Bringer of higher education, a strategic genius for the ages, progenitor of civil code, an emancipator of the marginalized, and a now-dated giggle among baby boomers who’d ever been crossed by the great ego of a diminutive figure the legacy of Napoleone di Buonaparte is too often a murky point of trivia for such an unforgettable shaker of Western civilization. As elitism and militaristic dominance become food for warbling, guttural masses of culture-void opportunists suggesting the surrealistic fairy tale that ‘citizens of the Earth’ could be sustainably united in a Roddenberry-esque reality so fades the tattoos of such coldly strategic minds across the cultural faces of Europe. A great bolus of cancer grows within any brilliant mind as if to miraculously shorten the life of those most characteristically benevolent or likewise capable of deadly leadership. Be it greed, hatred or pointless cruelty no doubt the crutch of the supposed higher-born is their proclivity for mental disintegration and Napoléon was no less afflicted by both callousness and cancer. Eviscerated upon septic death in exile Bonaparte’s final corporeal wholeness would be grotesquely divided among family, friend and ally; The heart preserved in wine and betrothed to his wife, his hair shaven and sent to his family, a piece of stolen rib to his butler and priest each. Fabled slices of penis and intestine aside… it would appear the supposed Antichrist, the great usurper of the European ‘appointed by God’ religious aristocracy of the age, was seemingly disemboweled by some occult mission to retain his essence before his corpse would take nearly four decades to properly bury. In their courses through deeply symbolic veins of French history Québec/New York melodic black metal trio Departure Chandelier likewise scour and make fetish of the stylistic history of French black metal while incorporating deeper reference to all-time greats.
There are no such historical facts in resolving the identities of the membership driving Departure Chandelier but the crumb given suggests the obvious, these composers draw strength and phrasal informatic from raw black metal with their station in Ash Pool and the much lauded Akitsa. References to classic Bathory and the late 90’s French black metal scene prior to the total death of symphonic/melodic hybridization give reasonable platform to vault from though ‘Antichrist Rise to Power’ is dirtier, ancient in its heft and anticipatory in performance. The absolute dirge of ‘The Black Crest of Death, the Gold Wreath of War’ (2011) demo felt cold, uncommon, and less than ethereal beyond its Agatus-esque synth work and blunt-faced yet triumphant guitar melodies; In the six year gap between releases Departure Chandelier‘s split with Blood Tyrant saw a bold transformation with a bolstering of its synth rampart and a guitar performance that’d followed the times towards the French-Canadian melodic sensibility. A tonal mid-point is achieved on this debut full-length with pomposity reprimanded away from the darkest French modernity and void of any avant-garde tendency. There is a powerful uplift to the work here that not only transcends the ideology of its basal influences, such as Osculum Infame‘s ‘I’a Aem’nh S’ha-T’n’ demo or Bekhira‘s 1996 demo but reinforces the hints of Greeks Nergal and Agatus (along with the first Master’s Hammer record) that I’d felt resonated within earlier releases. Raw, melodic, and tastefully symphonic there is grand niche achieved within ‘Antichrist Rise to Power’ that is not only evocative of the intended theme but rarely so smartly achieved.
The bliss of the well-armed devout sings through ruddy guitar escalations and a choir of wailing keys as “Forever Faithful to the Emperor” showers the ear with subtle golden rays of powerful, prideful dramatics on par with the most spiritual of early Falkenbach pieces. Here I felt bestowed by an intricate sort of intensity, a needled freeing of the hearts malcontent with regard to the mind, an armature to compress and form emotion upon. In more direct language, the melodic value of ‘Antichrist Rise to Power’ is inspirational and intimate without losing performative sensibilities. What first appeared as an average synth-powered melodic black metal album grew into a floodgate for what’d release mental tension. “Re-establish the Black Rule of France” is the cumulative hurrah of the album, a vista so electric and shimmering that it could only be imagined, yet what fall comes at the end coughs a spiteful breath as speed and power descend into a fatal hum. In this sense Departure Chandelier is more serious, artful, and ‘complete’ as a listening experience when compared to its collaborators raw black metal history.
Though I believe this debut will be too ‘accessible’ for folks who’d anticipated something stylistically similar to the bands 2011 demo, it actually precedes the demo by a full decade. This comes as a true point of dissonance considering it comes with a modern relevance that is almost too impressive to have been conceived around 2001; It absolutely fits within the sensibilities of the time, right down to the ‘retro’ late 90’s synth work. Discovering this vital detail in the middle of the review process actually allowed some clarity as to why I’d felt it had little continuity with ‘The Black Crest of Death, the Gold Wreath of War’. As charming as it is to consider ‘Antichrist Rise to Power’ a rejuvenated relic rather than a modern take on melodic black metal it only speaks to the timeless appeal of this form of dark, highly melodic form of music. Fitting that nearly twenty years later the Napoléonic spirit of Departure Chandelier be unearthed and revealed as a preserved, yellowed corpse still gloriously classic in its decay. Highly recommended. For preview the obvious place to start is “Forever Faithful to the Emperor” and then “Re-establish the Black Rule of France” before circling around to “Departure Chandelier” if you’re still yearning for guitar work that is more evocative of classic mid-90’s melodic black metal.
Coaxed into resurrection. 4.0/5.0
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