Aran Angmar band

Black Cosmic Elements, a first success for Aran Angmar

To end the year on a high note, I offer you a review of one of my favourites of 2021, Black Cosmic Elements, the first album by Aran Angmar.

Black Cosmic Elements was released last spring with the French label Time Tombs Production. So it’s not really a novelty, but if you missed it, I could only advise you to spend some time on it.

This is the debut album by Aran Angmar, a black/death metal trio that came alive during 2019. The band members are no strangers to the metal scene: the vocal parts and some of the bass parts are recorded by Lord Abagor, who officiates in Saille and whom I discovered in Dunkelnacht a few years ago; on drums we find Michiel Van Der Plicht, who also plays drums for Pestilence and who we saw on stage with Carach Angren; as for Maahes, he took care of the guitars and bass, as well as of the production of the album in cooperation with Roberto Priori.

Aran Angmar

Recorded in Bologna, Italy, Black Cosmic Elements is a rather short album as it contains only seven tracks for about thirty minutes of music. However, the format is perfectly adapted to discover the band and if, like me, you’re not used to black metal, you won’t have time to get bored, just to appreciate it. For my part, I got a slap in the face from the first listen, immediately transported by the melo-dark universe of Aran Angmar. The album starts strong from the beginning with Sovereign which jumps out at you from the first seconds. This track will remain my favourite even after several months of listening. In the middle of the album, Portals To The Universe is a two-minute instrumental interlude that marks a small and quiet pause before picking up a steady pace on the last two excellent tracks: The Scion and Black Cosmic Elements.

Black Cosmic Elements

In terms of sound, Black Cosmic Elements is a quality record that seems to have been worked on in detail. It’s clean and distinct, each instrument is highlighted, in short nothing pollutes the listening of Aran Angmar‘s occult melodies. Giuseppe Orlando is to be congratulated for the mix and the mastering.

Among the influences of this album, we can mention Dissection, Mayhem or Dark Funeral. Aran Angmar offers a very melodic black/death metal that makes it accessible to a large audience while satisfying the regular fans of the genre. Lord Abagor‘s voice is immediately recognisable and is a perfect match for Maahes‘ fat guitars and Michiel Van Der Plicht‘s many blast beats.

Black Cosmic Elements is therefore one of my nuggets of the year 2021. Aran Angmar has built its own universe through the seven tracks that make up the album. A promising project to keep an eye on.

Enough talking, it’s time to listen. Hold on tight and enjoy!


Persona

Animal, the mutation of Persona

Persona makes a surprising comeback at the end of the year with a third album entitled Animal. I had the opportunity to discover it a few days before its release on Saturday 23 October.

Animal, first impressions

Having in mind the first hits of the band like Blinded or Forgotten, it took me a little while to convince myself that I was indeed listening to Persona.

 The band takes a 180 degree turn here and offers on this new opus more modern and aggressive sounds than on the two previous albums, Elusive Reflections (2016) and Metamorphosis (2017). In October 2020 we already discovered a first single, “Alpha”, which announced the return of Persona in great shape with a brand new rhythm section and the desire to take a new direction (an article on this subject is available here).

Looking at the cast of the album, one can assume that the collaboration with German producer Marco Meyer is not totally unrelated to the new style adopted by Persona. While most of the lyrics are still written by singer Jelena Dobric, the music is mainly shared between Marco Meyer and the band’s new drummer, Simon Schröder (who also writes the lyrics for a few tracks).

Persona

What about this new Persona ?

Surprising, yes, but not disappointing. After the frustration of not finding the melodic or even symphonic universe of the old days, one can quickly embark on the wild journey offered by Animal. Ten tracks for forty minutes of music is, in my opinion, the ideal format to enjoy it without going overboard. The album starts with samples reminding us of the prison universe already exploited in the music-video of Alpha. The melodic guitar solos of the previous albums are gone, here it’s more a sequence of electro samples and jerky riffs flirting with death metal, mixed with catchy choruses like on Hurricane or Shout Out Loud. The middle of the album is marked by the masterpiece Shadows, a magnificent ballad of almost six minutes, all in softness which contrasts completely with the rest of the album. The music is subtle and understated, leaving us almost alone with Jelena’s beautiful voice. This track is a real treat from the first listen. My other favourites were You Can’t Stop Me and Oracle for their groovy-funky side, and the dynamic and effective Alpha which had already caught my attention when it was released last year. I had a bit more trouble with Animals, without hating it, but maybe it is too modern for me. At the very end of the album, I let myself be bewitched by Swallow The Night which is worth the diversions just for its mystical atmosphere, one could think of walking through a dark magic shop.

