The album art resembles a crossover between Marduk
's Panzer Division Marduk
and Iron Maiden's A Matter of Life
and Death. This instantly got me interested in what is Moonreich
's debut full length album, Loi Martiale
to the theme of war, the album opens with sounds of gunshots and violence, with men shouting in agony and raindrops at the background, complete with a haunting synth line, setting the grim mood for the ride that's to come. Once
the opening track, Le regard du pendu, starts off proper, Loi Martiale
is an hour of non-stop blasting with few breaks in between to break the tempo and the intensity of the songs. The entire mix of the album is perfect, in particular the drumming section, where drummer Odarec pounds relentlessly, a middle finger to bands that choose to utilise triggered drums over true drumming skills. PZF's vocals are reminiscent of a cross between Marduk
and current frontman Mortus
is also not afraid of using atmospheric sections to bring out the mood of despair, such as on Les psaumes d'Iscariote (Livre I : Le pardon du pendu), where the main instruments fade into the background, giving way to a piano and haunting chanting at the background. Stringed instruments continue backing up the song until the end, leaving the listener with a nice taste in the mouth. The string interlude at the end of En Mon Âme Et Conscience
ensures that the tension of the album remains high, leaving the listener anticipating for more. On the closing track, L'aube de cristal, there is even a bagpipe lead solo, further enhancing the military feel of the music. The hidden organ instrumental track provides a fitting outro to the album, with a howling wind marking the end of the album.
The music on the album also pays homage to their influences, and listening to it, bands like Watain
come to mind, the music and atmosphere reminding me of a rawer version of the recent Lawless Darkness
, especially on tracks such as the (mainly) instrumental En Préparant L'assaut, where a lead guitar is backed by an epic sounding rhythm section before breaking into the usual frenzy. The intro riff of the title track, Loi Martiale
, even sounds like a heavier and blackened version of what Melechesh
is likely to put out.
Many bands either try too hard to define their own sound through the blending of countless influences, while some simply decide to carry their inspirations on their sleeves. Fortunately, Moonreich
manages to do this to good effect, making Loi Martiale
an enjoyable listen throughout. This album is easily one of the early contenders for album of the year.