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giovedì 16 gennaio 2020

Monarque - Jusqu'à la Mort

#FOR FANS OF: Atmospheric Black
When we speak about strong local scenes in the black metal sub-genre, there are a few ones which always stand out among the best, and if I should choose one with a particularly strong profile, I would personally mention the Quebec scene. It has always amazed its almost infallible quality, its devotion to the French language and this area´s cultural heritage, regardless of the specific lyrics of each project. Another fact I find particularly interesting, is the tasteful balance between a straightforward aggression and the atmospheric essence of the genre, which all these projects seem to master. You will find some of them which tend to lean to one side or another, but without leaving apart completely the aforementioned balance.

Monarque is one of the most interesting projects of this scene and unsurprisingly they master this delicate balance between strength and ambiance. This is not a new project as it was founded in 2003 by musicians who actively take part in other bands located in the same region, as the excellent Forteresse, Cjethe or Dèlétère, just to mention some of them. Prior to the current work, the band released three very interesting albums, the last one, ‘Lys Noir’, was released in 2013. It seems that the band is taking an increasing time to release a new full length, although fortunately they have returned with a new EP entitled ‘Jusqu'à la Mort’. The new work contains only three songs though its length, clocking around 22 minutes, and its quality make the listen worth of your time. The homonymous opening track is the finest example of a black metal song equally rich in ferocity, speed and melody. The vocals are aggressive, raw and wild, always accompanied by generally fast drums, though with a healthy variety in their tempo. The guitars are obviously the highlight with those riffs full of atmosphere and strength. Their melodies are truly addictive and excellently executed. In the background we find here and there some arrangements which enhance the ambience, making the music even more hypnotizing. As the EP progresses, those characteristics become stronger, especially for those touches which make each composition unique. Those acoustic guitars, the background keys or the organ, just to mention a few examples, provide the perfect contrast to the ferocious vocals and the top-notch guitars. All the songs may present a similar structure, but all the tweaks make each song in this EP distinctive and interesting.

At the end, Monarque has returned with an excellent EP which makes the wait for the next full length even more exciting. Personally, I only hope that the next record will have new compositions in the vein of this EP. Moreover, I would not be unhappy if they include some of these tracks as I have really enjoyed them. (Alain González Artola)

(Sepulchral Productions - 2019)
Score: 80