Title: Jusqu’à la Mort
Label: Sepulchral Productions
Release date: 24 June 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
To the “filthy casuals” that know more about the larger black metal bands, it can often be a bit of a nightmare for people wishing to mine beneath the surface to discover the lesser known and more unusual bands that are part of the scene. MONARQUE (as good as they are) are a typical example of this – with numerous EP’s, split albums, collaborations, and things recorded to extremely limited runs on CD-R’s that will be a nightmare to source and probably fetching stupid prices on a certain popular online auction site. Then again, this is an inherent trait of the underground black metal scene in general – the more “obscure” the band is, the harder it is to find anything about them. However, we at BAZ aim to decode and demystify such things and expose them to a wider world.
Despite such quibbles, MONARQUE are one of the big names of the Québec black metal scene along with such bands as Forteresse, Sorcier Des Glaces, and Cjesthe commonly referred to as the “Métal Noir Québécois”, that apparently share the unusual quirk of a French dialect specific to their homeland. However, in typical British fashion languages other than English are an abstract concept to yours truly, seeing as one dropped out of GCSE French – so let’s move on from this grey area and focus more on the music.
There has been a lengthy absence from the scene by MONARQUE, and it’s certainly good to hear that this hasn’t impeded their creativity versus the stunning “Lys noir” album that was released in 2013. The only downside to “Jusqu’à la Mort” is that it’s too damn short as an EP, however the whole listening experience is deeply immersive upon playback that conveys the illusion of being longer than it actually is. The riffs are much tighter and finely honed, with small improvements upon album production that add a certain icy drama to the music, conveying an atmosphere that is reminiscent of what was around two decades ago without sounding like outright plagiarists. Songs such as “Le Serment Prononcé” are rich and involving, that take an almost symphonic approach without being oversaturated in densely layered keyboards which may irritate listeners who couldn’t get on with bands such as Summoning and similar artists. The icing on the sonic cake is “Le grand Deuil”, that sets the atmosphere with violins that is almost Saor-esque in places (to use as a familiar point of reference), that spirals on for almost 11 minutes that ebbs and flows with a haunting and dramatic effect, where the band’s line up is at full creative flow when the track was committed to tape. 8/10 Goth Mark
Good to have you back, dudes. Don’t leave it so long next time.
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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