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Hivernia - II. Macabre Award winner

Hivernia
II. Macabre
by Dave “That Metal Guy” Campbell at 01 September 2014, 9:44 PM

HIVERNIA is a Canadian Folk Black Metal band from Quebec, formed in 2006.  Following a split CD release in 2008, the band released their debut album “I. Folklore” in 2010.  “II. Macabre” is their newest album, and contains twelve tracks.  From their webpage, “Black Metal is a genre heavily dependent on atmosphere.  The low-fi, sacrilegious, and misanthropic music conjures images of cold winds blowing through the blackened staves of a burnt church, while a graveyard mist swirls around a ruined tomb.”  “Tous morts, tous pourris” leads off the album, with a steady, droning and evil feeling, like you are wandering a desolate forest at night, searching for the moon.  I like the folky flute parts that break against the harsh, grainy vocals.  Riffing is kept minimal but varied, not overdone but just enough to provide a strong skeleton of a rhythm.  “Boreal” begins with unassuming acoustic guitars before the main riff asserts itself.  The vocals are deep, dark and sound as if they are drawn from hell itself.  A powerful and gritty instrumental interlude carries the track to completion, nearly sinister enough to summon a demon.  “Le Satyre” really hits hard on the Folk side of the band, with flute and light dancing rhythm dominating the opening.  The meat of the song is very macabre in nature however, and the two sounds play back and forth with each other.  The composition here is very deep and wide, encompassing a lot of sounds while still keeping its head above water.  The drumming is especially strong in this track.  “Sang” is like church hymn gone dark side.  Though I can’t quite put my finger on it, there is an echo in the background that seems to magnify the feeling of impending doom that I have here.  An atmospheric passage that hits at the halfway mark features some spoken words and a running guitar riff that underscore this feeling.  “Hivernia” is a little more linear in its delivery of strong, brutal Black Metal.  But as they have been keeping the listener on their toes, an acoustic passage brings a key and meter change that keep the song very original.  “Outre Tombe” sounds like a freight engine on fire, careening on a track of broken rails, gaining momentum as it rides with the undead.  The riff is driven hard and the vocals tie together the sheer thickness and might of the guitars.

“Malice” starts the second half of the album.  It’s a mid-tempo number with a doomy sway, and a somewhat melancholy feeling to it at times.  “A toi, Venin de songes” takes us back around to their folk roots, with acoustic guitars and flute.  There are some interesting time and key changes though that provides some glue to connecting passages.  “Ages” is more assertive, aggressive and demonstrative.  There is some real darkness to the track, despite the use of acoustic guitar and flute here and there.  It sounds like a Celtic wedding celebration between someone above ground, and someone below.  Vocals are kept to a minimum to allow the composition to shine.  …”Et. Immortalite” is an instrumental that is thick with bombast, an anthem of sorts, though it is short lived.  “Le Grand Butcher” opens with a fiddle, which leads to a swift, running guitar riff and double bass drums.  There is haste in the delivery of this song, as if it was leading you to something.  This might be the zenith arrangement among all the songs on the album, or at least the one with the most interconnected parts.  Closing the album is a short, acoustic outro called “Folklore Macabre.”  The title is dead on to the feeling I am left with after listening.  The picked chords are sweet in nature, with an ever ominous keyboard and tympani in the background.  I have to say that I am quite impressed with the composition and delivery of this product here.  You haven’t heard HIVERNIA’s brand of Black Metal, I can promise you that.  This is original, meticulously crafted, with surprises around each of the darkest corners of their sound. 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tous morts, tous pourris
2. Boréal
3. Le Satyre
4. Sang
5. Hivernia
6. Outre Tombe
7. Malice
8. À toi, Venin des Songes
9. Âges
10. … Et l'Immortalité
11. Le Grand Bucher
12. Folklore Macabre
Lineup:
Bardunor - Vocals, Guitars, Drums, Composition
Froidure - Bass
Doom - Flute
Record Label: Independent
     


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