Suhnopfer - Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes
Debemur Morti Productions
Melodic Technical Black Metal
7 songs (51'53")
Release year: 2019
Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Alex

Somehow I have a feeling that characterization and whether to like French Suhnopfer will be a subject of an intense debate. I am of multiple minds about Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes myself after taking multiple listens. What do you say about an album to which you cannot ascribe a genre with certainty, but that, in fact, is only have the battle. What do you say about the album where you like many individual moments and pieces, but on the whole you feel confused? Would you like a mosaic where the overall feel picture feels dim, but individual stones are bright and shiny? How could this be you ask? Take a walk with Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes and you will understand.

Walk is not even the right term for this album. Running at Mach 3 speed is more like it. After a short mysterious intro Invito Funere, Penitences et sorcelages begins the album’s constant non-stop motion. It is if the sole musician behind Suhnopfer Ardaos can’t sit still and he has way too many ideas to jam into the space of one album. There is so much energy, movement, melody and most noticeably riffery on Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes. Penitences et sorcelages, title track, La chasse gayere, all of them, in a row just unrelentingly and constantly sweep you off your feet. The main interplay on the album is ever-twisting guitar lines bouncing off continually changing percussion. Double bass, blast and all kinds of drum rolls in between buttress blackened death guitar riffs and melodies ranging from Celtic to Russian folk. Dungeony voice is probably the most levelheaded and “normal” aspect of Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes.

The music on the album is by turn dark or chivalrous, and at times becomes truly uplifting and buoyant (title track). As this whirlwind of guitar technicality never abates you almost want something simpler, something a touch repetitive that you can buy even a modicum of purchase to hold on to. Yet the first slowdown doesn’t appear until vivacious 5th track Je vivroie liement, and for arrangements braiding in some interesting string work on the title track is all you will get. A few moments of spoken French verse here and there won’t count for distraction.

Quebecois black metal fans may appreciate Suhnopfer, or the fans of Belenos who are willing to hold on to more than simply pagan atmospheres. Yet this is melodic blackened metal on steroids, where to grasp the overall picture is not going to be possible by virtue of the overwhelming design. Whether this chaos built of seemingly normal parts is purposeful or purposeless will remain in the eye of the beholder. The excellent sound quality and technical playing absolutely slays, but in the end head scratching is virtually guaranteed. Some albums are not meant to be easy listening and this is one of them.

Killing Songs :
Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes, La chasse gayere, Je vivroie liement
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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