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Zoviet France - Shouting At The Ground  CD (album) cover

SHOUTING AT THE GROUND

Zoviet France

 

Progressive Electronic

4.82 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dobermensch
5 stars With no chorus or verse, no guitars or bass, no drums, no keyboards and very few vocals you'll be wondering why on earth this can possibly deserve 5 stars.

Quite frankly this is one of my top five albums of all time and I'm delighted to find Zoviet France finally added to the Archives. Describing them is going to be mighty hard work - but considering I've reviewed so many prog albums some may find an affiliation and understanding with me due to the fact that I'm more than familiar with most prog bands. It's the first of their 23 albums that I heard - back in '91. It was also probably the strangest album I'd ever heard at that time.

'Shouting at the Ground' showed a dramatic improvement in sound quality and production from their earlier albums - all of which, by the way, are excellent in their own right.

What we have here are an arsenal of hand made instruments, mostly stringed and percussive in nature, that are squashed through various delay and echo filter machines, creating an otherworldly, timeless and overwhelming creepy atmosphere.

Outside this website Zoviet France are classed as Industrial Ambient, where in later years they become more 'Drone' and electronic. After the smooth opening, alien sounding 'Smocking Erde' there's some very weirdly plucked chinese sounding strings on 'Palace Of Ignitions'. This is followed by massive echo used on bizarre twanged oddities that pulsate and mutate over almost 9 minutes and is basically a continuation of 'Smocking Erde' only much fuller and denser in direction.

'Revenue of Fire' is more 'traditional' Zoviet France with that minimal tribal percussion feel that they used to be most well known for. A lot of the instruments sound ethnic in nature and it's not until they're forced through various effect units that they lose any sense of definition.

The next few short tracks sounds pretty much like scenes from 'Aguirre Wrath of God' as Klaus Kinski goes stir crazy on that raft in the Amazon. Funny pipes are blown and all the while loops and indescribable drones rummage and grumble from ear to ear. The music gets stranger by the minute with a repetitive speeded loop of a high pitched voice on 'Carole the Breedbate' which is guaranteed to leave you disorientated. (Don't ask where they got those title names - Your guess is as good as mine).

More airy organic flesh pipes of extraterrestrial origin have wind blown through them reminding me of HP Lovecrafts 'At the Mountains of Madness' where that creature chases humans through a labyrinth of ice tunnels. Here we finally reach the two centre pieces of this 1987 recording which was their 4th album of this, their most prolific year.

'Shamany Enfluence' clocks in at a whopping 21 minutes. Here things sound much more laid back where space between notes is used beautifully throughout. Extreme delay is used on what sounds like someone blowing through a car exhaust pipe with pursed lips while 'almost' keyboard sounding walls of tone are stretched and manipulated in the background. Vaguely sounding like what's gone before, but pulled together in the most artistic of manner. Twelve minutes in and I'm naming this one of the best things I've ever heard. This may sound like one of my usual review exaggerations - only this time it's true.

'The Death Of Trees' continues in a far more creepy manner with slowed down vocals that sound animalistic and quietly torturous. Throbbing slabs of long slow fat bass noise are so flattened and dead that you'd be hard pressed to discern where they originate. There's nothing musically catchy to grip onto, yet hearing this for the millionth time I still find this meaning more to me than anything else I've heard on the 'Archives'. That's why you're getting this massively long review rather than the usual stabs of criticism and praise. This is my 'Desert Island Disk'. The the one album I never want to lose. You can keep your 'Floyd', your 'Magma' and 'Tangerine Dream' - who were the reasons I first encountered the 'Prog Archives'. Zoviet France are totally alien to the former and will always have a place in my heart.

A thing of beauty that many will not find beautiful in any shape or form.

Dobermensch | 5/5 |

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