Genre: Black Metal
2. March of the Consistory
3. Umbilical Cutting
4. Co-Existent Species
7. Xtasian Ostix
8. A Pallbearer's Gloom
9. The Blade Upon Mankind
Well it seems that every time I turn around this year I get blown away by yet another album. This is how it has gone for me so far this year. I buy Blut Aus Nord’s “The Work Which Transforms God” off of a whim and I am completely astounded to the nature of the creativity. I purchase Deathspell Omega’s latest album “Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Cirvmspice” because I liked what I heard on their demo. The end results, is I hear a major contender for album of the year due to the immense creativity behind the music and lyrics. Next in line to be released is the latest from Anorexia Nervosa, who changed their image and made their music all too compelling. I had been anticipating another release from them, but I was surprised to see them improve. Now most recently this brings me to what I’m writing about now... Seth. If you have not noticed a trend yet, I will point it out now. All of the bands are from France. Something happened this year in France where all their bands decided to release some of the best material this world could ever comprehend in one given year.
The most shocking thing about this is I was beginning to see Black Metal’s creative nature slow down in the Scandinavian countries. Granted bands were still producing top quality material, but they haven’t been putting together material that I found inherently different or all that new to the scene. France picked up the ball this year and started releasing the next and much needed wake up call to Black Metal. I honestly wasn’t expecting this, but France has changed a way in which I look at Black Metal. I had accepted the fact that most bands would never be very well informed in terms of religion, but I’ll be damned, France with its incredibly rich religious history has fueled all these bands. One of the more disappointing aspects in extreme metal is the inherently poor lyrics, but without a doubt
Now, I enjoyed “Divine-X” quite a bit, but I would have never said Seth was a band to be reckoned with. They were experimental in their own right, but they were missing something in their music in my opinion. “Divine-X” was well composed, well thought out, the lyrics were marginally interesting. Never, would I have expected
The music has this incredibly powerful essence that gives the listener the feel that Seth is giving out commands rather than just playing a song. Their message is also one to be heard, for their lyrics are quite well written. The lyrics seem to deal quite a bit with genetics, or at least it is a recurring theme on this album. I would venture to guess that this is probably due to the fact that the Human Genome Project has been finished. This opens up a whole repertoire of material for extreme metal bands who know about the ethical issues surrounding engineering the human genome. A major ethics issue comes in from a religious background. There is even a French philosophy called
“Era-Decay” is surely a contender for album of the year, but I believe its lack of having an all encompassing concept is what will push it down from the podium. However, this album still receives a perfect score for its inherent perfection in all other aspects. Just when I thought I was going to be giving out a lot less tens this year, France had to come along and enter the market. Just when I thought I was becoming a much harsher and refined listener/reviewer France entered the market of Black Metal at full force. Alas, here are with some incredible music and yet another string of must have albums for this year. Enjoy.
Seth - By Fire, Power Shall Be...
AMSG Productions, 1997
Genre: Black Metal
1. Until the End
2. The Forest of the Damned (Forever Lost)
3. The Chimerical Quest
After hearing Seth's demo I don't think I would have ever imagined they would produce a recording like this. You really don't get the sense that their music is going to tend in this direction. Seth have returned with a new sound and even with a new logo. It seems none of the work on the rehearsal demo ever made it into the studio, which makes sense given how different the material sounds.
"By Fire, Power Shall Be..." is a recording soundly rooted in the sounds of Scandinavian bands, but this time around Seth evokes a far more epic and melancholic approach. All the tracks are over nine minutes in length and even include keyboard sections here and there for added emphasis. Finally Heimoth is able to record two guitar tracks and it really makes quite a big difference for the Seth sound. To top it off Foucon Noir's bass work is highly audible making for an excellent backdrop to the music. Seth sound very polished and experienced, which is shocking given that they're a rather young band at this time. However, they still haven't really hit that creative stage that truly separates them from other Black Metal bands that already exist. I get a sense of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man's Child, and Ulver from this recording. Keep in mind that this is with a 1996 reference and all those projects sounded very different back then, but they were no less extremely influential to the development of Black Metal as a whole. I feel that Seth is most similar to those bands because of how melodic and beautiful their music is presented. It's definitely not on the vicious or even extremely dark side. Instead Seth uses artful approaches with keyboards and acoustic passages to paint a beautiful picture for us. All around I found this EP fairly calming and beautiful.
Despite the fact that Seth is still re-inventing their sound, this is actually a really good album. Seth clearly show they are stellar musicians and beyond that excellent song crafters. I highly recommend checking this out and Seth is on my list of bands to watch for sure.
Drakkar Productions, 1996
Genre: Black Metal
1. The Infinite Corridor
2. Darkness Remains
3. The Black Weapon
4. Apocalyptic Dreams
5. Until the End
Considering I've had this band discography for quite some time, I figured it was high time I start reviewing this given the fact they've returned in 2013 with a new album. This is Seth's original demo tape released through a young Drakkar Productions known for releasing very underground French projects. Seth is no different at this stage of their career. This demo is certainly limited to some number, but I'm not sure how many were made. I own #92, so maybe they pressed 100?
The early days of Seth were in the guise of a fairly raw and traditional sounding Black Metal band. The rawness is no doubt that this is a rehearsal recording according to the booklet recorded on the 27th and 28th of June. Naturally the mix is certainly suspect and it's not easy to hear everything through the incredibly raw recording. What I get out of this is that Seth is clearly a skilled band with decent guitar work, but since this is a rehearsal there is only one guitar playing. One of the aspects of Seth that later became clear was how reliant on a second guitar their music was. The music is okay with a single guitar, but Heimoth's care with writing two guitar lines really made their music stand out a lot more. I think the French scene was still dealing with it's influences from the Scandinavian bands, so the demo doesn't sound too different. I think France's scene would develop more over the next few years and Seth would be a necessary band in that development, but during these times I feel like you either followed the twisted approach of the LLN or you followed in the footsteps of the founders of the genre. Seth is clearly following the Scandinavian approach, but I think they would eventually come into their own on future releases.
In the end their first foray into the scene is not too bad. I keep trying to remember the time frame in which this was released and thinking back to what it was like when I first heard Seth. I don't remember everything I heard and I don't think Seth was a band I immediately latched onto. It was only in later releases that I really felt Seth were doing something special. We'll see how it goes... I haven't analyzed their discography very deeply in a very long time.