Listening to this new album, I quickly had Amaranthe in mind, even if I don’t know much about the band (but I promise, I’ll get into it soon). To the Swedish fans who will read this review, what do you think ?

A second video was released last week for Ghost, the very first track on the album.

After a four-year absence and a move from Tunisia to Germany, Persona has simply matured. We can indeed feel a desire to take the next step, to take it up a notch. Growls has taken an important place in Jelena’s vocals, perhaps too much for the fans of the first hour, and the music has become more aggressive. What is certain is that the band has managed to renew itself and take risks. It remains to be seen what the new Persona will do on stage. If the setlist mixes tracks from all three albums, it promises to be quite a great moment of diversity !

 

Line-up:
Jelena Dobric – Vocals
Melik Melek Khelifa – Guitars
Yosri Ouada – Guitars
Eike H. Nehen – Bass
Simon Schröder – Drums

Persona

Montserrat

Montserrat « Plymouth Under Ashes »

At the beginning of the month, I received an email from M&O Music about a rather original band: Montserrat. Montserrat, what is it? The instigator of the project comes straight from Plymouth in the Caribbean which was devastated by a volcanic eruption in 1997. Deeply affected by this catastrophe, the child became a man and decided to put music on his feelings. Helped by a session singer, this is how Montserrat’s first EP, Plymouth Under Ashes, was born.

Montserrat

Opening the presskit I read “Extreme Caribbean Music”. Without hesitating, I am already prepared: a piña colada in my hand and a deckchair in my garden (because you know, no beach nearby). So, I start this EP of three tracks Plymouth Under Ashes and I am transported, during the intro, on a Caribbean beach thanks to the exotic percussions. Then BAM, I hear big visceral screams and my piña colada, and I find ourselves in the middle of a pit.

More seriously, overall, I think that Montserrat has a real concept which needs to be dug into. This mixture of extreme metal and exotic rhythms could be hell of an original sound identity. Even if I quite liked the concept Plymouth Under Ashes has its flaws, a few small missteps that are however quite normal in the context of a first EP. The songs sometimes lack links between their different parts, the transitions are a bit abrupt between the rhythmic variations.

In general, I have found the EP very nice, it is a good start for a first production, but it lacks explosion, violence. On several occasions, I was waiting for this explosion and preparing myself to break everything, but it never came. After the rise of energy, the song goes calm again and we almost return to an “intro situation” regarding the rhythm. For an EP that is about a natural disaster, here a volcanic eruption, I would have expected something either more violent in rhythmic terms, or more representative of the desolation caused by such an event.

My favourite track is Plymouth under Ashes, the first title of the EP because I find the sound identity interesting, and I think the band should work more on this mix of exotic sounds and extreme metal. Montserrat offers an innovative concept with a true story behind it, and they have everything to gain by going all for this crossed exotic/metal identity.

In short, if you want to discover and give a chance to a band that is just starting to unfold, I recommend you have a look at Montserrat’s first EP Plymouth Under Ashes and keep an eye on their future productions.

Wanna learn more about Montserrat ?

You can find them on Facebook and Bandcamp !

More about M&O Music ?

Let’s have a look at their official website !


Aran Angmar band

Explicit Human Porn comes out of the shadows with "In Excexx"

First steps …

Explicit Human Porn is a quartet with drum, bass, guitar and vocals that I would classify in the modern metal category. The band started to make itself known at the beginning of this year 2020, notably with the release of their first title in lyrics video : « Radiosilk ». Initially announced for March 4 in 2020, the band had to fight several weeks with censorship before the video was finally published on YouTube.

In Exexx

The first EP, « In Excexx », will be released on September 9, and I was lucky enough to be able to listen to it in preview. Explicit Human Porn is a band that I would qualify as generous since with « In Excexx » they offer us an EP not of four or five tracks but rather of seven tracks! And it is indeed seven real tracks (no intro, outro, etc.), for a total of a little more than 30 minutes of music. That’s enough to get an idea of the direction the band is taking. It is easy to let the whole tracks go by without getting bored. The digipack cover is neat, with a small booklet containing the lyrics inside. It’s simple, clean, and it’s just enough. I would say that it reflects what we expect when we press the “play” button : simplicity and efficiency.

Many times we shake our head up and down to the rhythm of the big jerky riffs led by the trio guitar (David Revan), bass (Crypp Mor), drums (Kevin Lanssen). The singer, Lowe North, alternates clean vocals and scream brilliantly and sometimes reminds me Cristina Scabbia’s voice (Lacuna Coil).

In terms of sound, it seems that nothing was left to chance. A first quality EP with clear and distinct sounds, pleasant to listen to… And to listen again at the first opportunity.

