[There were no keyboards used on this recording according to the liner notes]
Sorcier des Glaces‘ sense of grandeur comes from open-ended, minor key progressions where notes climb up the reaches of the natural scale, but rarely return back to the vicinity of the tonic and so lie suspended in a majestic but unresolved tension. Ritual Of The End, unlike previous Sorcier des Glaces albums, at times juxtaposes an unfamiliar, for this band, death metal voice against the patented, frozen keyboard leanings of earlier efforts. This new development has introduced a certain amount of recursion into the music where the death metal part starts on a leading note but is gradually relegated to the background as a melodic strain plays over it and around it and assumes prominence as chief actor.
Traditional black metal tremolo picking is still found in abundance, usually mimicking the keyboards above in lower register harmony. Aside from the mentioned recursion and the slight misstep found on the simple, rock-tinted passages of ‘Sign Of the End’, song structures sit well in the Sorcier des Glaces canon, introducing contiguous key changes and perpetual forward movement. It is also worth noting that while Ritual Of The End has a more aggressive attack than found in the past, it is still, like all music from this band, an unabashedly melodic album. In a time of loudness, pseudo-brutality, and posturing, Sorcier des Glaces remind us that melody and tonality, when used with intelligence and taste, are no bad things, and are perhaps the only way of giving voice to emotion in its various modes.
Black metal escaped the self-imposed constraints of death metal mentality just so it could realize this waiting potential. The difference between Sorcier des Glaces and any number of melodic black metal bands, however, lies in the interrelationships between components and in the preservation of a uniform mood. Ritual Of The End is atmospheric black metal but not in the way of music that has run out of ideas and so chooses to pass off procrastinating, monochromatic drone as its take on atmosphere. Sorcier des Glaces has momentous things to convey; the vitality of life as primal instinct but also, on a deeper, more conscious level, the sense of wonder, melancholic and exuberant by turns, at life itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jF8WeVMhJ4