French musician Antoine Guibert aka Le Démoniaque surprised me enormously with 2017’s album Le Démoniaque, which got released via one of my mostly appreciated labels from France, Hass Weg Productions, under the flag of Catacombes (which is French for - and now you smart-ass will be surprised - ‘catacombs’ indeed!). So, it did somehow please me when R. from Hass Weg Productions did send me a successor to that debut full length album a while ago. Accueille Le Diable (‘welcome the devil’) is not a full length, but a four-track EP, but so what?
The physical edition is a jewel-case compact disc, which comes with a simple four-page booklet, and which does include the lyrics (in French, so if you do not understand that language, then you’re f*cked; but believe me, for it is not about the vitamin-rich effect of early sunshine, colorful flowers in Spring, or the sweet caress of a morning breeze on some idyllic isle. …or whatever…). Haha… No, seriously, there are five-hundred copies on CD, which bring four new pieces. These ones were composed and registered in between Autumn 2017 and late Winter 2018 by Antoine with no exterior involvement at all. And before getting deeper into the aural aspect, I’d like to refer to the unusual artwork, which is a work from Egypt-born yet French painter Henri Eisenberg (and which refers to a Boursin commercial – not kidding – though it seems to be some kind of Camembert).
The opening composition Accueille-le (welcome him) actually starts quite cheesy (to remain within spheres of Boursin and Camembert) – no, actually, it does exhale a specific French thing, for the opening sequence gets performed, though quite briefly, with accordion (or pump organ?). But soon, things turn into a little nastier concept. Initially, this lengthy piece (with its duration of 7:25, it is the longest track on this EP) is pretty slow-paced, actually, and enormously melodious. Those lead melodies, twin-performed, come with an epic character, which surely reminds me of the Nineties. All this gets supported by a very decent rhythm section, consisting of rhythmic and pounding drums and pushing, supportive strings. And then those grim screams, well, aren’t they fine? They somehow have a specific DSBM-alike tangle – no, not those high-pitched, wretched and torturous shrieks, but connected to the more atmospheric and melancholic side of Depressive Metal. At almost half of the track, Accueille-le somehow erupts, trading the slow / mid-tempo speed into a fast, energetic one. Damn, the drum patterns somehow blast mercilessly. But the greatest thing is that, despite the enormous change in speed, that the basic melodies remain alike: epic, atmospheric and well-balanced. a few more changes in tempo appear, maintaining the very same fundaments.
Écoute-le (listen to him) starts thundering and barbaric immediately. Here too, the melodic-epic basement is like the spine of the whole song, giving the whole that victorious and glorious character. Listen to the trembling bass lines, which are remarkably prominent. This song is oh so forceful, full-force ahead, but still with that fine equilibrium with melody and atmosphere.
The opening consecution of Crains-le (fear him) is a twisted yet jolly thing: grooving battery, funky basses and thrashing guitars do follow each-other, resulting in a monstrous twin-led epic with an extremely Pagan / Viking-oriented attitude. The mesmerizing tremolo riffs accompany the listener to the glory days of Old, and so the disciple of the heinous path overwhelms its audience. Remarkable is the rhythmic groove that characterizes this impressive piece the whole of the time.
The final composition, Fuis-le (French for run away from him), breathes Sulphur, for it expresses the origins of Nordic supremacy in all its face(t)s. It’s a barbarian epos with a lot of changes in structure and tempo, and with inclusion of some specific, neo-progressive (whatever) excerpts. It’s the most decent way to end an EP like this one, for it adds the tradition of the Second Wave with more than just coincidental own-faced moments.
The production is extremely rough-edged, and it might sound silly, but even I think that this barbed-wired sound is oh so primal and primitive. I do like it, don’t get me wrong, but a little, tiny and Lilliputian better quality might lift up this mini-album towards even higher levels of blackened obscurity. But I am just looking for some negative details. Besides, the mix is, as mentioned before, extremely well-balanced. I mentioned the drums and the basses, but actually, the whole instrumental / vocal thing exists in a mostly satisfying equilibrium.
So open up a bottle for us, because tonight, you’ll welcome the devil…