The negativity of 2016 led to an outpouring of great metal releases including the fifth effort from French Canadian black metal foursome Forteresse (which translates rather easily to Fortress). Forteresse doesn’t have the same muted, agressive feel of other Canadian metal bands well known in America, like Mitochondrian or Adversarial. Instead, the band relies heavily melodic, pretty riffs and a larger than life, bombastic sound that hooks listeners upon impact. From the first notes of Spectre de la rébellion, Thèmes pour la rébellion assaults listeners, swooping them into an epic battle scene, triumphant and wild.
Forteresse uses tri notes and dissonance in predictable but captivating ways, creating an ethereal atmosphere that’s both mesmerizing and highly memorable, leaving you wanting more. They even inject clean and epic chanting into tracks like Là où nous allons similar to that of Old Forest or even Summoning. The ambiance of the final instrumental track, Le dernier voyage, is eerily reminiscent of Burzum’s more ambiant tracks like Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte
The naturalistic sound effects scattered throughout the album are nice touch and add to the underlying atmosphere found on this album. Thèmes pour la rébellion had me lost in its hooks throughout the entire album. The spellbinding release is meant to be taken in as whole as every song bleeds beautifully into the next with no boring filler.
Forteresse has me feeling even more hopeful about the diversity of the budding metal scene coming out of Quebec. The band’s lyrical emphasis of Canadian nationalism is interesting and is something I am unfamiliar with. The feel of the album is victorious in tandem with the nationalist undertones, which adds a nice touch. Thèmes pour la rébellion could easily become a classic in the black metal archives with its focus on treble-y spellbinding melody, dreamy ambiance, and epic atmosphere. This album is truly a gem.