SORCIER DES GLACES — Sorcier des Glaces (review)

SORCIER DES GLACES — Sorcier des Glaces album cover Album · 2018 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Sorcier des Glace are a veteran black metal band from Quebec who have seven albums to their name, one of them having been released three times once as a re-recording and once more as a compilation of the original recording and the re-recording.

Formed by Luc Gaulin (drums) and Sebastien Robitaille (a.k.a. Sorcier des Glaces - Sorcerer of Ice) (vocals, guitars, bass) in 1997, SDG's recording career got off to a slow start as both Gaulin and Robitaille were in the progressive power metal band Moonlyght. Their second album spent seven years shelved before finally being released in 2006.

This self-titled release is the duo's sixth full-length album (not counting the re-recording of their debut) and for it they tackled the daunting task of creating one single 50-minute track. I say daunting because there are more then a few ways that this could have gone wrong, one of the most obvious hazards being that of creating a track that sounds like it should have been separated into individual tracks, another being the creation of a track that just becomes tedious as the band tries to fill an album by stretching out ideas.

In fact, the review on Metal Archives offered the criticisms that the band was not as creative as in their younger days and that the album sounded like several tracks stitched together. With these sentiments in mind, I wondered if my decision to order this CD had been without unwise as I had only decided to add it on to the order of SDG's 2020 release. The fact alone that this is a 50-minute track reminded me that I have only ever listened to Edge of Sanity's "Crimson" twice exactly because it requires 45 minutes of un-interruption. Should I have picked an older album?

I settled in to the task of digesting this massive beast of a track during my morning commute, promising myself that I wouldn't fiddle with Facebook or twiddle tiles on Words With Friends. I'd just let the music take me away and hopefully I wouldn't be checking the time too often.

Much to my relief and delight, I found the entire track a pleasure to hear. Yes, the music does change as it would had it been composed as individual tracks; however, I felt the changes natural and appropriate, just as Opeth introduce changes to riff and tempo in some of their longer songs. There are some breaks with a clean electric or acoustic guitar taking over from the typical black metal style, and in one part we can hear footsteps in the snow as a transition. But each transition seemed very smooth and natural to me, and the main "song" parts never stretching on for too long. Even a couple of the atmospheric moments that could have overstayed their welcome soon gave way to a sudden blast of black metal riffing.

The general style of Sorcier des Glace is heavily inspired by the Norwegian scene of the early and mid-nineties but there is a frequent-enough use of clean electric and acoustic guitars to change up the music and as well, there are some parts that are closer to classic heavy metal riffing or at least not the typical second wave style.

I never looked at the time once and so it was a surprise to me when after some sombre chanting, the track ended. I had expected it to continue a little longer. That's a good indication that I found the music varied enough and enjoyable enough that I didn't lose interest or get bored.

One thing I really appreciate is the quality of the recording. It is very well done. I understand the trve kvlt black metal should sound like it was recorded in a Norwegian basement on a handheld tape recorded but I prefer a cleaner production. I like to hear the sound of the instruments well and not muddied or clipped.

This is my second Sorcier des Glace album after their third one and once again I am pleased with my purchase. From what I've heard of their latest album, this band continues to sound good after over 20 years, despite what some people have to say. I think "Sorcier des Glaces" is a success and a great album!
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