One of my favorite heavy metal discoveries in 2018 was Quebecois black metal outfit Basalte -- among an entire slew of ripping, roaring, re-invigorating black metal that year, the band's release Vertige sent my emotions and metal spirit over the top. On that release, the band nailed what I consider a crucial balance (or even dichotomy) in black metal: abstract vs. concrete. Basalte, at least for me, delivered a near-perfect blend of lofty atmospherics and straight-up riffin' that transformed into a really dynamic listen.

Well, two years later, and the project is back with a two-song EP called "L'excroissance du vide," which is streaming below now.

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This time around, Basalte has shifted their paradigm to really uptick the atmospherics they deliver though these surging swaths of black metal. There is plenty of concrete to stand on, still, of course, but these two songs feel much more effervescent and ephemeral than prior Basalte material, lending them an inroad to the possibility of more spiritual and emotional experiences from listeners. Nothing feels ritualistic about this iteration of Basatle, but everything feels meaningful and well-placed.

This sort of black metal gets my blood pumping not because it feels so effortless -- given the subgenre's penchant for the extreme, it's easy to find bands who try way too hard to be "heavy" or "fast." Here, Basatle feels very much like they just "are," a band that digs into your brain not with a sharpened spade but with an open hand inviting you to let yourself go for just a few minutes to ride waves and waves of passionate black metal.

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The "L'excroissance du vide" EP released today, Friday, December 4th.


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