|#FOR FANS OF: Atmospheric Black|
Leaving behind the classic Norwegian or Swedish black metal scenes, there are some other quite strong scenes, which have risen in different parts of the world. Some nice examples are the Ukrainian or the Polish ones, among others. One of those which has been highly praised by fans over the world is the one of Quebec, in Canada. As many of you surely know, in Quebec, in contrast to the rest of the country, they speak in French and the nationalism is quite strong. In fact, they have held several referendums, where the pro-independence parties were very close to win, though the result was to stay in Canada. Here, black metal has been deeply influenced by this political movement and many of its bands show a quite political approach in their lyrics. Among them, we can find one of the most notorious acts, the Forteresse. The band was formed in 2006 and quite shortly after its inception, they released an acclaimed debut entitled 'Métal Noir Québécois', where their political views were pretty clear. This album is considered a classic effort in the scene and helped Forteresse to carve a respected status among the fans. Musically speaking, Forteresse plays a quite guitar driven form of atmospheric black metal, relentlessly fast but with a strong atmosphere, especially in the old albums where the production was rawer.
Anyway, the band evolved slightly through their career and more than ten years after its creation, the current line-up, formed by the two founders and other two musicians, decided to release a new opus, the fifth record in their history, to make clear that Forteresse is stronger than ever. A jubilee is always important and I assume that the members wanted to do their best. 'Thèmes Pour la Rébellion' is the title of the new beast and I can promise that it doesn´t disappoint. Comparing the new album with the oldest ones, the first big difference is the production. It is clearly louder, cleaner and more powerful. It abandons the classic raw but atmospheric sound, for a heavier one. This might disappoint some old fans, but in my opinion the band still manages to create songs, which are very strong though they keep an atmospheric touch. What has no changed is the energy and speed of their compositions. Fiel, who is no longer in the band, smashes the drums with a relentless pace. The compositions breathe energy and fury. As both the album´s artwork and the songs demonstrate, this album is a perfect inspiration for a, this time only musical, rebellion. After a short intro, the second track “Spectre de la Rébellion” makes clear that this work will take no prisoners. But probably, the highlight of the album, and also my favourite track, is the next one, “Là Où Nous Allons”. What a beast of a song, believe me. Since the initial riff the track oozes strength and fierceness. The guitars are excellent, the riffs are hypnotic yet powerful, while Athros screams with all his fury. As I have already mentioned the cd is quite guitar driven, more than ever I would say, and I can´t recall a moment where the keys are audible, if they are used. Arrangements wise, what I like are the choirs they used a few times, like in “Vespérales”. Those voices give an epic touch to their compositions and I wish they could use them more oftenly.
In conclusion, Forteresse has expanded its musical boundaries releasing in 2016 (but re-edited in 2018) their most poignant and furious album so far. The atmospheric nature of the compositions is still there, though it’s partially buried by the relentless fury and speed of the new tracks. At the end, it is a great album and from the beginning to the end, the tracks will be able to capture and mantain your attention, mainly thanks to the awesome work with the guitars. (Alain González Artola)