Before I discovered the French label Frozen Wing, I had been looking high and low for anything from the mysterious French group Silcharde, whose releases had been proving to be pretty elusive beyond the super-limited cassettes that I originally found on Infernal Kommando. I fell in love with those tapes and the murky black phantasmagoria that they contained, so I was stoked to find that there were three different full-length discs that were all released on Frozen Wing.
Sortilège De Mécréant is the first full length disc from Silcharde, seven tracks of deformed industrial drone and fragments of black metal melody. The tracks are largely woven around simple rhythmic elements, such as the steady slow pulse of a hi-hat cymbal that continues through the entire title track, as fragments of blackened guitar, tribal drumming, and sheets of hazy reverb-soaked noise drift across the canvas. The dissonant, evil guitar figures that emerge throughout Sortilège are the one thread that connects this to the more experimental edges of Frenchy black metal; mostly this shares a similar ghostly, demented atmosphere as the weird ambient side-projects that were part of the Les Légions Noires like Moëvöt and Amaka Hahina. This is dreamlike, formless music, full of strange wailing sounds drift through the blackness, distant murmurs and grunts echoing endlessly through catacomb passageways. There's nothing here resembling "lyrics", just tortured grunts and sobs barely recognizable as human, appearing in dark corners of the soundspace. Crashing gongs, thick clouds of prayer-bowl hum and bowed-cymbal drone reverberate throughout underground chambers lined with walls of stacked skulls, and percussion instruments appear mainly in the form of huge cymbal crashes, gong-like reverberations, and brief flurries of tribal pummel. It's hard to tell when one song ends and the next begin; everything melts together in a gauzy wash of sound. The band does veer from this sound at the very end of the album, on a "hidden" bonus track where Silcharde wraps a bunch of crackling lock-groove loops around those crashing cymbals and demonic roaring, closing the album with an unexpected swell of harsh industrial grinding.
This falls somewhere in between the likes of Lustmord (circa Monstrous Soul) and Inade, and the tweaked black insanity of LLN bands like Moevot and Satanicum Tenebrae, and is (along with the other two discs on Frozen Wing) recommended to any fans of weird black ambience...
Limited to five hundred copies.