Digipack In Exxess - Explicit Human Porn

My favorite track comes in sixth position: « Madmeds ». I would not know how to explain why this one in particular, anyway, I can play the EP in any order, each time on this track something happens. The melody of the chorus remains in the head, it grooves, it takes to the guts, in short it’s my favorite part of this EP (and there is a nice slap passage on the bass).

The record ends with a cover of a very famous German industrial metal band (which I won’t tell to leave a bit of suspense, but you’ve certainly already guessed who I’m talking about…). I admit that when I saw the title on the cover I was a bit apprehensive, being rather a fan of the famous German band. I was finally very pleasantly surprised when I listened to it. EHP succeeded in the bet to cover a very famous track without distorting it but adding its own personality, and that’s a good job !

I wouldn’t say that this EP is for the fans of this or that band or even this or that style because it seems to me that Explicit Human Porn has managed to find a style of its own and accessible to a large audience. I think that In Exxess is simply open to all listeners who want to groove and get their brains shaken a bit.

To sum up, I am still won over by this first opus, « In Excexx ». The current health crisis has unfortunately postponed the band’s first dates but it is only postponed, we hope to be able to discover them quickly on stage.

PS: An interview with the bassist, Crypp Mor, recently appeared in Metal Overload. Available here.

PPS : Following new collaborations, the release of the EP “In Excexx” is finally postponed to a later date.


To follow Explicit Human Porn :


Aran Angmar band

Carach Angren puts us into a new nightmare

The Dutch horror black metal band is releasing their new album: Franckensteina Strataemontanus, an opus which preserves all the recipes of the previous albums while bringing new blood.

The album mixed by Robert Carranza (Marilyn Manson) opens with an almost religious intro. The listener is directly immersed into the atmosphere as Carach has always done so well over the course of their albums, with an often exacerbated but never “too much” theatricality.

The unique atmosphere created by the choirs and the keyboards in “Here In German Woodland” therefore opens the hostilities.

Without transition, the drummer Namtar continues on its double pedal with the title “Scourged Ghoul Undead”, which will delight fans of a more “raw” Carach Angren. Remember that Namtar is now replaced by Michiel van der Plicht (God Dethroned). In this song, we are even entitled to deliberately dissonant parts of the flute.

The eponymous title which comes in third place, is without any doubt the song with the biggest industrial metal influence. The throbbing piano adds a chilling effect to this song however it is much less complex in its structure than the others.

Without the characteristic voice of Seregor, one could think that they are listening to the latest single from “Ghost” while listening to the title “The Necromancer”. A title which has the merit of breaking the monotony that risks settling down when we approach a style as precise as that of the Dutch band.

In “Sewn for Solitude”, the violin strongly recalls the classical era: it looks like a ball where Mozart himself would have taken possession of the piano. The song is emotionally very strong and the feeling of loneliness is obvious, thanks to the chromatic descents in particular.

“Operation Compass” is quite close to what the band has already done in the past, this time with a typically death metal voice.

“Monster”, the song dedicated to Frankenstein but also more generally to all monsters, brings the Marilyn Manson influence to its climax. We can feel in Seregor’s voice all the horror and terror of the monster who becomes aware of himself.

The album continues with “Der Vampir von Nürnberg”, which strongly recalls certain titles from the album Lammendam (2008). Carach Angren explains here the story of the necrophile who dug up women to open their throats and drink their blood. The classic influence we mentioned in the title “Sewn for Solitude” is back her but this time more in the romantic period, especially in a very effective transition.

“Skull with a Forked Tongue” is a good example for those who love guitars. The guitar playing is indeed agile in addition to being very precise. A short solo, the only one on the album, even appears there.

“Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam”, the last song on the album (not counting the bonus track “Frederick’s Experiments”) is much quieter than the others and concludes this album by setting an atmosphere worthy of a Tim Burton movie.

Aran Angmar band

Frankensteina Strataemontanus is a “total work of art”, as Wagner would have said. Carach Angren’s music has this almost magical characteristic of “giving the viewer to see” something that he can only hear, by immersing him into a narration and a particular atmosphere. The Dutch use recipes that work (very creepy samples, piano and shrill violin, quasi-opera orchestrations, etc.) while incorporating industrial metal influences and a wide variety of vocals.

I admit being a difficult listener: I rarely like an album the first time I listen to it, but it immediately won me over. My only little regret concerns the mix, which in my opinion lacks depth, for a music which, however, asks a lot. Maybe more … And it’s an impression that runs through the entire album.

We recognize the typical style of Carach Angren, but even after six albums, they still manage to innovate, retaining the symphonic black base while sliding industrial influences. Frankensteina Strataemontanus is a gut-wrenching album. And despite the difficulty of staying at the top after albums as successful as “Lammendam” or “Where the Corpse Sinks Forever” for example, Carach Angren manages to show that the reaper is still there!

