Monarque - Lys Noir
Sepulchral Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (38:19)
Release year: 2013
Sepulchral Productions
Reviewed by Goat

I’ve never fully gotten into the Quebec black metal scene, possibly because of the language barrier – although that seems like a poor excuse given that the same hasn’t stopped me appreciating the Ukrainian scene! Certainly, there’s no reason why Monarque, a duo currently on its third full-length since 2003 with splits and EPs galore, should suffer at all because of that, although obviously touches like the French sample that opens the album will be lost on any listener unfamiliar with the language. What will translate universally to black metal fans is the music itself, fierce yet melodic, traditional yet varied, always interesting and soulful.

Although it is very much of its scene (there’s even a cover of what is probably the most well-known QBM band, Frozen Shadows) Lys Noir will appeal widely outside of it, too. Opening track L’Appel de la Nuit is a wall of beautiful, almost symphonic noise, a backing organ adding a touch of grandeur and merging with the guitars perfectly. It’s professional, yet raw; an acoustic break with backing yells the perfect touch. And the album only gets better from then on, the following Vigor Mortis starting with an ambient build-up before exploding into riffs, showing something of a Norwegian, almost Darkthronean sound, albeit with an original edge as the track develops with well-utilised keyboards.

Each track has something distinct, from La Quintessence du Mal’s shimmering soloing which leads to a majestic, soaring finish, to the epic flight of Mes Condoléances, which reminds me of a younger, hungrier Drudkh. Monarque has created a damn good album here, one that warrants further investigation into the scene as a whole as much as the band’s other albums. Recommended.

Killing Songs :
L’Appel de la Nuit, Vigor Mortis, La Quintessence du Mal, Mes Condoléances
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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