Seth – Les Blessures de L’Ame

On first hearing the opening track on Seth’s “Les Blessures de L’Ame” “La Quintessence du Mal”, what strikes the listener is the raw production values combined with the ferocity of the buzzing guitar, symphonic percussion and snarling vocal. The overall effect from the outset is of an epic tale of mysticism and the supernatural. On reading the associated literature, this may not be so far from the truth, as the whole concept of the album is created around that most romantic contemporary saga of vampirism. On closer inspection however, what becomes apparent is that this album is actually a re-release of a 1998 original. With this in mind, what now strikes the attentive listener is how modern sounding this release could be argued to be. The compositions are tense, and display many varied textures within each passage. Whether or not the customer has had their fill of melodic vampire metal, or not, “Les Blessures de L’Ame” is unquestionably worth further consideration. It would be difficult to analyse each track individually, but the overall impression these give to the listener is one of being seduced by the towering melodies and drifting swells of guitar and keyboard. The music washes over the individual and smothers them in a blanket of tenderness tainted with only the merest hint of obscurity. The occasional peppering of gentle acoustic guitar and piano, on “Le Cercle de la Renaissance” for example, further lulls the unwary traveller into a sense of sanctuary and wellbeing. To describe this music thus leaves the reader wondering as to whether these pieces could follow that well trodden path of over-blown pomposity and grandiose melodrama. This may be one way to interpret “Les Blessures de L’Ame”, or it may be a gothic gateway to indulge the listener’s dark fantasies. Tracks such as “...A la Memoire de nos Frere” indicate the contrast apparent, with fierce riffs going hand in black-laced-gloved hand with fragile melody. The instrumental “Dans les Yeux du Serpent...” helps to draw together the luscious symphonic element to many of the tracks and leave them laid bare for analysis and extravagance.

Formed in the French city of Bordeaux in 1995, Seth have evolved over the years with a number of releases, “The Excellence”, “Divine X” and “Era Decay”, displaying a constant ability to combine sinister atmospheres with the most brutal compositions. The band experienced a hiatus between 2005 and 2011, but returned to business in 2012 with live performance co-headlining with Bethlehem. Remastered by Stephane Buriez of the French band Loudblast, and featuring two bonus tracks not on the original release “Les Sevices de la Peste”, which appears to be a rough demo mix and “Corpus et Anima”, a ferocious aural mauling, it may appear cynical to dissect the reasons as to why this album has been released again in 2012, but whatever the reasons may be, it is an opportunity for anyone new to the genre or unfamiliar with the work of Seth, to acquaint themselves with material which could be argued to have deserved more attention on its initial release. 

John Toolan