Valentine Cordier


Aran Angmar band

Asylum Pyre : Join the Resistance !

Asylum Pyre is one of those bands that do not leave one indifferent and that one has little difficulty in remembering.Discovered for my part two years ago during their only gig in the North of France, I remember being impressed by their ability to take over the place and captivate the audience. From the very first seconds of the show, the band pours a breathtaking energy throughout the venue, without ever letting up, and the more the tracks come and go, the more you ask for more. The same goes for their fourth album, simply entitled N°4, released a little over a year ago by M & O Music.
N°4 is a concept album that propels us in 2052 into a devastated world. Each member of the group represents a character from an association of resistance fighters, defenders of Mother Nature. The album tells us their story, their struggle. The introduction sounds like the first page of a book that opens gently, we feel that it’s the calm before the storm. With its rhyme-like allure, this first track allows us very quickly to get acquainted with the two main voices of this album. This is the first opus with the singer Ombeline Duprat, alias Oxy Hart. With the eleven tracks that follow, we’re tossed between very powerful tracks like Dearth, Lady Ivy or The Right to Pain, and other little sweets like Into the Wild or On First Earth (which was recently published with a “lockdown video”). Two singles were released shortly before the album: Sex, Drugs and Scars with a Lyrics video, with the participation of Beast In Black singer Yannis Papadopoulos, and One Day with a video clip worthy of the biggest productions where we can discover the different characters embodied by the band members.

Musically, this album is full of surprises. On the drums, forget the blast beats, it’s with groovy patterns that we kick your ass. The bass is very present and gives all the depth to the sound, while giving a nice little solo part on One Day. Guitars want clearly be incisive with heavy distorsion, with a special mention for Lady Ivy’s smashing debut. The solos are played by Nils Courbaron (Sirenia, T.A.N.K). The whole is enhanced by numerous synth sounds which give a modern electro side to the album. As far as the vocals are concerned, Oxy reveals here the extent of its capacities. We feel at ease as well on calm and laid down parts where we almost have the impression that she whispers in our ear, as on passages where she can let all her power burst, as on the after-solo of Lady Ivy. The male vocal parts are provided by Johann Cadot, guitarist, main composer and author, and the symbiosis between the two singers is remarkable.
The album ends on Cemetary Road, a nugget in my opinion, which once again allows us to appreciate the diversity of Oxy’s vocals and the work of nuances brought by the whole band.
To sum up, this N°4 is the album you need when you need a big musical slap in the face … But beware, future “Fighter”, when you’ll have pressed “Play”, you won’t be able to do without it.

Aran Angmar band

A few days ago I met virtually Ombeline, in Bosnia for the lockdown, and Johann. They tell us a bit more about the band and the upcoming projects.

Asylum Pyre is 10 years old! Johann, when you started the project, did you imagine it would go this far ?

J. It was never really thought through, I never even thought about having a band when it happened. They were just people I met a few times by chance, we made a jam one day, and then we brought a composition, we found a name, we made a demo … Today we’re almost thinking about the next album while we’re recording the current one, but at the beginning we didn’t know what we were doing, where we were going… we didn’t know how to play… [lol]

If you had to do it all over again, would you do it all the same way ? What would you want to change ?

J. I think I’d work a little more on the theory and the instrument before I get started. There have been a lot of mistakes in the history of the band. Some people’s choices were not the right ones at a certain time, some behaviours were not the right ones either, including me. Taking a step back, trying to be more confident at some times… I don’t have the answer, actually. Apart from an album that we should have stopped during the recording process, rested and started again from the beginning (Spirited Away), the rest was the natural evolution of things.

I would have liked the first bassist, Julien, could have stayed in the band. I love the members of the band today, I don’t have any problem, on the contrary, but it’s true that he’s someone with whom we built the band and who brought something else to the project, someone interesting, and I regret to have lost this contact. I’d like to have him too but I wouldn’t take any of him away from the current team.

Ombeline, you joined the project quite recently, I believe it was two or three years ago ?

O. Even more so now, at the end of 2016. It’s getting old! I do feel like it was two years ago, but it’s going to be four years this year. Johann was just starting to make the No. 4 demo when we met.

What made you want to join the band? How did it happen: was it you who positioned yourself or did the group come to you?

