Scaphandre are the brainchild of a Frenchmen who calls himself Spasme. He formed the project in 2011 and one year later, Scaphandre self-released two EP’s, one at the very beginning of that year and one at the end of 2012. I will review both of them. First this. Both of them were originally self-released, but now they will be re-issued via Misandreproductions.
Les Ancres, the first of both EP’s, has a total running time of forty six minutes (the four hymns last in between six and fourteen minutes), and was totally created by Spasme; he even took care of the artwork and photography of the release. The first pressing of the digipack pro-CD-r was originally released in an edition of 297 copies and comes with a sober yet, to my humble opinion, fabulous layout.
Les Ancres opens with Cortège, and almost immediately it brings a track like Gebrechlichkeit I (Burzum, Filosofem-album) to mind. After a couple of minutes, it is not that specific track anymore that penetrates my grey cells, yet the heritage of the early-Burzum-era remains for sure. The long-stretched, repetitive rhythms and riffs have a very pronounced comparability to the great essence once created by the likes of Burzum and same-minded entities. Reasons too are the sound and the vocals. When it comes to the first, well, the production is unpolished, rusty and raw, yet very tolerable (not of the cheap, almost insulting I-recorded-it-in-my-garage-in-five-minutes-kind). I do miss the presence of pronounced bass lines, but the drum parts, guitars and vocals are well done. Those vocals have the same semi-hysterical, high-throated vibe à la Varg V. during his earlier years. But the general approach of the opening track -and this goes for Trône, the second composition on Les Ancres, and the final one, called Anasarque, as well- is comparable to Burzum’s pre-jail era, yet probably slightly more focused on melancholy, depression and self-mutilation. Early Shining, early Mortifera, early Forgotten Tomb, Draugar, even Craft or Misery are not-that-strange comparisons. Besides those lengthy, somewhat repetitive and nihilistic melodies / rhythms, the (few) structural changes are of a necessary yet superior level.
With the title track, things differ a little, for this epic is less repetitive, somewhat faster, and much more intense and aggressive, yet without betraying the core of misanthropy, suicide and underground-passion.