SETH Returns Triumphant on La Morsure du Christ

            The embodiment of evil and chaos returns eight years after unleashing The Howling Spirit to summon a new full-length attack titled La Morsure du Christ. This infernal offering, which dually means “The bite of Christ” and “Christ’s death is certain,” celebrates a declining power of religion inspired by the 2019 burning of Notre-Dame de Paris, and shows SETH revisiting their roots with a sound comparable to 1998’s Les Blessures de l’Âme. France’s Black Metal prestige is reaffirmed with the melody and atmosphere of this stylistic revival, and La Morsure du Christ triumphantly fans the flames of religious downfall while displaying SETH’s unrelenting vigor and ferocity.

            An unholy crusade is directly underway with blasting melodies and atmospheric elements on the title track, and this initial barrage is accompanied by a mid-paced rhythm while epic qualities intensify during a shift to rapid blast beats and other arrangements. Organ keys precede the combined assault of double bass and tremolo fury, which progresses into the haunting effects of a piano interlude. A heavy gloom slowly restores the momentum leading to the melodic flow of “Métal Noir (Black Metal),” where increases in speed and intensity further the developing sense of grandeur along with acoustic instrumentals, vocal variations, and other effects. This splendor continues with evocative medieval undertones on “Sacrifice de Sang (Blood Sacrifice),” and a cadence with melancholic notes rages into blast beats and tremolo riffing led by fierce vocal projections. A dark ambient passage breaks this havoc as it approaches a transition to the visceral tremolo melodies of “Ex-Cathédrale.” Melancholy takes hold during the hook of a melodic groove, and the frenzy returns before succumbing to sorrowful layers of atmospheric keys, bleak melodies, and acoustic elements.

            The dark spirit of an early saga reappears in the melodies and rhythm on “Hymne au Vampire (Acte III).” Sections of driving riffs and blasting force alternate with this mid-paced majesty, and the fury is accentuated as scorching tremolos surface along with haunting voices and organs. An acoustic passage with choral singing forms a suitable outro before revealing the vast abyssal soundscape of “Les Océans du Vide (The Oceans of Emptiness).” These grandiose emanations persist as bleak transitions and melodies merge with other vehement expressions, and a descent into the abyss begins during an acoustic break with anguished vocals. This despair is further compounded with the mournful impact of violins that yield to a last act of defiance on “Le Triomphe de Lucifer (The Triumph of Lucifer).” The initial onslaught of blast beats and tremolo melodies gives way for organs, acoustics, and other atmospheric elements that allude to an imminent finale, and haunting notes emerge in the subsequent advancing through melodic and groove-laden passages. Dreary arpeggiated notes lead to a raging declaration of Lucifer’s victory, followed by menacing organ and choral tones that seal this decisive conquest.

            French alexandrine verse is the chosen lyrical medium for La Morsure du Christ, which is respectable and also contributes to the returning essence of SETH’s debut. However, the specific contents of these lyrics will likely elude those who are foreign to this language. Rough English translations of some song titles above give insight into other details within their overarching themes of impending religious demise.

            La Morsure du Christ signals a glorious return for SETH, and its inspired atmosphere matches the magnificence of Notre Dame’s architecture combined with the glaring flames of that fateful occurrence. The songwriting displays a unique melodic flow and pervading epic developments along with a continuation of the band’s early vitality. This makes it an accessible experience while retaining a vicious precision and fury. SETH has delivered a reinvigorated creation after the lengthy release interval, and La Morsure du Christ is sure to leave a grand impression among the diverse legions of extreme Metal.

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