Sanguine Glacialis - Hadopelagic

10 songs
60:56 minutes
***** ***


Female fronted metal is rather popular these days, with festivals dedicated to that genre springing up all over the place. Usually I get tired quickly as so many bands are formulaically trying to jump on the symphonic metal bandwagon. Not so Sanguine Glacialis though! Led by vocalist and keyboard player Maude Théberge, this quintet from Montreal released their debut album in 2012, and then Maude had to change her complete line-up. In 2016, the newly arranged band released an EP and a single, probably as a teaser to see what is possible with the new musicians, as all four tracks have also found their way on the new longplayer Hadopelagic, which means from the deepest pits of the oceans.

Sanguine Glacialis see themselves as a melodic death metal band that is open for all kinds of other genres: pop, classical, jazz,... anything really goes here. The first bands that came to my mind were Unexpect and Diablo Swing Orchestra, and only later I read that they actually influenced the Canadians. The new album contains ten songs, each about six minutes long, meaning that they are brimming with ideas. This does not make it too easy to follow them, but it also guarantees that every time you listen to the songs, you will discover new details. The opener Aenigma for instance is an incredibly dense track full of progressive guitar lines, haunting gothic wails, melodic pop choruses, evil ghoul screams, driving drum patterns and atmospheric keyboard lines. The following Kraken is a little more accessible, although it still surprises with a lot of different parts. The piano melody accompanies the vocals in a baroque cabaret fashion, and it’s here where the Diablo Swing Orchestra parallels truly make sense, even though Sanguine Glacialis always stay firmly rooted in extreme metal music. Further highlights are the album’s pre-release single Monsters and especially Oblivion Whispers where the songwriting is at its most developed.

Hadopelagic offers a little over one hour of amazing metal music that takes fully advantage of the manifold vocal talents of Maude Théberge. She has so many different voices that you will feel in awe. Her piano sound could do with a little more variation though. Her band is top notch and we can only hope that they will stay with her. The guitars are adding progressive textures, whereas the drummer gives the music that necessary punch that shows you that despite being in the presence of an artful piece of work, Sanguine Glacialis are still a through and through metal band. Hadopelagic is a must-have for fans of playful metal that offers brains and brawn alike.

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