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Cantique Lépreux – Sectes [EP]

cantique lépreux – sectes [ep]

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Our loyal readers have already seen many a Canadian Black Metal release pass by, it is a scene that is developing rapidly and producing a good number of, often exceptionally good, acts. In particular, the scene in the Quebec region has taken a leading role in recent years and has been given the recognisable name of the first Forteresse album, ‘Metal Noir Quebecois’. Although not hugely prolific, Cantique Lépreux is one of the most celebrated bands from that particular scene. Late last year, the band released a new EP entitled ‘Sectes’.

While their band name, which translates to ‘Leper Hymn’, might suggest you’ll be served with some Old School Death Metal, the very opposite is the case. Before releasing this EP, the band released two albums on which it performed well-thought-out and atmospheric Black Metal. Like most bands from the local scene, Cantique Lépreux leaned on the atmosphere built by the use of long-drawn-out melodies and, for example, the use of acoustic passages. But, where some scene-mates got bogged down in some more mellow Post Black Metal-like contrivances, Cantique Lépreux did remain a ‘real’ Black Metal band in which plenty of attention remained for solid riffs as well.

Three years later, the band comes out with this EP and surely presents a curious musical turnaround. Although the atmosphere has not completely disappeared and the bombast of, say, the first two Emperor records can still be discerned in the background, the focus seems to be more on a stripped-down and back-to-basics variant of Black Metal. The solidly rocking riffs and especially the faster pace stand out in this. Where previous work clearly leaned on atmosphere and emotion, this is much more of a bare-knuckle Black Metal punch very much in the vein of older Gorgoroth or maybe even Urgehal. Because of the melodies that are being pushed back in the background a little, but most definitely not completely being erased, a band like Taake or Kampfar comes to mind as well.

The Norwegian feel of the first two albums remains and is actually even more prominent, but has clearly shifted. Fans of the earlier work would do well to listen to this EP first, but for me it was a pleasant surprise.

Cantique Lépreux

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