Release DetailsLABEL Adipocere
RELEASED ON 2/20/2006
Chants de Bataille
posted on 4/2006 By:
There are several things the French do well; wine, cheese, losing wars and pagan black metal (Aes Dana, Bran Barr, Hirilorn, Ancalagon, etc). So after the superb Aes Dana effort Formors, and craving more French Celtic war metal, I signed up for this, the fourth album from Belenos, and while not as epic or dynamic as Aes Dana's excellent album, Chants De Bataille (Chants of Battle/Battle Chants?) is a solid, more spiteful addition to France's pagan black metal legacy.
For starters Belenos are more abrasive and seething in their black metal fury. Tracks like "Colère de Feu", "Fureur Celtique" and "Sacrifiés" are blasting, Dark Funeral/Marduk-ish affairs and the folk pagan elements are derived more from the subtle choirs and riff structures rather than overused, ethnic, folky instrumentation.
A few tracks reign in the fury for some typical war metal paced marching ("Vers la Victoire", "Chant De Bataille", "Funérailles") that sounds like classic Aeturnus. The more full on pagan feel of the album's atmosphere is more contained in the album's several (every other song pretty much) segues and interludes and these can either be seen as intensity sapping moments of writers block or truly atmospheric, album defining segues; "Ode", "Chemin de Brume", "Prélude Guerrier", "Ar Galv Brezel", "Galian da Viken", "P.m.q.f.", and "Ar Enor Salv" all splice the vitriolic moments with ample samples (i.e. sword sharpening), acoustics, choirs and such. For me they work, but more so to break up the slightly samey feel of the 'real songs'.
The album, though quality, just seems to not really rise up to a greater level. Sure, they either contain blistering blast beats or a lumbering militaristic lurch, but on the whole, nothing really gets my battle lust going or my blood pumping despite their lithe production, pagan pride and overall sense of medieval grimness. It certainly isn’t as epic and magnificently written as Formors.
Still, Chants De Bataille is a competent French pagan metal album that again shows the country's knack for tapping Celtic/Pagan ambience and mixing it with solid black metal.
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