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Sektarism : Le Son Des Stigmates

Sektarism are what every wannabe, bedroom, depressive Black Metal band labelling itself 'Funeral Black' should hope to become.

I like bands that challenge the definition of a style. I like it even more when my own perceptions and expectations of what a band is supposed to sound like are challenged. I've always been known to generally hold Doom bands with a satanic background in low regard. This is mostly because I don't see the various forms of Satanism as being in any way related to the suffering, the despair or the melancholy that Doom Metal is supposed to bring to the listener. So, when I first heard about French band Sektarism, I wasn't that impressed. Coupled with the fact that their earlier releases were more like a slowed down Black Metal than anything even remotely Doom sounding didn't help me in being at all favourable towards the band. Things changed a lot with their third release, the 'Le Testament' tape, that showed not only a strong musical progression but also a palpable feeling of both physical and mental suffering. Because of this, I was now ready for the first real full length from the band.

The first thing that struck me is the sound. At last, Sektarism has managed to find that MASSIVE wall of sound that brings a necessary weight to their music. Upon listening, I notice that nearly all elements of Black Metal have disappeared (save for a few shrieks) and what we have left here a strong Funeral Doom bordering on Drone (a very simplistic, yet efficient, take on the music, without solos or keyboards) and Post-Doom (some parts have that atmospheric vibe found in the German scene). All the songs are strictly in mid- tempo, so some may think that it's still a bit too quick for their taste. But this use of mid-tempo structures brings to Sektarism a real trademark that makes them stand above the crowd. Most of the time, this gives a very strong ritualistic feel, a bit like listening to the bastard offspring of Abruptum, Mutiilation and The Funeral Orchestra.

Perhaps the most important part lies in the fact that Sektarism's music is oozing with despair and suffering. The vocals aren't that weeping sadness you can find in My Dying Bride, but more along that lines of how a prisoner would cry before being tortured in some forgotten catacomb. The influence of Wormphlegm is palpable, yet Sektarism is in no way a simple copycat of the Finnish monsters. As it is, Sektarism shows that it is far more than a simple concept. This is the perfect soundtrack for a ritual in the dark, with only the light of a few candles. This is the sound of the void, the song that unknown, forgotten demons sing between the spheres. This is the sound of your blood pumping through the scars of the nails in the palms of your hands. This is what every wannabe, bedroom, depressive Black Metal band labelling itself 'Funeral Black' should hope to become. Sektarism have managed to bring something different to Funeral Doom; a bold take on a genre that was overdosing on its own clichés. There's still plenty of room left for some improvement (I wouldn't mind hear the band going slower and heavier next time), but this debut album is a worthy addition to the collections of every raw Funeral Doom fan looking for something a bit different and more deep.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Prélude
2. Hosanna Sathana
3. Le Testament

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Sektarism bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-05-07 by Laurent Lignon
Vanha - Black Lion
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