Picture of Forteresse

Crépuscule d'Octobre

Forteresse - Crépuscule d'Octobre ©2011 Sepulchral Productions
1. Silence d'octobre
2. Le triomphe des douze
3. La lame du passé
4. Mon esprit rôde toujours
5. Spectres du solstice
6. Enfants du Lys

Darkthrone warned us about "Canadian Metal" a few years ago on F.O.A.D.. Though most of us surely think of Voivod and perhaps Anvil, it turns out there's a thriving and growing black metal scene in Canada. On one side of the country, you have the so-called "Cascadian" bands who seem to veer towards environmentalism and anarchism (as a political belief, not the going to school naked anarchy). But back in Quebec, there's a blossoming scene that focuses on the French Canadian separatist movement. Perhaps it should be called "Bloc Metal". One of the first bands I happened to check out from this regional scene is Forteresse, who are definitely entrenched in the classic early 90s style of black metal, at least from what I hear on their most recent release, Crépuscule d'Octobre.

Despite the time I spent in Canada and being surrounded by various families originally from Quebec, I must admit my ability to speak French is nonexistent. Google translate informs me the title of this record essentially translates to "October Dusk", which fits in perfectly with general black metal standards. The album cover, featuring a bit of waving grains, actually reminds me much more of Saskatchewan, but any black metal from that region would be more appropriately frostbitten and grim than separatist and nationalistic. Anyhow, Crépuscule d'Octobre has a very orthodox old school vibe to it, heavy on atmosphere, big reverberating sounds and high end guitar melody lines. The music is speedy yet very fluid with hints of melody throughout. Regardless of what they might be singing about or how nationalistic they may be (I personally worry about anyone who waves their flags furiously, whether it's a redneck from Georgia or a Ukrainian black metal musician), Forteresse demonstrates that no matter their lyrical inspiration, music has the ability to transcend spoken language. This is a solid raw black metal record that has some fairly well written songs that are worth hearing more than once. They might not even be remotely interested in redefining this realm of music, but they deserve credit for doing it well.

Forteresse will have little appeal outside of those who already enjoy the raw, atmospheric type of black metal. However, for those who are into this sort of thing, Crépuscule d'Octobre is a pretty decent listen. Despite the band's nationalism, it demonstrates that black metal is a populist, borderless style of music that allows expression no matter where you occupy a spot on the globe.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2012

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