So with 2015 over, we begin the year with an interview with the “Cold Primitive Metal” giants from Quebec, Canada, SORCIER DES GLACES
MP: Introduce yourself:
SDG: We are Sorcier Des Glaces, from Québec, Canada. The band was formed in 1997 as a duo, and with the intention to create our own primitive form of metal. We play what we call “Cold Primitive Metal”, that is reminiscent of black metal with a lot of freezing melodies but also an old school vibe from the second wave of black metal from the ‘90s. This year in 2016, we will release our sixth album.
MP: How did Sorcier Des Glaces come to be?
SDG: Me and Luc Gaulin (drums) had started a progressive metal band back in 1995 called Moonlyght (still active today) and then some years later I wanted to express some darker ideas in another project. I’m absolutely not a good drummer but I can play a little. I also play all other instruments like guitars, bass, keyboards, so I asked Luc to help me record some drum tracks for a first album (that became Snowland) for that “new” project. Luc recorded 3 tracks and then I ended up playing the rest of the album because a lack of time and the fact that we had to borrow a 4-tracks cassette recorder to a friend of mine. We did a brief mixing of the instruments, we had no experience at all in recording music, but we did it! Sorcier Des Glaces and Snowland came to life and the rest, well, we did record our second album the next year and pursue that way… until now.
MP: How did you come up with the name?
SDG: I wanted a name to would materialize the misanthropic nature of the lyrics. Total isolation, the hate of humanity, the puressence of nature… I wanted to create a character, an immortal soul that would carry the osbcure, timeless, icy primitive nature of the music. A sorcerer or a wizard was great. So the “Wizard of Ices” sounded great, in French of course, I wanted a French name for that project because we are from Quebec.
MP: What is the inspiration behind the band?
SDG: Well, SDG is inspired mainly by the second wave of black metal. Of course we found our own sound during the years, but the inspiration always remained from the same bands: Mayhem, Darkthrone, Dissection, Obtained Enslavement, Ulver, Samael… but some older stuff from Tormentor, Messiah (Switzerland), Bathory and Motörhead.
MP: Your music seems to have the true black metal sound reminiscent of the 90’s wave of black metal, was this intentional?
SDG: Exactly. At first I wanted Sorcier Des Glaces to be a “tribute” to the second wave. Until today, we made some cover songs from bands that influenced us the most. It is our way to say thanks to their great music!
MP: What was the inspiration behind “North”?
SDG: It’s the same as always. In 2010, I decided to write many new songs for SDG. I did compose A LOT of new material. So I started to compose and record “The Puressence of Primitive Forests”, “Ritual of the End”, the split album with Monarque and also “North”. I think that I recorded all guitars, bass, and vocals around that same time, in 2010-2011. That’s why I announced a “trilogy” of new albums coming. As I now have my own studio at home now, Hell Studio, it is much more easier to record music when the inspiration is there, without rushing anything. Since 2010, I got more and more experience in mixing and recording, so you hear the differences between albums. “North”, compared to the last two albums, sounds more mature and more powerful and also has an icy feel that is very more present than on Puressence and Ritual. “North” has a more atmospheric vibe and sounds even symphonic, without any use of keyboards. We completely abandonned keyboards after the recording of our second album in 1999, “Moonrise in Total Darkness”.
MP: How is the Canadian black metal scene?
SDG: Well, I don’t know much about the “black metal” scene here to be honnest. Sorcier Des Glaces is kind of isolated, we do our own thing and don’t hang out with others. I think that we got very good talented bands in Quebec though. The few I know are of course Monarque that is great and now his new project Sanctuaire that I’m producing at Hell Studio. A new and promising band from Quebec is Abstruse Custody, a melodic thrash metal project who released their first album in 2015 “Seeds from the Void” that I also produced at the studio. Other than that, I’m stuck to old Voivod!
MP: A lot of great black metal comes from Canada but what sets Quebec apart from other places?
