Although this project seemingly appeared out of thin air with hardly any release information, I have a pretty good feeling we'll find out more in coming months as metal blogs hurl accolades wildly at this record.
Cantique Lépreux (French for "Leprous Hymn") evidently sprung out of the burgeoning Québécois black metal scene, home to bands like Forteresse, Neige Éternelle, and Monarque. According to this, the project is helmed by Blanc Feu, vocalist of Chasse-Galerie (which is named after a pretty ridiculous French-Canadian folktale if you're unfamiliar.)
"La Meute" gallops forward atop a plodding, stripped-down D-beat before cascading into volatile blast beats and churning double bass. Forgoing the genre's usual taste for menace and hatred, the instrumentals carry themselves with a sort of stately poise, like some once great king treading ponderously toward the grave. The guitars alternately enshroud the coarse, anguished vocals in a veil of minor-key melancholy and glide over the mix with a barrage of tremolo-picked lead lines.
The parts coalesce to form a poignant, surprisingly vulnerable take on black metal that wallows in atmosphere and sentiment, yet still manages to advance with soldierly resolve.
"La Meute" will arrive on the album Cendres Célestes ("Celestial Ashes") via Hymnes d'Antan in September 2015.
- Tom Fullmer