Title: Calamites & Les Calamites
Label: Antiq Records
Release date: 28 May 2021
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording
Ascète brings a sense of nostalgia, commingled with fury, a beauty aesthetic in musicianship, and vocals that explode screaming for the limits of your own voice. Their music is black metal, with differences in the tone, finding more of a melodic note in some of the tracks. Emotions are present in this music, and upon further listening, you discover the layers and how that emotional impact is felt.
The four-piece band has been around since 2015 and first put out a demo in 2016 simply called “Ascète”. Following that, a split in 2018, a demo again in 2019, and a single in 2020. This is their first full-length album and I am glad to clap ears on it in order to further introduce them to the metal community.
What follows is a seven- track musical odyssey that I will do my best to describe, but I strongly suggest that you find this album and listen for yourselves too.
The first is “Les Causses s’en Gaussent” (The causes laugh at it), which has a brief operatic singing intro, clean vocal by a woman, followed by a growly scream from Ascete’s lead vocal. Guitars and drums go at then, with energies of biting fury. The operatic female vocal comes back, to then show a different rhythm of the guitar. Definitely a mix of black metal and melodic, and punk. I hear a punk styling in the guitars, and all combined with the drums manic speeds, it is very energetic and angry. The female clean vocal and the black metal harsher vocals meet together at the end of the song.
The second is “Danse de la Senescence” (Dance of senescence) has a tremolo-picking intro, very rapid and precise. Riffs come in hard, and speedier riffs play with the hard-hitting riffs successfully. It’s like valleys and mountains, steady climbing and lowering with the tremolos. Vocal is a gravelly, screamed style, with more of a long release of scream showing itself in this track. Drums are hitting just as hard as the back music. Again, the guitar and mood change in the middle, more of a slower, almost folksy feel. Soon the female vocal comes in to round out the quieter section. Tremolos and screaming vocals are back and holding nothing back after this brief interlude. This song displayed the skill and mood of the various guitars. The last note is a beautiful bass lead out.
The third, “Courroux du Leberou” (Wrath of Leberou), wrath and speed in the guitar tremolos, with vocals adding savagery to the song.
The fourth, “Sorlodais Huroux”, cold, doomy, sound in guitars and tempo to a slower, deeper growl vocal to begin with. There are sections of spoken French peppered through this track, with the guitar lightning to very brief expression. More of the doom-inspired guitar and vocals, giving the mood of heaviness here. Near the end, guitar riffing and speed pick up and vocals die out in one last rageful scream.
The fifth, “Heritiers de l’Austerite” (Heirs of Austerity), moody keyboard notes, a twinkling sound mired in sadness. A very beautiful beginning of single finger notes on the keyboard, with the vocal as a whispered growl. I liked the difference in vocal style shown in this.
The sixth, “La Lanterne du Mort” (The Lantern of the Dead), guitar here is acoustic and edged in that black metal bleakness. Lead guitar picks it out next and builds on that. What follows is more of the beautiful tremolo highlighted by the guttural vocal and drums.
Seventh, “Calamites les Calamites” (Calamities Calamities), a calmer beginning of guitar strumming,
To the raging style of vocal. The ending section is acoustic guitar and whispered guttural vocal.
I can say that this band deserves to be heard, with time to listen to all of the layers built into the tracks. As we know when we hear music over and over, we get more from the songs, and pretty soon the parts that didn’t speak to us on first hearing start to make sense as we take our time to explore. To sum it up, take time to explore this album. 8/10 Metal Marie
8/10 To greatness and glory!
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