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Monarque - Jusqu'à la Mort Award winner

Jusqu'à la Mort
by Wind of The Night Forests at 12 August 2019, 5:56 PM

MONARQUE are one of the pioneers of the black metal scene in Québec along with FORTERESSE, CSEJTHE, SORCIER DES GLACES and many more. They started in 2003 as a part of the emerging black metal scene in Québec, Montreal, Canada which later became known as Métal Noir Québécois. The first distinction of bands that appeared in this scene was their love for their land, Québec, and followed by that, the French lyrics. I do not know any French but I did some research and it seems that despite different lyrical themes, all these bands write their lyrics in a dialect of French that is specific to Québec. This is adorable. The first full-length by MONARQUE, titled “Fier hérétique”, was released in 2007. They later released “Ad Nauseam” in 2009 which got much positive feedback from critics and I believe that was their stepping stone. They played songs off that album in their live shows and splits with other bands in the Québec black metal scene. They released “Lys noir” later in 2013 and they went silent* for six years until June 24, 2019, when they released “Jusqu'à la mort”.

The album starts with a French dialogue in the format of a same-titled track:“Jusqu'à la mort” (“Until Death”). There is a beautiful 15 second scream at the beginning and then the glory shows itself. I love the drums and how the sound changes over time. MONARQUE delivers again; the atmosphere is very similar to their previous work but the production is a bit cleaner and the synths play a vital role in this album. For me, the best part of the song starts from 20 seconds before the fifth minute until the end of the song. There is a breakdown at 5:00 and you feel that you are listening to a whole new song, but then it goes back to the same initial rhythm and the track comes to a conclusion.

“Le Serment Prononcé” (I’m not sure if it is correct, but it translates into something like “The Oath Revealed”) has the best intro ever. Fierce guitar riffs, perfect drumming, and on-time vocals. What else do you want? Add an acoustic guitar bridge to that list and you have this song, which is my favourite in the album. The track is so short and sweet (compared to MONARQUE's other work) that I had to listen to it several times to write something about it. Overall, I’m always a fan of combining a little bit of clean music into black metal. This gives the music a spirit that I feel connected with, and MONARQUE does a perfect job in conveying that feeling. The whole song is basically one catchy riff that changes and evolves in different ways, with killer drums in every second. The “clean bridge” returns again at 4:00 but this time with an undistorted electric guitar instead of acoustics.

We reach the final track, “Le Grand Deuil”. Ah, I wish this was a full-length and longer. Deuil translates to “mourning” and the violins we hear at the beginning of the song can represent the sorrow and grief in the best way. I just checked Metal-Archives and found that Lambert Segura of SAOR plays violins as a guest member on this album. I have seen Lambert perform live and he kills it! No wonder I loved this EP so much. This track is the longest on the EP and is more similar to MONARQUE's previous releases. It has a sinister vibe to it but is also sorrowful at the same time. I wish there was a way to read the lyrics but we don’t live in a perfect world and I understand that. This song proved to me that it is possible to do something for 16 years and still be the best at it. There are many bands that disappoint you with a release after some years of inactivity (check THY SERPENT's split with ASH POOL to see what I mean), but this isn’t one of them. MONARQUE came back after 6 years to show they are alive and kicking! The only bad thing I find about this release is that it is too short, but who am I to judge? Hail MONARQUE and hail Métal Noir Québécois!

*Yeah, I lied. They released some EPs and splits but I not full-lengths.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Jusqu'à la Mort 06:58
2. Le Serment Prononcé 05:05
3. Le Grand Deuil 10:28
Atheos – Guitars
Monarque – Vocals, Bass, Guitars (Acoustic)
Bardunor – Guitars (Rhythm)
Kaedes – Drums
Anhidar - Vocals (backing)

Guest musicians:
Le Sorcier des Glaces – Keyboards
Lambert Segura – Violin
Record Label: Sepulchral Productions


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