Home > Music > Sorcier des Glaces – The Puressence of Primitive Forests (2011)

Sorcier des Glaces – The Puressence of Primitive Forests (2011)

If Moonrise in Total Darkness was basically an expansion of what Sorcier des Glaces did on their first album, this is a significant stylistic change, although not to the degree that one would expect. Arguably, things have actually drifted closer towards the ‘Norwegian black metal’ aesthetic that the band so consciously adores, with the removal of keyboards in favor of more multi-tracked guitar lines, and the treblier production. The overall intricacy of the music has not decreased, though, and the first half of the album may be some of the best material this band has produced, period.

This time around, intros are eschewed in favor of immediate black metal with “Deathlike Silence”. In contrast to the varied moods that the previous album set up, this album more often veers towards aggression, hatred, etc. This effect is enhanced by the more comprehensible vocals, which are higher in the mix, and more consistent tempos. One can actually hear the misanthropy of the words; they’re not really anything special, although they’re competently written. Therefore, their main value to the songwriting is in timbre and rhythm. In addition, the production deserves special mention here for being so different in intent from the last two albums – while it’s (intentionally) blurrier and fuzzier than the previous two albums, the prominent drumming and vocals keep the actual clarity of the mix surprisingly high. Obviously, this wall of sound effect may make it harder for novices to get into the album, but that’s what Moonrise in Total Darkness is for.

Meanwhile, the songwriting formulas have changed, but only slightly. Puressence is less dynamic than its predecessor, but more so than the debut, although as usual, the way things are produced changes how I perceive this band, especially considering that every album of theirs seems to have a different production. Tonality has expanded yet again – songs like “Through the Veils of Frost” and “Tombworld” modulate frequently and in memorable ways. Overall, even at its most violent, this album retains the  subtle, ‘classy’ feeling that each of the previous albums have had, solely by expanding upon the already established ‘traditional’ black metal sound in compatible ways.

So yes, definitely add this one to your collection if you were into the last two albums, or into the Norwegian variants of black metal in general. I’d say that older formats show themselves slightly more overtly on this album than on the previous two, in fact – there are a few more riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place in an old, underground traditional metal song/album, as well as the occasional bits of ‘primitive’ black/thrash popping out. This is probably intentional – the album ends with a cover of “Tormentor I” by (shockingly) the cult 1st wave band Tormentor, and it’s not the fast, feral ‘studio’ version, but the longer, slower take on The Seventh Day of Doom. Still, Sorcier des Glaces was never about slavishly imitating those glory days, but instead expanding upon them. Besides, there’s always Warhammer if you want to hear slavish imitation of the earliest black metal…
Highlights: “Deathlike Silence”, “Cohort”, “Tombworld”

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