LABEL: Independent
RELEASE: August 18th, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings

SANGUINE GLACIALIS albumrand01. Welcome
02. Immuration
03. Malevolent Creativity
04. Ars Moriendi
05. Resilience
06. Cauchemort
07. Rêveries Obsessives
08. Paracusia
09. Inadaptation
10. Burst In Flames
11. Resignation

An album badged as melodic death metal provided much more in the way of treats. A combination of genres is not unusual in the metal world today, with thousands of bands blending styles, in the never-ending race to the top. Can you bring something new to people’s attention?

Well, if you are intrigued by a magical combination of death, black and symphonic, with a bit of power metal thrown in for good measure, find your way to Montreal’s SANGUINE GLACIALIS, whose third album Maladaptive Dreaming is a real find. Apparently, the Canadians, who have been in existence for over a decade, have toured with some of the big guns such as Dark Tranquility, Carach Angren, Delain and Hammerfall. This is unsurprising when you listen to Maladaptive Dreaming, for the album is a finely tuned and polished release which benefits from a very impressive production.

It’s a heady ride from start to finish, with swirling, symphonic elements sweeping along the songs in dramatic style whilst the vocals of Maude Théberge flip between opera and death metal with such ease that one wonders at times if there are two singers involved. But no, only one, and this makes the album even more impressive.


Alongside Théberge, who also contributes the keyboards on this album, are guitarists Jonathan Fontaine and Alexandre Lépine, bassist Marc Gervais and drummer Jérémy Racine. Their contributions verge on the immense. With Racine’s drumming particularly noticeable, such is the power with which he drives the band forward. The guitar work is sharp and focused and the songs present in dramatic style. Even the grand finale Resignation is a flourishing mix of death growls, soaring symphonic parts and some dramatic passages of play.

At times, Maladaptive Dreaming switches into the kind of chaos that only The Diablo Swing Orchestra seem to deliver. At least here the intensity is more focused. Not that you’d know this when opening track Welcome kicks in. It’s a full-throttle explosion of sound that veers all over the place, like a runaway horse on the high street. From here, all hell breaks loose. Théberge’s first real operatic vocals appear on the track Malevolent Creativity, and they come as something of a surprise to the uninitiated. But they work in a chaotic, aural sensory overload kind of way, and whilst some may feel that this approach is a little too much, if you can get involved, then this is a release that might well provide you with surprises throughout.

Regardless of your taste, appreciating the quality of the musicianship is something that we can all do. The strings on Cauchemort bring a new element, whilst the longest song Paracusia is an exercise in the dramatic. Almost cinematic in score, it’s undoubtedly one of the most creative and free-flowing songs on the album.

The combination of styles won’t be for everyone, and it’s an unusual combination. Yet, as I said at the start, getting fully into this release could reap the rewards. It certainly is one that I found a real joy to review.