Season of Mist Records
1998 / June 22nd, 2012
Release length: 46:42
The overall production of the album sounds alright. The guitars have a decent sharpness to them, and the bass is a bit buried in the background but can still be picked up well enough. The drums have a crisp sound to the cymbals, though a lower volume level makes them a bit distant, as do some of the heavily echoed snares, but not the bass kicks. Those end up a little louder in the mix, as well as distinct. The keyboard also come through well enough to make a large impact, adding a bit of melody to the mix, as well as a much stronger atmosphere, often ranging between gloomy to somewhat epic. There’s also the traditional rhaspy vocal performance, but usually a more restrained and deeper-toned one aside some enthusiastic higher screams. Again, the echo is quite obvious, and sometimes can find a bit of layering done that adds to the atmosphere similar to the aforementioned keyboards. But, the overall sound still ends up a bit empty, which doesn’t always work in favor of the album.
One listen to Les Blessures de l’Ã‚me will make it obvious why those familiar with Seth will swear by this band. For a debut recording, there’s a great number of fantastic songs. “La Quintessence Du Mal” offers a nice mixture between slower to mid-paced material, though often using a faster bass kick performance over everything else. This isn’t one of the most amazing, but the environments established will grab your attention the most. The grim tone, especially from the keyboards, makes many of the passages quite memorable. Then there’s “Le Cercle De La Renaissance,” one of the longest on the album, but an intense ride from start to finish, as well as heavily varied. Immediately you are met with pounding blast beats and quicker guitar chords, utilizing the keyboards to establish a melancholic tone before switching into machine gun kicks and equally fast riffs. The transition that occurs is handled superbly, utilizing the keyboards and an acoustic guitar presence before switching into the highly infectious main verses and chorus that are as memorable and empowering as they are worthy of headbanging along to.
The only real complaint is the instrumental “Dans Les Yeux Du Serpent.” While the fading in and out works well enough, and the atmospheres are both similar, there’s a distinct removal of material. The first half comes off as if trying to reach an epic viking cinematic score. While it doesn’t reach the necessary height or impact, you can still pick up on every other aspect with a grim tone that can easily make you picture a viking shrip in troubling seas. But, around two minutes and twenty-two seconds in, the music fades, and it’s like a solid chunk of the song was completely removed to make this track shorter. You can’t help but conclude this song feeling as though you missed what could have been the equivalent of a dynamic fight scene with an oceanic behemoth, and the latter half greets you with the mourning and glory of the onslaught after, established through a small, but still emotional guitar solo.
Season of Mist Records celebrates the return of Seth by reissuing this album in strictly limited numbers. The vinyl is a hand-numbered gatefold edition, limited to five hundred, and comes with digital download card, while the digipack version is limited to one thousand and doesn’t include that card. The album is also remastered by Stef Buriez of Loudblast. Unfortunately, while the music is a lot more crisp, such as with slightly sharper guitars and a bit more dominance from the bass, there’s also a lore more noise. Some songs find an increase in static, such as with “Hymne Au Vampire (Acte I).” It can be a little hard to sit through, and some of the instruments start to mix together a bit. The sound of the initial pressing is actually quite better, as the rawer tendencies of the late nineties sound more at home than this somewhat amplified version.
There’s also an issue with “…Ã€ la MÃ©moire De Nos FrÃ¨res.” It seems to have a few higher pitched “ticks” in the audio, the kind related to a damaged CD. This could very well have just been the digital promotion version, having a problem with the file on the label’s server, but it’s something well worth taking note of since I cannot verify whether it’s in the finished print or not.
But, aside that, you also get two bonus tracks that obviously haven’t been remastered. “Les SÃ©vices De La Peste” is a solid effort that works well with the rawer, slightly higher pitched audio, as well as jumps around quite a bit as far as speed goes. There are plenty of catchy moments to bang your head along to, and the music is often intense enough to push forward a sense of hatred despite the slower material that doesn’t carry that atmosphere. Then you also get “Corpus Et Anima,” which is a little more aggressive overall, and felt more in the vocal performance during the slower moments, leading to a more consistant, and even richer experience than the previous bonus track offered.
Les Blessures de l’Ã‚me is definitely a hidden gem among the Black Metal community, and there’s no denying that it’s an album fans of the style should definitely hear. Of course, the audio isn’t the greatest, being a little less rich than what you would hope for at the time of its recording. For 2012, you can pick up the remastered edition if you can find one. The audio may sound good enough at times to propose actually tracking a copy down, but the initial pressing just sounds a lot better thanks to that rawer touch. There’s also all the faults, like the static and clicks throughout, that make this edition a little less than enticing. If you happen upon Les Blessures de l’Ã‚me by Seth, there’s no real reason to ignore this melodic and atmospheric Black Metal offering, being something worth throwing down some money down to own, but not for a price that’s a little too ridiculous.
01. La Quintessence Du Mal – 8:36
02. Hymne Au Vampire (Acte I) – 5:15
03. Hymne Au Vampire (Acte II) …Vers Une Nouvelle Ãˆre – 4:50
04. Le Cercle De La Renaissance – 9:08
05. Les Silences d’Outre-Tombe – 7:49
06. Dans Les Yeux Du Serpent – 5:21
07. …Ã€ la MÃ©moire De Nos FrÃ¨res – 5:43
|Initial Score: 8/10
2012 Reissue Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.