Sepulchral Productions: Monarque + Neige Éternelle + The Stone


Reviews by Jason Guest

Sepulchral Productions LogoFounded in 1999 by Frozen Shadows frontman Myrkhaal, Canada’s Sepulchral Productions have brought to the world terrors from the likes of Forteresse, Gris, Frozen Shadows, Sombres Forets, Neige Et Noirceur, and Borgne among others.

Recently unleashed unto the world are new albums from Quebec’s Monarque and Neige Éternelle as well as three re-releases from Serbian cult act The Stone. Click the links to go straight to the respective reviews or read the blimmin’ lot:

Monarque – Lys Noir

Quebec’s Monarque lace the vicious aesthetic of Lys Noir, their third album (and first in four years), with heavy organs, acoustic guitars, and unsettling atmospheric passages that lends their hostility, aggression, and melodies a distinctive sound. Intense throughout, Monarque have developed no end since 2009’s Ad Nauseum. The production is better, the song-writing is more developed and concentrated, and the album is much more cohesive. Opener ‘L’Appel de la Nuit’ is evil incarnate, the organ and acoustic passages fleshing the fetid mass out to imbue the track with deeper and denser dimensions. ‘Vigor Mortis’s ambient intro is burnt to a cinder by the track’s wintery blaze. While all around burns eternal fires, stripping away the harsh instrumentation in favour of pure atmospherics, the melancholic instrumental track ‘Solitude’ is the calm centre of the album, flanked by the ferocity of ‘La Quintessence du Mal’ and the bleak wasteland of ‘Mes Condoléances’. After an outstanding cover version of Frozen Shadows’ ‘Au Seuil des Ténèbres’ (sadly with an abbreviated organ intro), the down tempo gloom of ‘Comme des Vers’ draws the album to a close. Grand and haunting, passionate and forlorn, aggressive and searingly intense, Lys Noir is a striking album and marks a distinct development in Monarque’s evolution.

Monarque – Lys Noir

7.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. L’Appel de la Nuit
  2. Vigor Mortis
  3. La Quintessence du Mal
  4. Solitude
  5. Mes condoléances
  6. Au Seuil des Ténèbres
  7. Comme des Vers

Neige Éternelle – Neige Éternelle

The début album from Neige Éternelle delves deep into the abyss. This band cares not a jot about stretching the bounds; they’re happy enough to sit right in the black heart of enmity and spew forth razor-laced, hateful bile by the bucket load. This harkens back to the days before black metal became “black metal” and reeks of pig-headed resistance, of insurmountable obstinacy, of ruthless intransigence, and the relentless wrath and deep-rooted despair that runs through the very veins of this album is unmistakably authentic. If you’ve a hankering for cold and fierce black metal that rejects absolutely everything that signifies progress in the black art, this is for you.

Neige Éternelle

7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Cri de Guerre
  2. Fier Patriote
  3. Vent de Puissance
  4. L’appel de la Mort
  5. Comme une charogne
  6. Plus les jours s’avancent
  7. Triste Pensée
  8. Pluie de Couteaux

The Stone – Slovenska Krv

Long sold out, the three albums from Serbia’s The Stone will see a strictly limited release of 1000 copies each. The first, Slovenska Krv, was released under the band’s original moniker Stone to Flesh in 2002. Eleven years on and this is still intensely savage, a barrage of the usual trem-picked riffs, unremitting drums and harsh vocals, Slovenska Krv depicts a band still in their formative stages. The instrumentation works well, particularly the usually much-neglected bass bringing a few distinct touches to the album. In terms of composition, ‘Pevalo Hiljadu Mačeva’ is the best track here, its cold atmospheric depths embellished by its subtle shifts in dynamics, its icy textures and the jagged melancholic arpeggios. Even though they’d been together since 1996, The Stone were yet to define the sound that would both establish them within and distinguish them from the horde.

The Stone – Slovenska Krv6 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Za Kosti Otaca
  2. Ustaj Mati Zemljo
  3. Dabog
  4. Bogovi Od Srebra
  5. U Kamenu
  6. Lešinari Raširili Krila
  7. Pevalo Hiljadu Mačeva
  8. Knez Visokih Šuma

The Stone – Zakon Velesa

By album number two, Zakon VelesaI (released in 2004), The Stone had clearly made progress, their own identity coming more to the fore as they delved deeper into Slavic Paganism for their inspiration. While the band remained as black and intense as they were on Slovenska Krv, the tracks here are much longer, ranging from five to twelve minutes. The difference is that the atmospherics are more developed and The Stone’s stamp is felt much more intently. The album has a stronger sense of purpose, of determination, of fiercely unremitting devastation. Closing track ‘1168. (Sivi oblak stao nad Arkonom)’ is, at twelve minutes, where the band make full use of time and sonic space to allow the band’s own identity to more clearly take shape, particularly in the second half where guitars, drums and vocals are replaced by an ambient ethereal outro. This is the album where The Stone started to come into their own, and though they weren’t reinventing anything, the feel of this album is much more distinctive.

The Stone – Zakon Velesa7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Priviđenja
  2. Noćas nikog nema pred dverima Nava
  3. Svaroži krug
  4. Zakon Velesa
  5. Mater Slava
  6. 1168. (Sivi oblak stao nad Arkonom)

The Stone – Crna Hronika

Crna Hronika is the third release from The Stone and Sepulchral Productions. A collection of rare tracks from the band’s EPs released between 2004 and 2010 that were vinyl-only releases and have long since sold out. With the foundation of their style pretty much developed by 2004, all that was left for The Stone was to continue along that path of destruction and fortify their place among the black mass. Providing an insight into how the band progressed during those six years (as well as including very good covers of Slayer and Master’s Hammer tracks), this is more for completists, and that it comes with a 16-page booklet that details the history of each release makes it a much more worthy purchase.

The Stone – Crna Hronika

6 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Smrt čoveku
  2. Na Vešala!
  3. Za korak paklu bliže
  4. Vihor paganske osvete
  5. Aggressive Perfector (Slayer cover)
  6. Jama pekel (Master’s Hammer cover)
  7. Bogovi od srebra
  8. Unveiled Evil
  9. Ja sam tvoja smrt iznenadna
  10. Čujete li, smeju nam se mrtvi…
  11. To Hell