Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’homme – Album Review

Artist: Incandescence

Album Title: Le Coeur De L’homme

Label: Profound Lore Records

Date of Release: 15 April 2022

I can’t believe that I nearly missed this album altogether. I have a bulging inbox full of promo invitations, but this was not one of them for some reason. Thankfully, when it came up as a recommendation on my social media timeline, I didn’t scroll past and I’m now able to bring you my review, albeit a little after its release.

The reason why I’m so relieved is because, for those of you unacquainted, Incandescence is a Canadian black metal band, bordering on the blackened death fringes, that features the talents of Beyond Creation drummer, Philippe Boucher. In fact, Boucher is the only original member as Incandescence is his baby. In the live arena, there are numerous names past and present who have filled the various roles, but in the studio, Boucher not only plays the drums, but he also handles the bass and guitar duties. In 2018, original vocalist Dystre Fjell was replaced by Louis-Paul Gauvreau, meaning that album number four, ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’ once again sees Boucher and Gauvreau dishing out their particular brand of black metal, as with ‘Ascension’ before it.

And the Incandescence brand of black metal is one that I like, too. No keyboards, no synths, no orchestration either manufactured or real. Everything you hear on ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’ comes from guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. Nothing else. And yet, as I listen, there’s a palpable sense of atmosphere that seeps through into the compositions. Not only that, but there’s just enough minor-chord melody to keep me interested as well.

In fact, I have to wonder, as I listen, why the band aren’t better-known because there really is a lot to like about ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’. For a start, if you’re familiar with Beyond Creation, or previous Incandescence records, you’ll know that Bucher is a beast behind the drum kit. And never is that brought into sharper focus than on this album. If you have a weakness for blastbeats and impossibly fast drumming, then you need to hear ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’ because it will be wall-to-wall aural nectar to you. Some of the fills and rolls are glorious as well as mind-boggling.

Then there are the vocals of Louis-Paul Gauvreau, which are properly vicious, finding themselves more towards a deep death metal growl than a high-pitched black metal shriek. But when the mood takes him, he can scream with the best of them. And, at around forty-two minutes and comprised of eight tracks, the album is perfectly positioned to make the biggest impact without leaving the listener either fatigued or feeling short-changed.

Clean but foreboding guitars open proceedings, but it isn’t long before ‘Avilissement’ erupts, and we’re hammered by furious blast beats and a flurry of fast-picked black metal riffing. With a couple of listens under my belt I can begin to hear the subtle melodies at play, and with another few spins, I can really enjoy them, whilst Boucher dominates the track with a drumming masterclass. It is this that’s also a slight negative too, because there’s a trend as the album develops, that the drums do take centre stage to the detriment of other elements occasionally. This isn’t surprising given that Boucher is a drummer first and foremost, but it’s something worthy of mention nonetheless.

The intro to ‘Tréfonds Macabres’ is utterly marvellous; sinister and darkly melodic, with the flamboyant drumming enhancing the experience. Again, from there, it’s a four-and-a-half-minute track dominated by blasts, with the caustic growls of Gauvreau prominent throughout. As with the opener, the more I listen, the more I can pick out the melodic aspect of the material woven into the more immediately discernible tumult. There’s even a nice mid-section where the pace is slowed to allow greater atmosphere and variety into the composition.

To a greater or lesser extent, this is the chosen path for the majority of ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’, although it’s nice to report that tracks like ‘La Descente’ and parts within ‘Avide De Cris’ are prepared to slow things down a little to hit us with something a little more considered and powerful in a different way.

However, Incandescence leave the best to last. The final two songs are both over seven minutes in length and quite possibly contain the best material on the entire record. The intro drumming to ‘La Spirale De L’échec’ is absolutely insane, but it soon gives way to a clean guitar passage that’s a welcome moment of respite before we’re plunged back into more aggressive climes. And, as the song develops, unless my ears deceive me, we are treated to the boldest and most arresting of melodies found anywhere on ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’, with the bass taking a front seat at points and a lead guitar solo, both of which I find immensely gratifying.

With closer ‘Desacralisation Des Moeurs’, the focus seems to be more on changes in pace, dynamics, and atmosphere. And with the slightly extended run-time, there’s more opportunity to explore ideas. So, whilst it’s another heavy, uncompromising track, there’s plenty of slower-paced material that allows a dark and evil atmosphere to envelop the music. It’s certainly the most varied and nuanced of all the songs, something that I personally believe works in their favour.

I would have loved this album to have had a slightly better production because the drums do dominate a bit too much in places, whilst the material can threaten to become a little messy when at its most extreme. I’d also love to have heard a little more experimentation and frivolity with the guitars and bass if I’m being very picky. But these comments aside, I have to say that ‘Le Coeur De L’homme’ is a most enjoyable slab of heavy, aggressive, yet melodic black metal from Incandescence. I’d certainly urge you to check it out if black metal is your thing, because I’ll be very surprised if you don’t like what you hear.

The Score of Much Metal: 83%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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