If one doesn't count the rework of Snowland in 2012 as a separate full length, Sorcier des Glaces now count seven albums since 1998, with the last decade being by far the most productive period for the band. The Canadian project hasn't really fallen short all these years, as a large part of their solid work has granted them a respected spot in the underground scene and their debut is hailed as an atmospheric black metal masterpiece by now. I haven't talked about them a lot in this blog even though I haven't missed a record since 2011 and The Puressence of Primitive Forests.
Un Monde de Glace at de Sang (=A World of Ice and Blood) is surprisingly, the first album of the band to go over an hour in length, even though they have flirted with this kind of duration in the past (last 2-3 records were about 50 minutes). Such a size is only necessary, giving Sorcier des Glaces the space they need to unfold their ideas and construct the wonderful, frosty atmosphere that they are craftsmen of. While this is true, don't imagine the sound of more modern atmospheric black metal bands with a lot of ambient elements in them, SDG are well set in their own approach and wear their 90's black metal influences and roots on their sleeves.
The first three tracks showcase parts in all different speeds, several epic guitar lines and well worked sections right up in SDG's game, being some of their most memorable material the last few years. The album has tracks both in English and French, the vocals are clear enough to follow, and as Un Monde de Glace at de Sang unfolds, it proves to be an absolutely captivating album. Acoustics are first introduced in the beginning self-titled track, which is also the longest and includes additions of samples of sword fighting, along the already established wintry feeling the album exerts.
A wonderful cover of the song "The Warlock" by Necromantia, originally in their classic debut Crossing the Fiery Path from 1993, gives extra hints of SDG's early black metal influences (they have covered Tormentor too in the past). After all, they are a band that belongs in that era anyway. Proper justice is given to this majestic composition, a great choice for a cover that is also great to see, how Sorcier des Glaces would approach and replay it.
One of my favorites from Un Monde de Glace at de Sang is "l'Éternelle Majesté des Montagnes (partie II)", which seems to be a musical continuation of the first part of the song with the same name "l'Éternelle Majesté des Montagnes", that can be found in Snowland, the band's first album. The two pieces both start with a kind of chanting vocals, and in the case of this record, the spirit of the older times is a little bit stronger also. "(Return to) the Primitive Grandeur" is another track where Sorcier des Glaces use more repetitive, faster tempos along with their potent melodies.
I'm quite satisfied by the production as well, which has cleaned up throughout the years but has not gone full crystal clear. The cold and slightly dusty sound that has been given to the guitars serves the music perfectly, and Sorcier des Glaces have an excellent grip on compositional structure to an extent that they have to specify the lack of keys in the album. The different layers are created by the guitars, which feature brilliant riff work and variations. Un Monde de Glace at de Sang does not get along completely with the music of its time, and this is a definite plus in this case.
There's nothing to skip and nothing to complain on this album. Sorcier des Glaces are unique, and perfect in what they are doing, with Un Monde de Glace at de Sang they created a black metal album in which melody and intensity co-exist perfectly, it is primitive enough and flows like a river. Unlike more modern albums, it represents the authentic and unfiltered process of creation that only the best bands in the 90's employed, it glorifies the SDG sound as a whole. Fans of the band or Quebec metal (Forteresse came to mind a bit when listening to this) will surely love this record.
I don't know, maybe I like it that much because it's now raining a lot here.