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Idiot Saint Crazy - 12.12.12 CD (album) cover

12.12.12

Idiot Saint Crazy

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.26 | 4 ratings

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aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars What do you expect from a project with the title "Idiot Saint Crazy"? Something weird, bizarre or eclectic? Well, that's what you get. The one-man band project of Valentin Carette released in December 2012 its second album, symbolically entitled 12.12.12. I cannot know what the symbolism is about but the chaos that follows in the 90+ minutes (!) of this release I will try to explain below. For those that prefer summaries, 12.12.12 can be described as an avant-progressive rock/metal album, mixing influences from psychedelia, electronica, soundtrack music, cinematic landscapes, to post-rock philosophies and eclectic prog. If this does not say much, please keep reading...

"Weltanschauung" opens the album with a mysterious melodic tune that draws influence from oriental passages, but quickly moves to interchange with some heavy abrupt guitars and after a few minutes the two mix together with cinematic keyboard atmospheres to drive the track to a peak towards the end with excellent drumming. The tempos also interchange between super-fast and relaxed, while a twin avant-garde guitar-keyboard theme keeps the interest at high levels.

The heavy guitars continue in the short mid-tempo "I WTF" which blends plenty of progressive electronica with psychedelic guitar solos and abstract voices.

Mr. Bungle-like riffs are introduced in "The Fragrance of Love" and the album derails completely to avant-garde, screamo-punk conditions. High-pitched keyboards accompany a funny-sounding drum machine before a heavy-waltz rhythm (!) is introduced. The second half of the track begins in a comparatively mellower way with distorted guitars before re-introducing the main theme in a high-speed maniac ending.

The title track opens in a chord progression reminding me of "Call of Ktulu" but with a more epic/cinematic background but falls to a rather uninteresting middle part before returning with a strong up-tempo closing.

"Adule et Sent" travels to completely different landscapes with the delay effect on the guitars doing the trick, reminding heavily of King Crimson. While speeding up progressively, more solos and melodic guitar themes are introduced, and the character changes to a more spacey theme that concludes with some simple (yet beautiful) piano work.

Return to Captain Beefheart-like moods with "He'll Wait" which seems to be an accordion theme taken off a French movie. Although not necessarily proggy, this is a great nostalgic tune in the middle of the album.

"Mechant Gars" begins in Meshuggah-like patterns with rhythm and lead guitars on a fast pace and develops with odd-time signatures to an extreme prog metal delight, incorporating a drop-down tempo approach in the second half. As before, the last part speeds up to an extravagant closing.

"Oblivion" is the first very long track (>10mins) of the album. For 4-5 minutes, the low-tempo guitars and keyboards flow beautifully in the vein of Anglagard, with an out-of-tone percussion going on somewhere in the very background (!). More and more instruments are introduced and half-way the track turns to an impressively heavy mid-tempo experimental metal track. Unfortunately 8 minutes in, the music ceases and a few industrial sounds take it to the last few seconds where an acoustic guitar/piano theme concludes.

"The True Story of a Naughty Guy" is a 5-min story of a fast tapping track, with baroque, classical and avant-garde music making their appearance in the style. Progressively, operatic synths are added but the end result is questionable.

"Frisson Frippon", as implied by the name, is an ode to King Crimson, with the expected oddly-tuned guitars in several layers. Similar to the previous track, this is an almost exclusively guitar-based theme, but with much more interesting variations and developments.

"In the Car" flows somewhere between the psychedelia of early Porcupine Tree and Ozric Tentacles. Although based on a constant spacey theme, the track remains interesting with the injection of small variations in tempos here and there.

The guitar/keyboard layered-sound pattern returns as does the 80's King Crimson influence. For 7 minutes, "Dunkirk Counterpointless", similar to some of its predecessors, travels on a single, yet interesting nostalgic melodic theme.

"The Sea of Paradise" is the last and longest track of 12.12.12. Ethereal female vocals alter with deep, epic ones, over an orchestral background and a nice clean guitar tune. By far the best melody on the album, the harmony of the vocals strongly reminds of Uriah Heep's (!) great times (e.g. The Park) but in a more post-rock evolution. Unfortunately, not much happens from midway where the theme constantly "fades away".

All in all, a very good compilation of many, diverse ideas from Valentin (to whom I owe thanks for sending me the album to review) but with varying outcomes. Even though, strictly speaking, the album lacks cohesion, there are numerous tracks that I enjoyed while the variation helps to get through the 1.5 hours of this listening experience. With a shorter length and avoidance of a few "dead" points in the music, the result could have been even better. Nevertheless, I would recommend this to those seeking out for a mix of styles and moods, and especially to those of an avant-metal liking (first half of the album) or psychedelic/space rock liking (second half).

Best moments: Weltanschauung, He'll Wait, Mechant Gars, In the Car, The Sea of Paradise

aapatsos | 3/5 |

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