Review Summary: Despair has come. Laugh in its face.
There is nothing typically Black Metal in themes of this album (or so I believe, my French is not perfect). Basalte, the Canadian macabre Lo-Fi extravaganza, decided against delving into the common for the genre hate-praise of mundanity and life’s brutality, generic forest yelps or canticles for Satan. Basalte went and created a record that’d reflect our world the way Michel Gondry addresses reality, by grandly ***ing with it. Indeed, while not being a precedent of a typically thematic Blackened Death Metal, Vertige
is darker and more mind-twisting than most others.
Four songs and over fifty minutes of material, but it swings by seemingly in a snap of fingers. That is not something you see every day, but this album is so concise and cohesive that it accomplishes jamming 50 minutes into one, fun and constantly intrigued listen. The way with which the band manipulates the sound layers is also noteworthy. Sometimes a guitar would pop out or the drums will get increasingly louder and everything around more distorted. It keeps everything fresh and still pumps you up for further listening.
And each song is also sure to delve into different genre directions. The opener “Ce que le corps doit au sol” is your classic black metal invigoration with monstrous instrumental performance and a gorgeous post-metal-like melody. Meanwhile, the follower “La sclérose coule dans ses veines” is more of a gloomy doom-death cut that just strikes with utter dystopian magnitude. The track also presents a lot of emphasis on percussion. “Acouphène” is a doom track in a more classic sense, its instrumentation often delves into that twanging old-school sound, but many a time rapidly turns into a complete beat-down chaos, which we grew accustom to in the track before. Then “Éclat de verre” comes into play, where we are suddenly confronted by the most dismal atmosphere on the album (somehow, that is possible). That song just feels like the most solitary night walk through a crime-ridden town.
If anything can be held against the album, it’s the sometimes overlong, drone-like, lo-fi, obscure intros and outros. Then again, Basalte jump from one genre to another, from style to style, from one instrumental performance type to a whole new one in each track and sometimes even within one track alone. A strange interlude, which is an obvious trick to make the following explosive part of the album have even bigger punch, is forgivable. Vertige
is not a dystopia per se. It is a reflection of current reality and if that seems nightmarish to you, then there is no hope for you. The rest of us, we’ll just go ahead and have ourselves a session with this mirror of the world. Peace be.