SDG: We have a different culture, a different background than the rest of Canada. We speak french, and also I guess the weather, the rude winters here influence us a bit to write some cold music. Many Quebec “Metal Noir” bands don’t like to be associated to Canada, they are fighting for the independence of Quebec. They only sing in French, they want to preserve our beautiful language, so maybe it has that folky, nationalist feel to it.
MP: What got you into black metal music?
SDG: “A Blaze in the Northern Sky” and “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Still today, these are two of my fave albums of all times. That was a period, a feeling that was what I call the “real” Black Metal. So many bands today does sound “black metal”, but like the “real” punk, that period is dead. I mean, The Sex Pistols and The Ramones was the real Punk, not Blink 182 or Pennywise.
MP: How does “North” differ from “Ritual of the End?”
SDG: Ritual had a little more “rocky” feel in some of the songs and some guitars solos. On “North”, there is no guitar solos and it has a more atmospheric vibe throughout all the songs. It wasn’t intentional, but the album goes that way, I think maybe more of a mixture of Snowland / Ritual of the End and Puressence. But the overall sound is 100% Sorcier Des Glaces. Also, the sound is thicker, and more powerful than any other albums we have recorded so far. As I said, we have matured a lot since we started that band.
MP: What bands are an inspiration behind your music?
SDG: As I said earlier in this interview, mainly BM bands from the 90’s, and mainly from Norway. But I would say that some albums are particulary influencial for Sorcier Des Glaces. “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is probably our greatest influence, it’s in my opinion the greatest Black Metal album of all times. “Storm of the Light’s Bane” from Dissection is a big part of our inspiration too, that gives us our more melodic side. “Witchcraft” and “Soulblight” from the mighty Obtained Enslavement, “A Blaze in the Northern Sky”, “Blood Ritual” from Samael, and of course the demo “ The Seventh Day of Doom” and “Anno Domini” from Tormentor.
MP: What song is your personal favorite from “North?”
SDG: I think that “La Noirceur Éternelle” is a great song on the album, and probably one of the best song we ever wrote. It has that atmospheric vibe, that darkness that penetrates the soul, that old school feeling… But of course I think that every song on the album is at its place. The song “North” is a particular song, as it was originally composed for my other band Moonlyght, back in 1995! We arranged the song to fit Sorcier Des Glaces’ material, and I think this has a very “Dissection” feel at some places, a more melodic side than the rest of our material. But if you listen to the song “Onward into the Crystal Snows” from our first album, it might have some similarities in the feeling. It is our hommage to the great white North, to the eternal snows that cover our world.
MP: How did Sorcier Des Glaces get with Obscure Abhorrence Productions?
SDG: My friend from Monarque had contact with Andreas, OAP’s owner. Monarque had already released some music on OAP before. We released the split SDG/Monarque in 2012 and then Andreas showed some interest in releasing the next SDG album “Ritual of the End”. It was a success, and I really like to work with him, he is very professionnal. He showed his interest again in releasing North, and probably some vinyl releases in the near future so that’s really cool.
MP: What advice would you give to other upcoming bands?
SDG: Be authentic. It might sounds cliché, but you have to “find” your own personnality, your own image not just being a clone of other bands. I wanted Sorcier Des Glaces to revive the nostalgia of the second wave of Black Metal, but at the same time we found our sound throughout the years. We are still perfecting our sound now in 2016, but the most important is being true to yourself. The same goes to album productions in that particular scene that is black metal. SDG has a “clean” production on the last two albums, some people wanted us to have that necro sound again, but I think that too many bands now go that way now. It’s not ‘94 anymore. This is fine to have a raw edge, but sometimes it is just too much.
MP: Any last words?
SDG: 2016 will be a great years for us. A split album with France’s ENDE is also coming this year, some re-releases of our two first albums Snowland and Moonrise in Total Darkness, and finally some of our albums in vinyl versions. The darkness is upon us all. Hell awaits!