2 reviews

Réminiscence reviews

Felix%201666 on November 6th, 2016

Profound, excessive and melodic

How many people live in Quebec that do not play black metal? Three? Or four? However, here we are confronted with Csejthe. I don't know what the castle of Countess Bathory has to do with Quebec and its surrounding. Anyway, Csejthe perform the typical style of this region. They can therefore easily be compared with Forteresse or Sanctuaire. This comes as no surprise with regard to the fact that drummer Fiel is involved in Forteresse, too. As a consequence, one listens to large-sized soundscapes. Seemingly endless melody lines convey melancholic, wistful moments, but a certain number of pretty rapid attacks show up as well. The very well designed "Chasseresse" (= female hunter) focuses on the harsh side of the band's musical approach. Dynamic high velocity guitars and the almighty vocals (with a lot of reverb on it) merge into one unit. The production supports this kind of get-together, because it does not put emphasis on clarity and transparency. "Réminiscence" is equipped with a very dense, nearly impenetrable sound. It does not provide one of the most heavyweight mixes in the history of black metal, but it does not lack of intensity and character as well. The sound of Forteresse's last album seems to be inspired by the here reviewed work.

I admit that I miss a higher amount of fast outbursts. Csejthe's main objective is the generation of an all-embracing aura. A certain tragic shimmers through the compositions and the rather monotonous vocals do not create any contrast. Thus, many pieces seem to reflect the calm after a bloody battle. Sometimes I have the feeling that the album mainly consists of overlong outros. This does not mean that the songs are immaturely constructed or boring. Yet from my point of view, the album is not perfectly balanced. Due to the musical talent of the band members, this is not a serious problem, but it must be addressed in this context. Thus, you will not be surprised that the most aggressive track, the aforementioned "Chasseresse" marks my favourite song on this work. Yet the grandeur and partially present vehemence of "L'Antique blason" also shape a great track. At the end of the day, one realizes that each and every song stands on a solid foundation.

Better still, the profound, excessive and melodic lines of the album develop their own charm. Csejthe do not deliver surprising twists and turns. One might blame them for predictable song patterns, but this would not be fair. It is rather correct that the band has a clear vision and it does not make any compromises while bringing its concept to life. I don't want to describe the album with the word "monolithic", but it definitely reflects the clearly structured mindset of the three-piece. "Réminiscence" does not kick the listener in the teeth, but it is based on a slowly growing power. All meticulously designed leads show the strength of the formation. Nevertheless, speed freaks like me find some room for improvement (and the same applies for fans of progressive song structures.) Everybody else may add some percentage points before he books a trip to Quebec.

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Asag_Asakku on May 2nd, 2013

Csejthe – Réminiscence

Summer is slowly fading away in the mountainous village of Čachtice. Not so far away stands a fortress, built on Carpathians foothills. An infamous reputation surrounds this place, where countless crimes were committed. The nearby cliffs still echo terrible howls of pain screamed by the castle owner’s former captives. But in August 1614, Báthory Erzsébet is just a dying old woman. Walled for almost four years without ever having been tried, she walks like a ghost, haunted by her torments.

Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory inspires artists and designers for over four centuries. Her legend horrifies and fascinates a large chill-seeking audience. Her last name is even bear by the most important band in black metal history, which wrote a song about her in 1987 called Woman of Dark Desires. This was only a beginning. Several other bands would seize this inexhaustible vein, sometimes devoting entire albums to it, such as Cradle of Filth in their 1998 Cruelty and the Beast album.

Quebec band Csejthe (Hungarian transcription for the Slovak « Čachtice ») is pursuing this tradition, with a lyrical universe entirely dedicated to the famous killer. After a first full-length released in 2009, the trio returns this year with Réminiscence, probably one of the best black metal album devoted to the bloody countess.

Deeply melancholic and desperate, songs on this record are entirely based on a grandiose and tragic atmosphere. A Christian prayer played with organ opens the ceremony, but it is the title track that reveals the band’s musical universe. Its structure and melody instinctively evoke German romanticism, an artistic movement that valued uninhibited expression of passions and suffering. This song – and every other – is built on long sharp guitar tremolos, allowing the atmosphere to expand. This is supported by foggy vocals, clearly sung choirs and very solid drumming.

A dragging tempo seems to stretch time, as if the listener was confined in the same room as the Countess, brooding despair and solitude in the darkness of a small prison room. Last song, Le Chant des Martyrs, is also particularly captivating, with its perfectly controlled unfolding and very smooth conclusion.

Csejthe members are giving us an extremely strong work with Réminiscence, whose refined aesthetic and overwhelming ambiance is closer to nineteenth century romantic music than black metal. This is an album that should be listened alone in a room lighted by a single candle, to – perhaps – witness Elizabeth Báthory’s spectre.

Originally written for Métal Obscur.

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