Review Summary: What the hell is a "Lower Canada Rebellion"? Is it a sandwich?
Forteresse have to be one of the most relentless black metal acts to come out of ‘Merica’s not-as-great-but-still-pretty-ok northern sibling. I don’t mean that in the same way one might describe another of Canada’s exports, war metal trailblazers Blasphemy, or really any of the old second wave Norwegian acts. They don’t hammer you over the head with raw, bludgeoning riffs. They, in point of fact, hammer you over the head with semi-cleanly produced, blazing, harmonized tremolo riffs. It’s a minor difference when you take a step back, but there is something unique in their approach. Thèmes Pour la Rébellion
is atmospheric black metal that doesn’t really bother to shoehorn in some generic ambient bits in between the screams and riffs to give it that “atmospheric” qualifier. The harmonized leads and “epic” feeling behind the melodies make it seem as much an atmospheric black metal album as many things listed in the genre. Forteresse essentially packaged up about thirty seven minutes of unstoppable melodic black metal, no gimmicks or tricks to be found. What’s more, no one is complaining.
As much of a wall of sound as these tracks can feel like, it’s the guitars that do most of the heavy lifting on Thèmes Pour la Rébellion
. With the exception of the brief introductory track “Aube de 1837” and the shockingly calm closer “La Dernier Voyage”, the remaining six tracks are all packed to the brim with unending riffs and stupefyingly catchy leads. As much as it’s essentially the same thing for a little over half an hour, it’s amazing how little that seems to matter in the grand scheme of things. The tremolos and shrieks and relentless beats (credit to drummer Fiel who can only be an android as no mortal man can keep up with this many consecutive tremolo riffs) keep coming and I keep eating them up. Their acclaimed debut can boast of being more dynamic in its juxtaposition of Canadian folk with Forteresse’ trademark black metal, but someone thankfully told them the folk parts sucked at some point so they decided to overload us with the metal parts. Just when Thèmes Pour la Rébellion
would have really started to overstay its welcome, Forteresse throw up a big middle finger at everyone and make the closing track completely black metal-less and totally full up on ambient samples and atmospheric keys just to make me sound dumb for complimenting them on their straightforward approach to atmo black metal. If I wasn’t sure that these French-Canadian secessionists didn’t give a *** what I thought about them, then I’m damn sure now.