Review Summary: A concept album in reminiscence of the Bathory legend
Certain stories have a tendency to inspire artists, even after hundreds of years. The legend of Elisabeth Báthory -The blood countess- is one of those stories. Even four-hundred years after her death her tale still inspires many artists, the Swedish black metal band Bathory
, or the album ‘Cruelty and the Beast’
by Cradle Of Filth
are but two of the many examples. Meet the band Csejthe
, named after the castle where Báthory tortured and murdered hundreds, in some stories even thousands of young woman and bathed in their blood too retain her beauty and youth.
is a black metal band from Quebec, Canada, that released their debut album ‘La mort Du Prince Noir’
back in 2009 and now strikes back with their sophomore attempt called ‘Reminiscence’
, a concept album surrounding the Báthory legend. However, this isn’t the same Csejthe
that brough you ‘La Mort Du Prince Noir’
, their lineup has drastically changed after the loss of all but two members. The guitarist Strigat, now also handling the vocals and the drummer Fiel (of Forteresse
-fame) are the only original members left. Joining their ranks is the guitarist Bardunor of Monarque
For those unfamiliar with the Báthory legend, it’s a grim story that started like this; Elisabeth Báthory was a Hungarian countess who lives four hundred years ago and one day, while her maid was combing Elisabeth’s hair, she made the mistake of pulling Elisabeth’s hair a little too hard and hurting the countess. Who on her part hit the maid until she started bleeding, when Elisabeth looked at her blood-stained hands afterwards, she thought they looked younger. At this point Elisabeth started to torture and murder young woman and bath in their blood too retain her beauty and youth.
“Blood is eternal youth”
The album opens with a comparable grim opening; in the song ‘Oraison’
we are greeted by a melancholic church organ and an ambient landscape that immediately creates an uneasy atmosphere that will last for the entire album. Elisabeth’s victims suffered greatly during her torture, and this feeling of pain is something Csejthe
will try to conjure up during the albums entire playtime.
The church organ starts to fade and after a small build up the first real song, the title track called ‘Réminiscence’
starts to play. A very spatial drum sound, tremelo picking guitars in the distance and a faraway echoing scream enter the scene. All covered with a thick fog that shrouds the music and creates a mysterious feeling. Similarities to Drudkh
are immediately apparent. Csejthe
crafted a dark, cold album; One that is heavily influenced by the original second wave black metal from Scandinavia. But Csejthe
has no intention of creating a carbon-copy of this sound and add a lot of their own to the mix to create an original concoction that wears its influences proudly on its sleeve while still sounding fresh. A bigger emphasis on atmosphere and depression gives Csejthe
a striking resemblance to other Canadian bands like Gris
and Sombres Forets
, while the rawer mix an spatial sound sets it apart from its contemporaries and bring us back to the original comparison to Drudkh
The album continues and once we hit the next song called, ‘Chasseresse’
the listener has been plunged headfirst into the legend of Elisabeth Báthory. The band members clearly love their craft as they brought a lot of passion into the album and will make sure you notice this. Strigats tortured and desperate screams keep you on your toes, while Bardunors lead guitar lines bring a lot of melody and emotion to the album. Drummer Fiel might even be the most impressive member of the band with is mercilessly fast drumming and impressive techniques. While the album could easily be described a blastbeats and tremelo picking, the subtle nuances in the album still give it a diverse feeling.
This diverse feeling will make sure the album’s 41 minute run time comes quicker than you would have imagined. Soon we arrive at the final track and absolute highlight of the album, called ‘Chants des martyres’
. A monumental but instrumental track, where Csejthe
throws everything at you for a final time. Once the guitar starts to fade out and the ambient landscapes start to take over again, you know it is coming to an end. This sooting feeling symbolises the last four years of countess Báthory’s life. Locked away in her castle in a room without doors and windows, far away from everyone she could harm, waiting for her end.
With ‘Reminiscence’ Csejthe
created a great atmospheric black metal album, one that honoured the source material it borrowed from in both story and genre. It’s a great album that any fan of atmospheric black metal, or even black metal in general can enjoy.
The ending to ‘Reminiscence’
comes very quick, an honour Báthory’s victims did not have. 4.3/5