Véhémence – Par le Sang Versé [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Vehemence - Par le Sang Verse 01Medieval black metal. I barely know what the phrase means, but the concept is absolutely drenched in potential, and not the kind I can easily resist. For today’s thing you may (or may not) have missed, the conceptual and instrumental depth of Apocalypse Orchestra meets the sweeping, majestic anger wielded by Obsequiae, with bits of extra influence here and there from the French black metal scene. Joining said scene, Véhémence’s sophomore effort, Par le Sang Versé seeks to bring the past to vivid life in a powerful display of⁠—what was it again?⁠—Medieval. Black. Metal. I can’t get enough of it, either in concept or execution, and it’s time for you all to join me, whether you’d like to or not.

Par le Sang Versé is a journey through pummeling drums and fiery riffs, tempered with manic shrieks and sinister growls. It’s a triumph of black metal tinged with melodic influence. And yet this is not enough alone to set Véhémence apart; great black metal has hardly been at a deficit this year. No, it’s the inclusion of the saxhorn. The psaltery. An acoustic guitar. Flutes! Now we’re getting somewhere exciting. These acoustic and folky elements are integrated extremely well throughout the album, but they’re used sparingly enough that the black metal never really loses its mighty impact. Par le Sang Versé is, in this way, the best of both worlds; a killer black metal feast with acoustic medieval seasonings that add uniqueness, melody, and beauty wherever needed.

Over an hour, Par le Sang Versé explores the full potential of its sound, which is expansive. “La Sorcière du Bois Lunerive” is a standout track for its sheer power. It opens with an utterly deranged scream, and transitions smoothly into a catchy tremolo riff accented by low growls. The song is broken up with acoustic passages in a way reminiscent of October Falls (albeit a good bit brighter). “La Derniére Chevauchée” is a terrific mid-paced romper with dark undertones and great clean and harsh vocal lines. The second half of the song heralds the saxhorn to outstanding effect, bringing a subdued kind of triumph to proceedings. “Passage dans les Douves” is simultaneously one of the heaviest and most pleasant songs here, its acoustic guitars and flutes breaking up a maniac symphony of tremolos and blastbeats with grace. Throw in a couple of interlude tracks⁠—“Le Sous Bois, à Trois Lieues du Château” is definitely the most pleasant song I’ve heard all year⁠—and you’ve got yourself a complete album, with peaks and valleys, soaring brutality and an elegant acoustic side that brings the medieval metal tag to life.

Véhémence are my new band to keep an eye on. This has been a year where a lot of black metal failed to resonate with me, but Par le Sang Versé is different and exciting in the best possible ways. Hyvermor’s screams will stay with my soul, and Tulzcha’s riffs aren’t leaving my brain anytime soon. What more could I ask for in a metal album? I suppose I could hope for a wicked nyckelharpa performance, but hey, it has that too! I can’t say enough good things about this album, nor could I recommend it more. C’est incroyable.

Tracks to Check Out: ”La Sorcière du Bois Lunerive,” “L’Étrange Clariére,” and “Passage dans les Douves.”

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