More than three years ago the Montréal black metal band Basalte released a debut album named Vestige that hit me like a bolt from the blue. It affected me so strongly that I did what I have a tendency to do when experiencing such episodes of euphoria — I launched into a spontaneous spate of metaphors (here):
“Vestige consists of three long songs (from 9 minutes to almost 17), ‘Mirage’, ‘Luminaire’, and ‘Obtuse’. They are guitar manifestos, strange journeys across distortion-shrouded alien soundscapes that sometimes seem like the eruption of volcanos on a Saturnian moon and then at other times shine like the Saturnian rings themselves, shimmering with the glint of sunlight on ice crystals. The drumming is just as unpredictable and just as transfixing, like a comet with a mind of its own that moves around and through the cosmic lightshow, heedless of the pull of gravity.”
I didn’t stop there, but the subject of this post isn’t a reminder of Vestige but an introduction to Basalte’s new album Vertige, which is being released today, and which you can stream after the bulwark of paragraphs I’ve written on this occasion. I’m not surprised I’ve become euphoric again; I am surprised that Vertige not only reaches the heights of its predecessor but exceeds them.