O. It was a recommendation. I already knew Asylum, I had seen the band play before and I was very happy when Johann contacted me. It was a friend, Steve, well known in the Parisian metal scene, who told Johann to contact me when he was looking for a singer. One day, I was at work and I got a message from Johann: “Hello, I’d like to talk to you” [lol]. Then I had an audition. That day, when I left Johann’s home, I clearly sulked, I wasn’t happy at all. It must be said that Johann has a rather special way of auditioning. I arrived at his home and he introduced me to the new songs. He gave me one of them and said “OK, sing ! ». It happened pretty much like that. I think we were together for at least two or three hours and I left without even saying goodbye [lol]. It wasn’t against him it was to me, I really thought I wasn’t being good enough.

You have a great team with you, can you tell us a little bit about the other musicians ?

J. No … [lol]

O. We love them very much, we miss them very much.

J. Actually the oldest in the band after me is Thomas, who arrived 7-8 months before Ombeline, when we were preparing the two tours with Stream of Passion and Luca Turilli. He’s an excellent drummer who brings a touch of rock and a lot of groove to the music.

O. And tribal, a touch of rock and tribal I would say.

J. He really brings something interesting to Asylum. In fact, it’s from one of his drum patterns that we reviewed almost all the copy on Dearth that became what it is today. In the beginning there was something we weren’t happy with. We reviewed some passages with Thomas, and then the chorus and some passages with Ombeline, and finally the song has nothing to do with its first version.

Then there’s our friend P.E. on bass… Then on bass and now on guitar, because he came first as a bass player, then he left, and he came back. He had to leave because of personal problems, we weren’t angry, he didn’t have time. And finally he had time again and he came back as a guitarist, which was a big surprise. We reinstated him and we are very happy to have him back. He’s got a lot of experience, he was in a band called Heavenly, which is very well known by Power Metal fans, he toured a lot with Stratovarius for example, or Edguy at the time. Excellent musician too.

And the last one, Fab, otherwise known as “The Salmon”, who joined us since our little expedition to Slovenia for the MetalDays where he had just had to replace P.E on bass, and who has since joined us as a proud bass player. Excellent musician, super nice too.

Aran Angmar band

What are you most proud of about Asylum Pyre? What do you think is your strength?

O. If I may say so, I can’t speak for the whole career of the band, but on a personal note, this is the last album and especially the fact that, for the one that’s coming up, we’ve all got to know each other. With N°4 we made a first try of each other’s influences, and Johann managed to appropriate and combine them while keeping the Asylum Pyre style. Sometimes when you have a composer, you recognize his own touch and that’s all, but Johann is very open to what we can bring. He includes all the ideas, we rework them, and that’s really nice. So there’s still Johann’s touch which we recognise perfectly as a songwriter and essentially as a composer, but there’s also, for instance, the slightly fusion, African rhythmic side of Thomas I was talking about earlier. Johann is very open about that and it’s a real pleasure to be able to have patterns … you know “Toum toukoutou koum” [Ombeline sings us a rhythm of African percussions … a real pleasure].

J. Indeed, I would say that I manage to mix everyone’s influences. I come from nowhere musically, I don’t have any base, I didn’t take any lessons, I started from scratch … As a very good friend who played in Asylum as a bass player said : ” To be where you are with what you know is incredible “. Maybe that’s the pride of the band, starting from nothing at all and with very few basics, to be able to do something nice and to have been able to make albums (especially the last one) that have a good face, to have been able to play last year in 1500 people venues with a warm welcome, that’s a real satisfaction for the band.

O. As a small aside, I bounce back on what Johann was saying, there’s also something very Franco-French where you have to have studied music etc.. You always have the impostor syndrome: because you won’t have done such a music class, you’ll be pointed out sometimes. For me it’s a question of listening, of assimilating what you’ve already been able to listen to, then of course there’s the part of talent that makes you know how to put things together. It’s also the role of Johann, the conductor, to manage to mix it all together.

With the album N°4 you brought a whole universe with stage outfits that are rather topical. Where did this concept come from ?

J. It’s an evolution since the beginning of the band. When you look at the lyrics from the beginning it was already a little bit about these things. Last year we made a history of what each album tells, and even if it wasn’t necessarily conscious, we realized that there was a natural evolution of the themes from the awareness to the near future, to a hypothesis of the more or less near future. And then there were exchanges, discussions on these subjects related to the environment, to the protection of the planet, which touched me a lot. We often talk about these things in the band, we can joke for a moment and then suddenly talk about politics or the future of the world. We never get bored as a topic of conversation. We talked a lot about that world, especially when we discussed the cover and what the lyrics said. So it’s kind of a long and common maturation.

