Sektarism - La Mort de l'Infidele
Zanjeer Zani Productions
Avantgarde / Ritualistic Drone / Funeral Doom
3 songs (58'30")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Alex

When the first glance at French Sektarism said they are playing funeral doom I prepared to share their grief and wallow in melodies. I should have been more attentive, notice the word drone and pay attention to the pictures from their live performances showing robed figures, describing these gigs as “strange appearances”. Because La Mort de l’Infidele is no funeral doom in the way I learned to appreciate the genre. Moreover, it isn’t dense floating saturating drone either. It doesn’t fit any of the extreme metal subgenres, period, and can be best described as an attempt to induce the state of bleakest trance possible.

O Seigneur starts with an eerie quiet, until a voice starts proclaiming incantations in what I think is French. That goes on for 5 minutes, until the man is totally exalted. Lyrics, or spoken words to describe them better, is a big part of La Mort de l’Infidele, so knowledge of French is a substantial advantage, but since my French learning daughter is unfortunately busy with her school stuff I can’t recruit her to translate. Thus I am left to my own devices, to receive these chants in a mysterious unknown tongue, but when somebody talks in your ear for a long time and you don’t understand the meaning, just trying to feel the tone of the voice, it starts to be grating after a while. At least on O Seigneur, once the verbal delivery is over, the hymn to dark forces shifts to low bass/guitars notes slowly raising their sound amplitude, and ritualistic beating drums push forward with monotonous monumental steps.

I did get the feeling and atmosphere of O Seigneur entirely, and was hoping for more development on the album. Alas, Sektarism prefers stagnation to movement. The sensation of exalted ceremony on O Seigneur is a strong experience, but when you do it over and over again, you simply run out of momentum. It didn’t take me long to associate the tired, dragging through the mud, beginning of Brule l’Heretique with a bunch of cattle led to the slaughter. Instead of adding layers, Sektarism peels them away, leaving nothing but static hiss and very legible litanies rising over quieting down drum pulse.

Sensing now more weariness than trance, when I saw that Conscience, Revolte, Perte du Moi was about to be 30 min (!) long I strongly questioned whether Sektarism will have enough material to perpetuate their message. They obviously think so, plowing on with tribal hand drum beating and intermittent yells, floating over guitar noise pollution. When all coherence seizes to exist, chain clinks is all I hear. Yet, I decided I am going to complete the masochistic experience and listen to the album until the very last note.

France seems to be a popular home for this style. Spektr, Overmars, Phobos, at the very minimum Sektarism cannot claim uniqueness. This music is obviously not for everyone, and while I could appreciate the first 7 – 10 min of it, I simply discover nothing new after the first track. It is predictable, and that is my main beef with Sektarism. If you want to subjugate and conquer my senses, you have to break out of your own stupor to place me into mine. Otherwise, this is mundane pretentiousness covered by the guise of self-invented ceremonial importance. Feel free to sample the first track though, and see if you want to continue.

Killing Songs :
O Seigneur
Alex quoted 40 / 100
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