VEHEMENCE - Par le Sang Verse
Release date February 15/19 (Antiq)
At hand is the sophomore full length from epic/medieval black metal unit Vehemence. While the core sound is undoubtedly melodic BM, the Angers, France based unit fill out the sound with a myriad of other musical references. Male backing vocals (almost choir-like) pop up now and then, while flute, acoustic guitar, horn, mandolin and the sounds of sword warfare also make fleeting appearances, lending the music an arcane feel. Hell, the two short, medieval acoustic tracks included could have come off a Blackmore's Night platter. This effective use of light and shade sets this release apart from the hordes of other blackened releases that continually flood the market.
However, one criticism to note. The tracks and album are too long, sometimes challenging the listener's attention span. Discounting the two instrumentals, the other six songs average nine minutes apiece, while the album almost hits the hour mark. While having a couple of epics on an album is warranted, especially with a band with such a wide vision and talent as we have here, it would behoove them to tighten the writing up a bit next go-round. It would have raised a very good release into the realms of classic. Looking forward to the next release!