Monday, 27 March 2017

Vapeur – l’Indifférence (2017)


Dans les vapeurs de vos cris?

Le projet montréalais Vapeur lance cette semaine sa deuxième galette et c’est certainement celle qui va révéler le quatuor rock à un plus large public par sa production sonore aboutie et sa foudroyante pochette armée de couleurs vives et psychédéliques. Après « L’effort » sorti en mai 2016, les garçons sont de retour avec «L'indifférence », un effort résolument plus ancré dans le punk et le groove. Tout comme les trucs fuckés sur la couverture, la qualité est au rendez-vous.

Les ambiances sont variées chez Vapeur. Il a presque autant d'ingrédients sonores que de choix de condiments pour tes hot dog vapeur d'après brosse. Nous pouvons passer du glam rock à tendances hard au rock garage incorporant aussi bien les influences de Malajube que des Américains de The Strokes (leur leader étant même honoré par le titre de la quatrième pièce :« Casablancasse-toi ») et au punk rock à ambiance feutrée.. Nous entendons également de profondes racines pop rock qui fait du EP un explosif mélange nourri de mélodies accrocheuses assumées. Malgré tout cela, le talent principal du groupe est de faire un rock francophone ayant comme acteur principal les guitares électriques. C’est quelque chose de rare dans le paysage rock québécois qui, ces temps-ci, nous sert des plats atmosphériques et planants (outre bien sur le son boosté de Galaxie) et c’est intensément rafraîchissant.

Les textes d’Andrew Duquette-Boyte évoquent des images pleines de folie nostalgique et sa livraison vocale délibérément fracassante convient parfaitement aux riffs de guitares acérés que Vapeur nous livre à la tonne. Ces jeunes hommes fringants nous prouvent que le rock en Français peut réellement fonctionner et frapper fort et j’en demande plus. Vaporise-moi.

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Un beau 8.5 hot dog vapeur sur 10

Friday, 24 March 2017

Cardinal Wyrm – Cast Away Souls (2016) / 80%

Twisted and original doom

The Bay Area trio’s third album reaffirms the band's status as an odd beast in the doom metal world. With this style of metal, it's often easy to pinpoint the influences of a particular band. It's usually Black Sabbath, Pentagram or Candlemass or a combination and mixtures of various slow to mid-paced ingredients. With Cardinal Wyrm, things are different and odd. While they're apparently keeping things in the traditional realm, their sound is original and transcends classification and borders.

As a pseudo doom specialist/connoisseur, I kept trying to find similar bands to them but to no avail. Like their fellow American doom bands of Yob or SubRosa, they managed to blend several elements, innovate and ultimately come up with a fresh and vivid sound. The nearest comparison I came up with is the striking might of Celtic Frost’s Monotheist/Triptykon with the atmospheric sadness of My Dying Bride. This might even be a stretch but it shows how far Cardinal Wyrm goes. It’s an otherworldly version of Gothic doom transformed by the will and the powerful force of an ancient one.

Compared to their previous album, Cast Away Souls is a bit shorter and this was a good decision as one hour albums are often too long regardless of their quality. The six extended tracks record is tight, varied and explore different moods throughout an apparent simplicity and ultra heavy riffs.

Pranjal Tiwari’s vocals are cleans but also quite idiosyncratic in a military kind of way. Since he’s also the drummer, there’s a necessary connection between the vocals and the percussion and it creates some weird rhythms adding to the peculiarity of the band. The addition of Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune...) can be heard through some harsh vocals and cleans as well but the band principally evolves as a duo (Leila plays the bass live.) Despite this, the sound is full and doesn’t lack anything. The music is quite complex but that’s not something automatically noticeable. You need to look for the hidden details underneath the heavy, repetitive and intricate guitar playing of Nathan Verrill.

While it’s not always fully memorable, Cast Away Souls is a strong record full of twists and turns. Like Realmbuilder does for epic heavy metal, Cardinal Wyrm plays their doom in a vacuum. It’s like they brought their instruments to Mars and composed their songs with the distant memories of their influences. The obvious nods to outside forces were cast away (pun intended.) Svart Records has been releasing strong and progressive thinking material ever since their inception and this one is no exception. One of the most original doom bands around, this is refreshing to hear when there’s so many Electric Wizard copies around.


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Quayde LaHüe - Quayde LaHüe (2016)

Randy Quayde LaHüe

Behind this peculiar band name hides a solid traditional metal/rock band with a strong sense of originality and a take no prisoners approach. The band is quite elusive on the omnipotent internets outside of their Bandcamp page but let it be known that they share three of their members with the excellent Christian Mistress also from the Pacific Northwest area.

The comparisons between the two bands being inevitable, I'll play the game. They're both fronted by women who have more in common the rough 80s days of heavy metal (see Acid or Détente) than anything with corsets released by Nuclear Blast or Century Media. The vox of Jenna Fitton have this natural way to charm you with how imperfect and cozy they are. She just rocks hard and it's truly fun to hear. It's just much more interesting than yet another diva who went to music school. They also evolve in the same nice but CM are more metallic. If you like the Christine Davis' band, you'll surely like this one as well. They like their music groovy, sad but hopeful and with a strong dark imagery.

The riffs of Diedrich and Wulf (not a German band, guys) are infectious and melodic in their lo-fi feel and their simplicity. They have good ears for hooks and catchy leads without turning the whole thing into a technical snooze fest. They worship Thin Lizzy and the rockier side of NWOBHM and you should too.

This twenty-five minutes release is also quite varied. Alternating from mid-paced quasi ballads ("Same Old Song") to melancholic riffier affairs like the opener "I Am Unworthy", Quayde LaHüe are keeping things slow, sad and loose. The production is tight though and it makes you feel like you're right there with the quintet in their rehearsal room. Sometimes modern heavy metal is a crunchier and heavier version of past oeuvres but this retains the same atmosphere as many bands from the formative days of the genre. Days where the line between rock and metal wasn't set in stone.

This first release is right there with Angel Sword, Legionnaire or Scalare as far as heavy metal is concerned. It's classic stuff with a distinctive and voluntarily amateurish sound that is miles ahead of their "well produced" peers catering to newcomers who just discovered Battle Beast. This is a super good EP, I can't wait to hear more stuff from this band.