Home > Music > Sorcier des Glaces – Moonrise in Total Darkness (2006)

Sorcier des Glaces – Moonrise in Total Darkness (2006)

Sorcier des Glaces seems to have bad luck with delays. The Snowland re-recording’s release was pushed back until May, and this album was allegedly recorded in 1999, and delayed 7 years due to the loss of the master tapes. As such, it’s similar in many ways to the band’s debut, serving as an expansion of the elements seen on that album, as opposed to a fundamental change in the band’s sound and songwriting (which did, in fact, show up on The Puressence of Primitive Forests).

Almost immediately when I listened to this, I noticed how much the production had improved – even the keyboard instrumental introducing the album had a new-found sheen, and therefore fundamentally different atmosphere to it. Everything is much less flat, more dynamic than it was on Snowland, which combined with the improved mixing makes it a fundamentally more accessible album. This boost also contributes to the perceived aggression of the songwriting. Things are faster, the vocals are louder and eschew the occasional whispers and clean sections of the past, etc.

However, the key to Sorcier des Glaces’ approach on this album remains the same – long, melodic riffs. The enhanced production makes this even more apparent; special attention was most definitely given to making them ‘pop’ out. The variety and complexity of these riffs has increased; “Behold the Halls of Ice” even showcases some upbeat, major key chord progressions that make it one of the more immediately memorable songs. Song structures continue to be varied, even more so than Snowland was. The ‘journey’ metaphor that occasionally pops up in metal continues, but unlike the often atmospheric, contemplative nature of that album, this one breaks into (and this is subjective) moments of raging fury, joy, nostalgia, and so forth. Again, the production is altering the way I perceive these songs – overall, things are more passionate. If Snowland represents a journey through … a snowland, Moonrise in Total Darkness could be considered, perhaps, what happens when someone decides to get involved in the land’s affairs.

Anyways, I definitely consider this album to be an improvement over its’ predecessor. The compositional and instrumental skills were there on the debut, but the production was a mixed blessing. Moonrise in Total Darkness takes the best aspects of its predecessor, and lets them shine with its improved aesthetics. The final comparison of the albums’ overall merits would be best served by giving Snowland MMXII a detailed listen, but some of the decisions the author made on that album would by default make things harder – most obviously the loud, violent production and the replacement of keyboard parts with more guitar lines. Definitely a comparison worth making. As it is, this is probably the best place to start with SdG if you’re new to them.

Highlights: “Distant Fog Floats in the Grim Nightforest” “Moonrise in Total Darkness”, “Behold the Halls of Ice”

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