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Quietly, French Canada has been establishing itself as a small but burning hotspot for North American black metal. I first began to keep tabs on the region when I stumbled upon Sorcier des Glaces via reddit last year. That project made enough of an impact on me that when Grimoire fell into my hands I expected something special. My expectations were met.

Grimoire, the solo project of Fiel, a member of fellow Quebecois black metal groups Forteresse and Csejthe, epitomizes what I think of when I imagine the current wave of French Canadian black metal. The sound? Frigid. Atmospheric, though never reducing itself to background music. Most of all, reaching for a kind of stoic beauty. Sometimes the guitars are so delicate that they sound less like plucked strings and more like marbles falling onto piano keys. Synthesizers make up an important part of the sound, but remain stately and demure. Think of Summoning, but less interested in Tolkien and more interested in grabbing a mug of warm tea and staring out a frosted window. Grimoire's sophomore LP, L'aorasie des spectres rêveurs packs four gorgeous tracks, but my personal favorite, "Cachot de cristal," is streaming below.

—Joseph Schafer

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L'aorasie des spectres rêveurs drops January 27 via Eisenwald. Follow Grimoire on Facebook here.

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