(At the end of February we published a guest edition of our SHADES OF BLACK column [here] which began as an e-mailed group of recommendations by our valued supporter Speelie. It included music from the Québec black metal scene. Just a few days ago Speelie e-mailed additional recommendations that focused entirely on black metal from Québec, and with our encouragement he turned that into the following post.)
The Métal Noir Québécois guys sure like to keep busy. NCS has posted plenty of news and links about the Quebec scene, including some from me previously. But Quebec continues to take a leading place among the flood of 2020 Black Metal releases.
Forteresse were always the standard bearers for the Métal Noir Québécois movement, but I suspect the band is on hold for the moment. The guys are all involved in other projects right now, and these are starting to see the light. There seems to be an unwritten rule that the cooler the old, colonial-era painting that a Quebec band can find, the better the album it is used for. Guitarist Moribond has a new solo project called Serment, with this amazing cover art:
An advance review suggests that the album is fast and aggressive, unlike some of his past work. When the first song becomes available on May 14, we’ll hear for ourselves. This will be on Sepulchral Productions, the label of Québec Black Metal pioneer Myrkhaal, who handles the physical releases of many of the bigger Métal Noir Québécois projects.
UPDATE: Here now is the first song from the record:
It is somehow appropriate that, at this time of many Quebec albums coming out, Myrkhaal was able to tell his personal history and that of his company in a recent two-part interview with Bardo Methodology (here and here).
Besides Serment’s Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté, which comes out on June 23, Sepulchral will also release, on the same day, the debut of Quebec project Sombre Héritage (by Quebec veteran Exu, from Hak-Ed Damm), available here, and a re-issue of Forteresse’s debut, Métal Noir Québécois (which gave its name to the scene).
Forteresse vocalist Athros has spent the last year or so collaborating with Monarque (who isn’t part of Forteresse, but often helps them out live). He contributed drums to Monarque’s recent Drave EP, and in return Monarque has performed the vocals for Athros’s Sacrenoir project.
They released a good debut song last year, and now have made a full EP titled Leur Temple Brûl, which came out on May 8.
Moribond contributed the EP’s outro piece, which likely means the guys are all on good terms, while Forteresse is on the back-burner (third official member Matrak recently became a full member of Délétère, after touring with them the past few years, and also is in Cantique Lépreux). Sacrenoir is raw and aggressive, and might appeal to listeners who think that some of what comes out of Quebec labeled as Black Metal is too polished and atmospheric.
Monarque seems to be the glue that holds the Quebec scene together. He seems to know everyone, and play with most of them at one time or another. Besides his band Monarque, and projects Sanctuaire and Drave, he runs the small label Les Productions Hérétiques. This label [here] mostly releases cassettes, in very limited runs.
Since the last time I mentioned it, Monarque has updated his site with some new releases and re-releases. Besides the tape of Sacrenoir, Les Productions Hérétiques also recently put out the cassette of Turpitude’s debut. At first listen, this sounds like respectable raw Black Metal, with well-done vocals. But it becomes all the more impressive when you realize the music is written and performed by a 16-year old kid (while the vocals are done by someone else, who may be from Palestine).
Monarque also made some contributions to the independently-released late-2018 EP by Âme Perdue. I still haven’t identified who this guy is, but he is likely someone who has been part of the Quebec scene as a backing player, before writing his own material (for example, Délétère thank him in their liner notes).
The Âme Perdue EP is easily as good as anything by the better-known Métal Noir Québécois bands, and I mention it here because the artist has recorded a follow-up, which should become available in the coming months. I expect it will be very good, and that it will appeal to those who enjoy the other bands and projects discussed above.
The only irony in all this, for me, is that this material is coming out in the warm part of the year. However, that may be a plus, as on a hot day, some icy Québécois Black Metal might be just the thing to take the listener’s mind off of the weather…