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Chanson De La Croisade
February 2011
Released: 2010, Self Released
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

With roots dating back to 1999 Lemuria have released their second full length album, CHANSON DE LA CROISADE, or SONG OF THE CRUSADE translated. The band formed in Antwerp, Belgium and in their 11 odd years has endured numerous lineup changes, which partially explains the six year gap between their debut, TALES, ALE & FIRE and the new album. Obviously, with such inconsistent output it is hard to make an impact, but the band has unquestionably put their best foot forward on CHANSON.

Lemuria plays a hybrid style of black metal crossed with classical and power metal elements. Vocally, Niklaas Reinhold sounds like any of a number of other black metal vocalists, Dimmu’s Shagrath being one obvious comparison. Conceptually, CHANSON is over an hour long and dedicated to a story of medieval France during the Crusades. The complete package comes with an ambitious 28 page booklet that together with the lyrics weaves a connected story on a colossal scale, not your average black metal approach. Musically, the guitars and drums alternate between breakneck speed and occasional grinds. It is hard to create distinctive songs in such a limiting genre, but “Death & Submission (Requiem Aeternam)” uses keyboards to nice effect and there is a sinister breakdown in the middle of the tune. The keyboards are actually what give this album its power metal feel in places, along with some speedy melodic riffs. When the band goes instrumental and slows things down, many of the songs begin to shine.

Production-wise, this is very good for black metal, which still means that it sounds like the album was recorded in a 50 foot hole and the music is barely reaching you at the edge of the pit. Black metal not being my particular cup of tea, I probably am not giving this album the justice it might deserve. No question though that this is very experimental black metal and as I said there were enough other elements to keep me interested for 3 or 4 tracks, but not for an hour. The vocals, as with most black metal, were fatiguing to me. Still, the band has put forth a tremendous effort. Unquestionably, Norwegian black metal fans that recognize no other form of the genre as legitimate will pan this. Black metal fans with an open mind and maybe even some power metal fans will enjoy this for its unique blend of styles and willingness to push the envelope in what is a particularly constraining genre.
Track Listing

01. Orritania, Anno 1209

02. The Cross and The Crusade

03. The Slaughter of Innocence

04. Carchachouna

05. Death & Submission (Requiem Aeternam)

06. A Coming Storm

07. Fields of Toulouse

08. The End of a Reign

09. The Conflict of Toulouse

10. Court Music

11. Crusher of Souls

12. Als Catars


Vincent: Drums & Orchestration

Siegfried: Keyboards & Orchestration
Jan: Guitar

Gaël: Guitar

Bart: Bass Guitar

Niklaas: Vocals

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Chanson De La Croisade
January 2011
Released: 2010, Indie
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

This album (and band) really came out of left field. I was not familiar with Lemuria’s earlier 2005 debut and had little to no info about them but I am blown away. Lemuria is a Symphonic Black Metal sextet from Belgium and for an independent act I am extremely impressed.

The album CHANSON DE LA CROISADE is a full-on, full-blown epic concept album clocking in at over an hour. This is by far one of the most epic, Metal Opera type deals I’ve ever heard. The band is listed as Black Metal in places but Lemuira is so much more. Imagine an unholy union of Rhapsody and Dimmu Borgir. This is what I imagine the aborted Rhapsody In Black project was going to sound like.

The album is heavy and fast, very fast and the lead guitar work really drives the songs along. I have a hard time defining this as Black Metal. Despite the really harsh vocals, if you strip those away this would pass for a heavy Power Metal album. The vocals while guttural are clearly pronounced making it easier to follow. The lead vocals are accompanied by lots of male choirs and the songs have a very orchestrated, soundtrack feel to them. I know the word ‘epic’ is used often but it truly applies here.

There is a ton of mellower instrumentation going on in this album. There are lots and lots of keyboards. The acoustic piano intro to the cut ‘A Coming Storm’ is a tip of the hat to Savatage. The instrumental tracks ‘Court Music’ and ‘Carchachouna’ could easily fit on any Rhapsody album. Swirling keyboards flow through virtually every song sometimes doing battle with the guitar. There is flute, horns, kind of like Hollenthon, and a huge medieval flair to all the compositions. There are folk influences as well making this a real mish-mash but the band pull it all together. Capping off the concept album is a very interesting story-line with narration and sound effects. These are just icing on the cake. All these additional elements make it all the more exciting to listen to. The production is top notch as is the mix. The narration is clear and audible and the vocals are loud and up front.

Somehow Lemuria have taken all these sonic components and mixed them in the right proportion and never leave behind the metal. That is key to this diverse and dynamic album, the Metal really shines through, the raging speed, blazing soloing, the harsh Black Metal attack never get overshadowed by the bells and whistles. CHANSON DE LA CROISADE is a phenomenal album and if I had heard it in 2010 it would have easily made my Top 10 for the year.
Track Listing

1. Occitania Anno 1209
2. The Cross and the Crusade
3. The Slaughter of Innocence
4. Carchachouna
5. Death & Submission (Requiem Aeternam)
6. A Coming Storm
7. Fields of Toulouse
8. The End of a Reign
9. The Conflict of Toulouse
10. Court Music
11. Crusher of Souls
12. Als Catars


Niklaas Reinhold Vocals
Jan Bergmans Guitars
Roman Samonin Guitars
Bart De Prins Bass
Siegfried Mercelis Keyboards
Vincent Pichal Drums



Other reviews

Next review: » Lendt, C.K. - Kiss And Sell:The Making Of A Supergroup (Book Review)
Previous review: » Leif Edling - Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy

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