Catuvolcus- Gergovia

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, December 15, 2012

Canadian folk/black metal band Catuvolcus released their sophomore effort Gergovia earlier this year, and it’s the type of effort overflowing with stunning moments and quite a bit of backstory. The group is based out of Quebec and has structured their material around different elements of Gallic culture (to the point where the members refer to their music as Gaul metal). Gergovia is a concept album based around the famous Gallic war of the same name, and it’s an ambitious effort that should appeal to fans of the style.

Unfortunately I didn’t have lyrics available to me when reviewing this release so I can’t go further into the concept than what I’ve mentioned so far, but based on what I’ve seen mentioned by others that own the actual release it seems as though the band has managed to go in depth with the historical elements. This is definitely something I would like to delve further into at a later date, but for now I will comment primarily on the vocal arrangements. Lead singer Segomaros has a higher pitched shriek that sounds like a cross between a black metal and melodic death metal style, and he has a decent amount of variation to his pitch. On a few of the tracks some other vocal styles pop up, such as on “Impetus” when the higher pitches suddenly give way to a low growl. This same track also features some clean vocals that fit the folk vibe, and while based on the Metal Archives entry it seems as though these might be handled by a guest singer I’d like to see the group potentially expand upon them in the future.

While there are some folk elements present throughout Gergovia the band doesn’t make use of additional instrumentation and instead lets the guitars, bass, and drums explore harsh and mellower elements. Quite a few of the ideas that the instrumentalists make use of feel familiar, as there is plenty of fast paced moments where the drums pummel away at the listeners while the guitars twist and turn over the rest of the sound. But Catuvolcus also spends plenty of time dropping back into some mellower ideas and drawing the listener in before hitting them with some much louder ideas. “La Colline De Chanturges” is one of my personal favorites on the effort, as it starts off with an intriguing clean guitar melody before launching into galloping riffs that establish a battle-charged atmosphere. There are plenty of stunning moments like this throughout the album, and if you’re a fan of this style this group certainly does it justice.

In terms of atmospheric folk/black metal there are bands that write more epic/atmospheric arrangements than Catuvolcus but they do come close to this same level and have focused their material around a part of history that isn’t as widespread in metal. There is further room for the group to continue exploring their combination of harsh and mellow arrangements, and I’d personally like it if they were able to incorporate even more clean singing. But Gergovia is still a worthy effort that accomplishes a lot and should get this band to start turning some heads.

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