Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sorcier des Glaces

Sorcier des Glaces - Snowland
Self-Released, 1998
Re-released: Les Productions Hérétiques, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. L'Enchantement des Glaces
2. The Winter Nightsky
3. Pure Northern Landscapes Desolation
4. Onward into the Crystal Snows
5. My Journey into the Black Forest
6. Darkness Covers the Snowland
7. L'Éternelle Majesté des Montagnes
8. Night Throne

I missed out on this band when they first surfaced in 1998.  I don't think I was following the Québec scene as much as I should have.  This is the tape version re-release of the original CDr from 1998.  The tape is limited to 100 copies, so I'm sure it's already long gone.  This is actually a pretty good re-release for a tape.  Unfortunately, I am borrowing this from a friend since I decided to go with the CD re-recording of this release, but I thought reviewing the original release would be a good idea first.

Sorcier des Glaces plays a sort of majestic style of Black Metal very much influenced by the Norwegian style of play.  "Snowland" opens with an instrumental ambient track which sets a very epic tone for the album.  Unfortunately with early recordings like this the ambient track's volume is quite different compared to the Metal aspect of the album.  So we do have an odd shift as listeners, as the album progresses I don't think this hurt it.

Every song is extremely well arranged and Sorcier des Glaces will switch around with songs that are actually slow and melancholic while others are raging and vicious sounding.  The best song, to me, is "Night Throne" and what a way to end on a high note!  Even though they pretty much blast through the entire song the guitar line is just incredible sounding.  It sounds incredibly majestic, yet is played a top speed.  Another song that stood out is "Onward into Crystal Snows", which is one of the slower tracks, but generates a very beautiful atmosphere for the listener.

Since this is an early recording you have to be aware that the production may not be pristine.  Even more so since it's a "do it yourself" release.  So we do have some mixing issues to deal with.  The vocals are a little bit too loud in the mix.  His voice is fine for the music and has a sort of Abbath feel to it, but it really overpowers the music at different times.  The drums are way in the background, unfortunately.  You can hear the guitars quite fine though and when they use keyboard elements they don't overpower the guitars.  The keyboards are used quite sparingly though and only to enhance certain sections.

In the end this is definitely a band worth checking out.  If you can't stomach the production I recommend their later studio albums which are spectacular.  I definitely look forward to reviewing their later releases since they have set quite a high bar with this first release.

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