Ferriterium

Calvaire

Written by: RUB on 26/03/2021 15:07:14

To my luck, it happens quite frequently that friends of mine post various new music on Facebook worthy of attention. Sometimes, it’s not my cup of tea, but from time to time it tickles all the right places – just as it has with this French black metal outfit. What’s even weirder is that – at least for the time being – it seems to be solo projects primarily of black metal origin. What initially caught my attention with the album in question was the bleak and obscure-looking painting that serves as the cover, and although I am yet to make up my mind whether I particularly like it or not, the mysticism that surrounds it was enough to pique my interest – and boy, am I glad it did. Spoiler alert: I see no reason not to include this on my EOTY-list, maybe even as the top spot.

I’m instantly captivated by the screams of agony and the riff of ages as the opener “L’apostasie” hits you straight in your face, and forces you into a whirlwind of anger, suffering, and stunning melody. Even though the lyrics are in French, it’s easy to acknowledge the torment in the style of harsh screaming, and with the brilliant melodic instrumentation on top as well, I’m quite frankly blown away. Without any hesitation or lengthy build-up, we jump right into the album, and the track is simply put out of this world. The 11 and ½ minute fly by in no time, and send chills down my spine with the way the melodies interplay with the aggressive drums and the ice-cold black metal-sound, and it even packs several timely breakdowns where all the instruments get to shine on their own – marvelous!

The way the guitars play one stunning riff after another, you notice how the epic song structure works to its advantage. The man behind everything apart from the drums on this particular album is a man who goes by the name Raido. Not only is he the owner of Epictural Production, which released the album, but he also has several other albums to his name. Although unfamiliar with both artist and label, the French and Canadian black metal scene, from the latter the Quebec-scene perhaps most noticeable, are all familiar to me, and they seem to have a very distinct sound. Apart from the obvious fact that the lyrics are in French, to me, it sounds like French black metal, too.

Even though the soundscape is both menacing and grandiose, French black metal bands always seem to couple it with epic melodies and even gloomy melancholy without it being depressing, as some other branches of black metal tend to be. The same goes for Ferriterium, and the first track is a very good example of this. And this is the best – perhaps the best - thing about one-man bands. Every single part and instrument is suited to fit the opinion of a single artist, and thus it tends to achieve a more complete sound. That’s also the case with Ferriterium. I could go on and on about how this track very well could be the best of 2021, but luckily, this album has even more tracks I have to highlight.

The agonizing vocals, the barrage of drums, and classic, shrieking guitars continue on the second track “La Proie du cluître”. The tremolo especially elevates this track to yet another mind-blowing track. The constant fast-paced drums do their job of making the first 4 minutes a non-stop black metal bombardment, but the guitars ensure it still packs so much melody and punch, it’s absolutely incredible.

On this track as well, Raido’s vocals have that special uniqueness about them, because they’re not just the classic Norwegian cold shriek. The harsh yelling makes them something else, as they work as an extension of the lyrical themes of misanthropy and death, because one can almost feel the despair and torment in it, and one doesn’t even have to speak a single word of French to grasp the level of emotion and atmosphere in these songs. His vocals are just on another level, as it’s not just about the epic melodies and relentless black metal, it’s also about the story being told, and although I don’t know what the tales are about, I recognize the emotions of it simply because of this suiting lyrical style.

With only four tracks and a running time of 40-something minutes, each track on its own is a brilliant testimony of the prowess of Raido. All tracks pack so many twists and turns, changes in pace, slow and progressive build-up, and blistering cold black metal; all in a single track. And the melody is really cold, so you’re never in doubt that this is black metal, and where some of his inspiration might come from. As the third track, “L’Opéra de Géhenne”, draws to a close the explosion of both drums and guitar, topped with a Behemoth-like riff of the “Demigod”-era just makes you wonder why Ferriterium haven’t already exploded onto the international black metal scene.

With the final track “L’Apogée du Martyr”, the progressive nature and epic build-up are even further utilized. There’s made room for lengthier, quieter, and beautiful passages, just to emphasize the darker black metal parts even further. The way this track ends with its long high-pitched tremolo is truly that sorrowful and melancholic epilogue this album needed to be even further elevated towards the magnitude of greatness which this album turned out to be.

As this is the third full-length Ferriterium has released, I’m appetent to visit the former two albums, as I have a very hard time to see how this album is just a one-time thing. With “Calvaire” it’s indisputable that Raido has managed to create, not only something rather unique but an album which I will remember for years to come and worthy of only the highest praise. When black metal manages to be both beautiful and bleak, atmospheric and progressive, mournful and melancholic, melodic and angry, and whatever juxtaposition one might use to describe these four tracks, there are just so many aspects of the soundscape to be enchanted by. I somehow feel my words don’t even do Raido's songwriting justice, and I can simply just urge each and everyone with even the slightest interest in black metal to give this a proper spin.

A part of me wishes I knew at least some French to be able to decipher the lyrics but to be completely honest, it’s part of the mysticism I think surrounds Ferriterium. I couldn’t help myself however and tried Google translate of “L’apostasie”, and the lyrics sound absolutely divine. I can only thank my network of fellow metal connoisseurs that I stumbled upon this masterpiece and hopefully with this review I can help spread the word of Ferriterium because this album is insane. Whatever opinion one might have about the cover, one can’t deny that it does the album justice, engulfing it in mysticism; enough to captivate both spectators of it and listeners alike of this work of art.

Download: L’apostasie; La Proie du cluître; L’Apogée du Martyr; L’Opéra de Géhenne
For the fans of: Forteresse, Mgła, Misþyrming, Spectral Wound
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.01.2021
Epictural Production

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