O.That’s right, it also follows the evolution of society, more or less recent awareness. I was already aware of this before I joined the band, I was already militating for WWF in particular, so the themes Johann deals with are issues I’ve been aware of for about ten years or more. There’s an ecological awareness and to become part of the world, that’s the advantage of this album and also of the album to follow and the next ones, it’s that we follow our own paths. Concerning the mask and the fact that it was designed like that for the cover, we have a cynical spirit, we have to admit it. Not in the bad sense of the word, always criticizing everything, but rather putting things under observation, confronting them. I had seen that Louis Vuitton proposed masks in China with their acronym, and it’s quite interesting to see that this tool, which is not at all aesthetic, had finally become a fashion tool. It’s completely cynical when you look at the way they’re made, it’s toxic, it’s an ecological disaster, but you’re still on the fancy side and it corroborates exactly what we could say in the lyrics. There are always two-way messages, you can understand the lyrics in a detached way as if it was a story, but if you dig a bit deeper you have a lot of references to a lot of current things.

J. It’s true that the mask which is becoming a fashion accessory, we didn’t think it would come so quickly !

I heard that the next album is already well underway. What can you tell us about this one ?

J. It is very likely that there will be a part I and a part II because we already have a lot of initialized tracks. So even if we will certainly work on it again, there is at least the basis for about twenty tracks. We’re going to record them as two albums, but thematically it’s going to be closer, there’s the idea of having two parts. In terms of story, it’s going to be the continuation of what we did on N°4. In terms of music, there are still some evolutions, more tribal. We had fun coming up with a name for the band music style one day. As we couldn’t define our style, we used to say modern power metal, but that’s very short. So we said we were doing modern and traditional power speed electro pop metal with tribal touches. So it’s gonna be something like that.

Ombeline, on the album N°4 everything was already almost done when you arrived, this time is it you who will compose the vocal parts in their entirety ?

O. No, it’s Johann because he has much better ideas about singing than I do, if I have any suggestions of course I’ll let him know. I’m not bad at doing all the double vocals and the little arrangements because of my influences, but that’ll come afterwards.

J. There’s a real World touch that Ombeline brings on some passages.

O. And Jazz! That’s what Johann calls “Oxysing” the song. I have a background of saxophonist, so there’s necessarly some stuff that’s a bit… swinging! That’s my speciality.

J. There will be even more mixing than before, in fact, there will be a few small passages that will surprise people I think.

O. We’ll be able to say that we make some “bitching” music again.

What are your ambitions for this new album, and more generally, for the band in the next few years ?

O. Logically of course it would be to be able to promote the album. Then I think what we need to mature on are the stage elements, to reinforce the visuals that have already been developed. It’s not for everyone, you have to be able to think about things graphically, you have to have an idea of the scenography, and when it’s not your job, it’s not always easy to envisage it.

J. For the moment we don’t really know when the concerts will be able to come back. We’ve got a number of shows that have been cancelled, we’ve got one in England normally in September but there’s a big risk that it will be cancelled too. So it’s complicated today to have this kind of visibility, unfortunately.

O. I also think that as far as Asylum is concerned, we should try to use the new media tools. As Johann said, we don’t know when the concerts will start again, and we should take advantage of this time to better position ourselves from a digital point of view. This can also be part of the band’s projects.

Has this period of confinement allowed you to achieve things that you had left aside before, for Asylum Pyre and/or for other projects ?

J. Many things yes… tidy up, first ! And personally I’ve progressed on a lot of projects, so now I have 5-6 albums just waiting to be recorded and arranged.

O. Only ?

J. Yes, I speak for those who are finished.

O. I was a little disappointed, actually.

J. No, or there’s 17 of them! I’m only counting songs that are pretty much structured, if you add all the ideas, things where there are only bits or a chorus, you can multiply by two. What about you Ombeline?

O. It was nice to finally be able to settle down and do little things, even if it was only to review the demos, everything that has already been done, etc. It was a great feeling to finally be able to settle down and do little things. I usually run out of time. And next to the band, I have projects of series. I was finally able to settle down, and fortunately I had taken my cameras before leaving, I take advantage of being in Bosnia to be able to shoot what I had in mind. Finally it’s time to win on the sequel, when we’ll have to go back to work full time. I also had a web series project on Bosnia on which we’ve made really good progress. And I updated my site, a lot of little things. It’s been profitable for that.

We all tidied up around us eventually…

O. Yes from a physical and mental point of view as well!

It’s allowed us to re-focus, to realise the little things that we tend to forget, especially in the Paris region I think. In the end you get attached to things that are far too material, comparisons with others. Yesterday it was stormy, I was in bed and I was thinking to myself “that’s really the ultimate happiness” when you can start to fall asleep with the storm and the rain, what more do you need! It’s the kind of thing when you’re in too much turmoil, especially in Paris, you end up not even appreciating it anymore, you don’t even realize you have it around you. The fact that things are going a bit slower, at least on my side, has allowed a kind of refocusing that was absolutely necessary.

