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Ascète - Calamites & les Calamités Award winner

Calamites & les Calamités
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 13 June 2021, 7:58 AM

ASCETE is a black metal band from France who formed not too long ago in 2015. "Calamites & les Calamités" is their debut full length but also have two demos and a split under their belt. They might be a (somewhat) new comer to the scene but I predict they will be a big name because "Calamites & les Calamités" is a stunning debut.

Musically, this album is spastic and energetic as hell. The atmosphere is pure passion and there is a fire burning within these songs. The four musicians in the band are hungry to play this music and it definitely comes off that way to the listener. This is the type of album I love to hear: filled to the brim with great ideas, notes stuffed in every nook and cranny plus I get something new out of it every time I blast it again.

Despite how busy the songs are, they are also quite focused and never come off as too cluttered or overwhelming.  In essence, the band has harnessed the power of chaos. "Les Causses s'en Gaussent" begins with operatic vocals and tribal drums akin to some ancient ritual set around a fire on a crisp autumn night. The exceptional blackened vocals scream through the ritual and riffs and counter melodies come out of the woodwork. Guest vocalist ANGE brings back her wonderful voice after the two minute mark when the song drops its carnage and goes ambient before the helter skelter riffs appear again.

"Courroux du Lébérou" is ruled by a riff that brings a sort of odd groove and bass that slaps and pops it's way through this mind bending maze if harrowing wonderment. The vocals sound desperate as hell, and that matches the guitar which gets darker and more aggressive as the song moves ever forward. The riffs around the 1:43 mark are crazy in a good way and when the vocals mix with them, it is like a black metal tornado of destruction.  The clean vocals are a nice touch and even make the song sound more unhinged. The best are saved for last as the final two tracks take a high quality album and somehow push it higher.

"La Lanterne du Mort" begins with well played clean guitar that doesn't prepare the listener for the swirling mass of guitars and throaty shrieks that come afterwards. This track seems to be a bit "tame" and introspective compared to what came before but that just means the band is now taking their time in driving me insane. I loved the drums on this song, one of the highlights that kept my attention bouncing from one moment to the next.

All the melodies and harmonies in this song give it a post feel although it is far more vicious in places. And when the song stops and goes into a clean, folk passage? Majestic and beautiful, two words that the band worked into this crazy album. The final track is the ten minute odyssey title track. The bass and clean guitar lends an ancient, mystic feel before the black metal growls and screams pierce thru. The bass is a steady undercurrent that provides a foundation but also launches off the rest of the song as a constant battering force.

The sound is subtle but as it plays I can feel it sort of becoming unhinged and losing its grasp on reality. The music picks up to accommodate this before a watery effect drowns the song down into murky depths. It rises from the water grave one last time before ending with clean notes. ASCETE's "Calamites & les Calamites" is one hell of a ride and one of the best surprises this year in black metal. A standout release and highly recommended.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Les Causses s'en Gaussent
2. Danse de la Sénescence
3. Courroux du Lébérou
4. Sorlodais Huroux
5. Héritiers de l'Austérité
6. La Lanterne du Mort
7. Calamites & les Calamités
Patrie Moine  - Guitars
L'Cul-Terreux Torve - Vocals
Olematus. - Bass
Ancien Temps - Drums
Record Label: Antiq


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