SEKTARISM - Le Son des Stigmates (ZANJEER ZANI - digipack 2012)
I guess someone has just won an award for the most disturbing and extreme album, which I had a chance to listen to so far this year (or even ever in my life?!). Here is a French sect called Sektarism, comprised of four individuals, who’re hiding behind the enigmatic names: Crüxvheryn K, Shamaanik B., Messiatanik Armrek and Eklezjas'Tik Berzerk. “Le Son des Stigmates” is the first full length album, which Sektarism has spawned, when being possessed… but prior to that they have crafted also a bunch of demos, which I’ve never heard, but I can imagine that they’re probably as distressing as this album is. Because really, this music (or maybe even anti-musick?) is as painful and against anything, what usually stands behind the word “music” as it can only get. Why did I call it anti-musical? Well, it is very simple. The album - although generally labelled as drone / funeral doom - has just no trace of harmonies, melodies, rhythms or – if we stick to the metal genre – just damn “right in the face” riffing. “Le Son des Stigmates” is totally deprived of all those things, which usually make your listening experience more enjoyable. But what can you do, if this sect is totally against entertaining the listener? They just want you to be dead.
The ceremony begins with “Prelude” and it is the only such short song on the album… Well, the title says it all. It is just an introduction to the rest of the album (and as such it brings some guitar noise and lazy drumming, accompanied with summoning or whatever you want to call the vocals in it… howling maybe? But it is fuckin weird!). And it is followed by just two tracks: “Hosanna Sathana” and “Le Testament”, both circling around 20 minutes. Since “Prelude” has already putted me in the right mood, I wasn’t really shocked when I’ve heard those two very morbid and disturbing tracks, filled with slow paced, primitive drumming and such riffs, which are drilling your mind with distortion and other noise. Hey, sorry, did I say riffs? These are no riffs. There are some creepy distortions, a lot of cacophony and if Sektarism plays some accords, then they do so in very, very slow tempo. If you remember the band called Worship and “Last Tape Before Doomsday”, then you may know what I mean here: a complete opposition to everything, what makes metal music as we know it.
Plus there are vocals of the possessed or sick man, who uses his voice more just to scream, make some torturous noise and howl rather than sing in the usually expected metal manner. The effect is… Well, I cannot say it is something, what would make me excited. Neither this is something, what I would play and listen to for the fun and to cheer myself up when wanting to listen to a good metal album. As I already mentioned before, “Le Son des Stigmates” is just a sort of an album, which goes against any entertaining purposes, it is more like a collection of sounds and noise, which are to build a specific, negative and uncomfortable atmosphere and make you feel really scared. When played in the gloom of the night, then it really starts to make sense. You know, this is almost like a ritualistic experience more than a metal album. And here lays the problem... As a metal fan I need to be objective and say that “Le Son des Stigmates” is not really something, what I like to hear. I do feel like the atmosphere, which Sektarism created is very deep and maniacal, but I cannot see a purpose in listening to “Le Son des Stigmates”, other than participating in sort of ceremony… And if I don’t feel like I want to be in it, then Sektarism has just nothing to offer than 40 minutes of slow torture shaped in sounds and noise. I don’t know whether you know what I mean... but as I said, this isn’t really a metal album, with metal riffs and metal song structures – which are something I would love to listen to anytime. “Le Son des Stigmates” is far from it and this is why it is also difficult to make any opinion on it. If I was to grade it just for the atmosphere, then Sektarism would be very praised, as there are not so many bands, which I think were able to create something so sinister and possessed. But just for the musical values, then I do not regard “Le Son des Stigmates” as an album, which deserves my appreciation. It is really difficult to stand these 45 minutes, focusing on this “anti-musick” and fight the will to turn it off. So, for the final rate of Sektarism debut I needed to take the average of both sides of the coin… I give it 60/100 points, but I dare to say if you’re a maniac of possessed, drone / funeral doom, then “Le Son des Stigmates” may be your album of the year.
Final rate: 60/100