J. I quite agree with what you’re saying here, and it reminds me of a pun that I read not long ago: « Je ne veux pas revenir à l’anormal »  [« I don’t want to go back to the abnormal » in English] and that’s a bit like that. When I saw the people in the streets, all the cars, I said to myself « no, I don’t want to go back to that ».

Thank you very much for answering these few questions. We look forward to listen your fifth album and to see you on stage again. Any last words to conclude?

O. I used to say “stay curious”. We used to talk about the positive effects of being in lockdown, at least for those who were lucky enough not to have sick relatives, there’s the fact that they’ve been able to discover things. Of course some people got bored, but most of them started to learn a new language, or to get back to an instrument. So: let’s try to ensure that what we were able to learn during the lockdown can continue, let’s remain curious.

J. No better !


Photos : Alban Verneret

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Aran Angmar band

Poncharello releases a mind-blowing fourth album

The Lille rock band releases (or rather, balances!) its fourth record: “Four Wheel Overdrive”. And to say the least, it’s moving! Recorded, mixed and mastered by Olivier T’Servrancx on the label Antitune Records, the six tracks of “rock’n’roll supersonic” are very fluid, in a coherent set of rock’n’roll mixed with punk sprinkled with stoner, all quite energetic, although not enough to my liking. The titles continue without allowing time for my ears to rest.

The opus opens with the eponymous title. 1 minute 15 of amuse-bouche, since the title, without vocal part, sets the tone of what will follow: a determined and precise music. I can’t wait to find out what’s next!

Follow Question Mark, a very catchy title that immediately makes you want to move. The vocal parts, very soft, move away from the codes of punk to marry a rock no more traditional roll. At this point in my listening, I think, “why not?”. The structure of the song is surprising, even unexpected, but no part stands out from the others, which gives the end a nice title, without any more.

Pop arrives a little further. Am I listening to Rage Against The Machine? The intro starts super well. Then comes the voice. And here is the disaster. The whole atmosphere of the song falls. And it will never come back. What I originally thought was an original feature that would upset a punk style too “seen and reviewed” turns out to have the counter-productive effect of breaking the energy of the songs. This can be seen positively, as a bold approach to style, but this is not my opinion. Perhaps this is the weak point of Poncharello.

Give It Back smells like the Sum 41 at their debut. No luck, I don’t like Sum 41 at all. A merit however: it is a softer title to bring towards the end of the opus, which I hope will be as good and energetic as its beginning …

Disappointment with Master, title that lets us imagine a punk title claimant. We started on a strange mix of stoner and Ghost (especially on the chorus).

Aran Angmar band

A half-tinged listening

Poncharello’s compositions are not very complex, but overall everything works, between energy and aggressiveness. To make it simple, Poncharello uses the recipes of punk by adapting them to their sauce to make it something original, with its own identity. The very clean production (for punk!) goes perfectly with the style of the band. My disappointment comes more from the song and the “inabouti” aspect of this record.

In summary, “Four Wheel Overdrive” is a record that starts much better than it ends. I would have liked more nervousness for a band that calls its music “rock n’roll supersonic”. The record is finally quite confusing (in the positive sense of the term), since we oscillate between the Sum 41 and the Tagada Jones (if we really had to make a comparison).

In 15 years of existence, the band has shared the boards with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Fatso Jetson, Peter Pan Speedrock, The Bronx, Burning Heads, Parabellum, Les Wampas, or Mademoiselle K. A nice CV, so!

Poncharello is clean and dirty rock at the same time. It is still a good discovery, but I came out of listening to this fourth album with a taste of too little.

“Four wheel overdrive” can be heard here!

Valentine Cordier

 

Photo de couverture : (c) Alain Vandeville ; www.alainvandeville.com


ORANSSI PAZUZU – "Mestarin Kynsi": mechanical dystopia

Once again, for this 5th album, Oranssi Pazuzu takes us on a dark and psychedelic trip. Each part is fueled with a tense atmosphere and a black energy. Believe it or not a tempestuous spell has been cast and you might be stuck with it for a while . The Finns have pushed the genre (ed: metal) to its limits, mixing elements of prog rock, and especialy its subgenre : krautrock, with futuristic soundscapes to create their own style. But this time, they have also incorporated a big deal of electro influences. Thus, the quintet has gone deeper into the sound experimentations that defined them by building complex musical structures each listener has no choice but to bow to. 

