Band: Sainte Marie des Loups
Album: Funérailles de feu
Label: Amor Fati Productions
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: November 25, 2020
For Fans Of: Darkthrone, Vlad Tepes, Drowning the Light
Underground Black Metal in 2020 more often than not, can be described in the exact same way: One misanthrope, cloaked in mystery, performs all instrumentation and vocals with a sound that is raw and underproduced, akin to the music made popular by Darkthrone and France’s Black Legions. While this was all true for Sainte Marie des Loups début self-titled record, the band’s follow up, Funérailles de feu, sees one noted exception; the band is now a three piece. While it is unclear what each member’s contributions are, this expansion marks the band’s move from a solo, side-project by O. from Chambre Froide, into a full time band.
After making waves with their début in 2018, Sainte Marie de Loups return with a sound that is fuller and exceeds all expectations. Funerailles de feu, feels like a natural progression for the band as it builds upon the sound that they have become known for by incorporating new elements and stepping up musicianship in all areas. The album kicks off with back to back tracks of pure unadulterated black metal glory, with ear worm riffs that would have been right at home on an early Darkthrone record however the comparisons to other bands end after the first two tracks. The title track follows and opens much in the same vein, however, at roughly the midway point of the song it becomes apparent that we are in for something different, and truly special with this album. Suddenly, lead guitars enter as the rhythm riffs turn almost punky. We even get harmonizing duel guitars for a quick minute that could have come from a thrash or death metal record. The fourth track, slows things down to a mid-tempo, at times doom-like pace, that is a welcome change of pace for the record, and harkens back to some of the soundscapes the band was playing with on the first album. The final three songs are much in the same vein as the first two but continue to incorporate new elements that make them more interesting than most of the “raw” underground black metal out there.
In addition to the new elements, Funérailles de feu, also sees a marked step up in production from its predecessor. Where the self-titled record was almost fuzzy and difficult to discern, Funérailles de feu,while never getting to a point of feeling over-produced, is much cleaner in sound. It feels almost elegant at times which is not something that I thought I would be saying about this record going into it. The clean production suits the album well, as the guitar playing on Funérailles de feu is some of the best I have heard on a black metal album outside of the mainstream. While many bands focus simply on atmosphere, Sainte Marie des Loups have managed to create infectious songs that get stuck in your head and just won’t leave. Funérailles de feu, feels like an album that harkens back to the black metal heyday of the 1990’s, where songs mattered. There is a reason that a lot of the early bands still have a following and that is the staying power of songs like Transylvanian Hunger, Freezing Moon and I Am the Black Wizards. I think that this album has songs that have potential to be looked back on with the same reverence as these classics if the album is able to get the exposure that I believe that it deserves.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that this album will get the attention that I am hoping for. I think that the internet might go nuts for it, but that is just a small subsection. This is about as close as you are going to get to an accessible black metal album, without sacrificing the essence of what the genre is all about. In a year that has been surprisingly good for metal, and black metal in particular, Funérailles de feu is firmly among the top of the pack. I hope that it gets the recognition that it deserves as it is easily one of the best albums that 2020 has to offer.
Rating: 9.5 / 10
- Anciens serpents
- Funerailles de feu
- Dans les yeux de Meduse
- Interdit et oublié
- Des profondeurs le silence
Total Playing Time: 38:29