tape, so I thought that was sort of funny. I am just sad that the case is black and not green as well. Oh well... at least the black works with the other color on the booklet.
In the end this is definitely a band that needs to be checked out. This demo has one downfall, there are only four tracks and only three of those are Black Metal. I really hope a full length is in the works soon and I'd love to see it pressed on CD. If you can find this I highly recommend checking it out.