Aran Angmar band

ORANSSI PAZUZU – "Mestarin Kynsi" TRACKLIST:

  1. Ilmestys 07:14
  2. Tyhjyyden Sakrame 09:19
  3. Uusi Teknokratia 10:20
  4. Oikeamielisten sali 08:12
  5. Kuulen Ääniä Maan 07:14
  6. Taivaan Portti 08:06

One can imagine reviewing such an intense listening is not an easy thing unless you just let your mind go.
Starting off with the mesmerizing and haunting « Illmestys » that makes us floating in the air, balanced by repetitive rhythms just before the guttural-sharp-voice brings us back down to some cruel reality. Then, « Tyhjyyden Sakramenti » builds an evermore dystopian sound. The third song « Uusi Teknokratia » seems to take place in an oniric place (in my eyes, this track would perfectly fit the science-fi movie “La Planète Sauvage” by René Laloux) but the dream won’t last long and shortly after we’re plunged into a chaotic mechanical hysteria. Speaking of « mechanical », the videoclip is a beautiful homage to German Expressionism and in particular the dystopian “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang.  « Oikeamielisten Sali » continues in this way, a dissonant violin gives rise to a profound anxiety. Followed by « Kuulen Ääniä Maan Alta » that starts with a continual hubbub evoking the endless horns honking in a busy city. The song is constructed by layers upon layers and the buzzing saxo makes it hypnotical. At the end, a melancholic synth broadens the cinematographic vibe. Ending with, as a grand finale, « Taivaan Portti » and its brutal and heavy beginning that slowly calm down as an organized chaos.

In its whole composition, « Mestarin Kynsi » is an haunted dream. It is in the same way thrilling and asphyxiating. I can’t help but think about “Magic Realism” to describe the feeling, because what we see is uncanny, yet familiar but also strange. Clearly, the band has a visceral and conceptual approach, but still, it comes from the heart, and what we’re listening to is purely authentic. I won’t developp any further on the mastering because I had the chance to see the band perform live a few years ago and the organic vibe can’t be felt the same way on CD. The further the band is growing, the more it gets famous, « Mestarin Kynsi » will be released the 17th of April by the geant Nuclear Blast.

The band will be playing live on the 3rd of October at the Magasin 4, Bruxelles (Facebook event).

Aran Angmar band

Aran Angmar band

The Lucky Trolls : their first EP

We found the treasure of a Belgian leprechaun and he was in Liège!

Let’s start at the beginning: the cover, sober and efficient with its catchy slogan: “Irish Punk From Liège”. The logo perfectly reflects the style of the band both in terms of colors and design with its Celtic shapes and the clover in the center. No risk of bad surprises during the listening!

The music is catchy and will not leave you unmoved. You will be taken by the desire to get up, to create a pogo by dancing the jig! Several members put their voices on those songs which brings a presence and an effect of cohesion: everybody touches everything and is not limited to a single role. It is therefore impossible in my opinion except for some instruments to say “He’s the guitarist, he’s the singer, she …” and so we have the impression to see / hear a group more than some people precisely. Finally, the song perfectly matches the punk side and the use of instruments such as flute, bagpipe and violin bring the Irish side of this style of music.

Do you like what you hear? So go see them live because on stage it’s even better than on CD! Their overflowing energy can contaminate you without even paying attention to it. Impossible to see them stay on the spot and we even come sometimes to worry about their health.
For the little anecdote, at the last concert where I saw them, the bassist jumped so much that the scene was shaking, moving all their equipment and one of the guitarists, jumping too, has almost fallen … Fortunately that it was only 30 cm high! In conclusion: pity that the album has only 4 tracks because we would have enjoyed more than twenty without tiring!


Review Oldd WVRMS

Review of Codex Tenebris by Oldd Wvrms

Review Oldd WVRMS

Track list:

  1. Ténèbres
  2. A l’or, aux ombres et aux abîmes
  3. Misère & Corde
  4. La vallée des tombes
  5. Fléau est son âme

Want to buy Codex Tenebris ?


Codex Tenebris is the name of the new EP of the Belgian band Oldd Wvrms.

First, the name of the album fits very well because the song are indeed imbued with darkness, heaviness. Throughout the listening you feel the “darkness” that weights on you and lurks in the shadow.

Musically speaking, it’s very good. During an interview, the members of the band explained to me that they had chosen to stop singing, which in their opinion served the music. I have also listened to their previous two opus “Ignobilis” and “Ritae” and I can agree that stopping to sing was not a bad idea.

To continue the “comparison” between their three albums, I would say that I love them all as much as the others but for different reasons. No matter which one you choose, Oldd Wvrms’ leitmotiv remains the same, do things thoroughly, cleanly and correctly and you feel it.

To sum things up, if you love local quality products, Codex Tenebris is for you. If like me, you like to travel, to be transported to the depths of your soul when you listen to music, you must absolutely listen to Codew Tenebris but also to the rest of Oldd Wvrms’ discography.