Canadian black metalers Forteresse return with Crépuscule d’Octobresse their fourth album and a release that falls a little short of the anticipated expectation. Released via Sepulchral Productions November 22nd the album finds the band take a side step away from the previous more atmospheric sounds and feel to bring forth an aggressive and traditional black metal assault whilst still rippling with the bands “Québécois” instinct. Press releases call the album ‘a new epic chapter in Forteresse’s history!’, maybe a little over the top in is declaration but certainly the band has delivered a different flavour to their sound even if the album is not as impressive as one was expecting.
Formed in 2006 in Montreal the trio of vocalist Athros, guitarist/bassist Moribond, and Fiel on drums and keyboards continue to honour and pay homage to the ancestors and ancient traditions that have forged La Belle Province. The music and songs within Crépuscule d’Octobresse are strong and aggressive, commanding the listener with their intent and energy as well as creativity. From the opening atmospheric and unsettling instrumental opener ‘Silence D’octobre’ senses are stirred and the ears boundaries stretched. Once second song ‘Le Triomphe Des Douze’ assumes responsibility for manipulating the recipient the attack raises intensity with direct and deliberate aggression. The sound is harsh and merciless, the attack raw and incessant. Uncompromising rhythms pummel the senses as primal coarse vocals unleash the song’s lyrical content. The track as the album itself shows, demands and will have attention, Forteresse not a band to let the listener off the hook.
The songs are decently varied, tracks like ‘La Lame Du Passé’, ‘Mon Espirit Rôde Toujours’, and the releases strongest moment ‘Spectres Du Solstice’, offer and provide plenty of intriguing and compelling elements. Their rhythms consume and dictate whilst intrusive guitars unleash addictive riffs and piercing leads that tenderise the nerves with their incisive mix of intensity and acidic melodies.
Musically and the creativity of the songs is strong if not explosive but where the album is a disappointment is the production and overall treatment of the music. The band’s sound and intent is raw and imposing, devoid of frills or smooth edges it is caustic and gratifyingly abrasive. Unfortunately the production takes this too far and leaves the release sounding like a basically recorded demo, the strong elements and skill that deserve a better reception negated and weakened. Whether this was the original intent sound wise only the band knows but it is a shame that what is a good album is left limited by a production that gives the release a single tone to deplete the instinctive creativity.
Obviously personal taste dictates opinion to some extent and there will be many that will relish the bare sound and open rawness but for others what is a rather strong album musically will lose its appeal as it runs its course to become an intriguing curiosity at best rather than the essential and important release it could have been.