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Shub-Niggurath - Les Morts Vont Vite CD (album) cover

LES MORTS VONT VITE

Shub-Niggurath

Zeuhl


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daniel@tutis.
5 stars Wow. One of the best things to come out of france from the eightees. A multi-leveled, shifting, twirling, psychic delirium of distorted bass, dissonant piano, female operatic madness and SEARING guitar.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#26706)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
renedebot@yah
4 stars A perfect combination inbetween the music from Magma (period 'Udu Wudu') and King Crimson (Period 'Red').Very powerfull bass,intricate female vocals and all ingredients to make this album boss.Better,more convinced result than other Magma influenced groups such as Honeyelk,Eskaton,Superfreego...which are also always good to listen.Turn your volume to the max to play it loud and... in the dark.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#26707)
Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Listening to this particular band makes me wonder: why didn't they just started a tribute band?. I mean, this record is nothing but a Magma album in disguise. Off course, they have a great sound, but there's nothing here in terms of "creation". The second track sounds a bit fresh, but the rest of it has "Magma" written all over. A very slow copycat experience.

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Send comments to cuncuna (BETA) | Report this review (#26709)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A dark, brooding masterpiece of Zeuhl influenced music, Les Morts Vont Vite is actually much closer to the chamber rock of Univers Zero, Art Zoyd or Present than it is to Magma. Ann Stewarts quasi-operatic vocals have something in common with Stella Vander's contributions to Magma, but there are no choral arrangements or massed chanting here. Instead, the vocals are frequently played off the innovative trombone (an unusual instrument in a rock context) or the squalling, distorted guitar lines. There is also little of the rhythmic development associated with Christian Vander - the rhythm section is highly skilled, but tends to play lurching, Faust styled patterns where the beat never falls quite where you expect it. Overall, the perfect soundtrack to an evening spent reading HP Lovecraft.

Highly recommended to lovers of the challenging and bizarre, particularly RIO afficianados.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#38948)
Posted Saturday, July 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An intriguiing album to say the least, and an intriguing composoitional style - largely influenced by Messaien, it would seem - where the music is composed. When it goes off on a jam, however, it tends to get lost and meandering.

Jean-Luc Herve would seem to be the driving force, as the piano is clearly guiding the way for the other instrumentalists. Ann Stewart delivers a good performance throughout, holding her own very well against the serialism and resultant frequent dischords, but with slight intonation issues.

The music, as one might expect from such extensive use of serialism, is generally dark and brooding - definitely an album for connoisseurs or those who appreciate serialism.

Mostly, then, this is a very interesting album simply from the point of view of the compositional techniques and the resultant "zeuhl" type sound - with surprising "bling" in the production given that this was released in the 1980s, but the approach is only partly successful in delivering creative music of distinction, hence this album does not achieve the "Masterpiece" status.

Neither would I say that it is essential, as it will have a limited appeal. There is an immediate "wow" factor, as the playing is tight, the overall style fresh to anyone unfamiliar with the genre, the production is crisp and the exectution mostly precise - but on repeated listens, tends to sound rather samey, and the music reveals little in any kind of hidden depths.

This is a great album to put on if you're holding a party, and want everyone to get the hint that it's over ;0)

If you don't like long and detailed anaylsis, this review ends here.

I provide the analysis partly to help give a foothold into this type of music to those not used to "difficult" styles, and partly because the music lends itself to analysis so well, it'd be a shame not to - after all, analysis is what consumate proggers do best :0)

A cell (a partial note-row) begins the work, by way of a kind of insistent fanfare. Ann Stewart has a tough job against the cell and ever-shifting brass, bass and rhythm section, maintaining semitonal dischords to sinister effect. Tiny decorations appear on the piano's rhythmic cell, and are echoed by the flute.

Around 2:30, the music drops into a dark cavern, as the drums stop to allow a development of the cell, and a buildup topped with shimmering flute.

Don't let the drums fool you, despite the amazing and largely successful efforts to blur the time signature, 3/4 is the order of the day here - but the percussive work is precise without ever being sterile, driving the work forward.

The biggest weakness really is the guitar, which, when left to its own devices, noodles about aimlessly and stands out starkly from the other instruments, which are tightly orchestrated.

The piano "solo" section around 7:30 is quite brilliant, however, concentrating on a mainly rhythmic delivery, elastically stretching ideas developed from the initial cell, and orchestrating the other instruments and voice around it into a single complex web of sound.

Around 9:30, guitar feedback provides some great ambience, and fuzz bass continues to threaten the existence of this quiet moment, despite being hushed by gentle percussion and electronic effects. The bass becomes ever more edgy, however, and the ambience becomes more and more claustrophobic in a superb build-up, which is "shattered" by gentle vocals.

This develops a nice theme of dark against light, dark eventually winning, as we knew it would, with the piano creating a rippling theme based on the cell, and the trombone and bass in full agreement.

After a while, the voice does become insistent to the point of irritating, in my opinion - I would have liked more rhythmic variation, instead of straight crotchet patterns with the occasional long note, and the entire piece falls into the trap of coming across as rather samey - but only too long by about a minute.

"Cabine 67" begins with another piano cell - but almost entirely rhythmic. The guitar, brass and organ weave atmospherics around mini-explosions in the percussion, all of which rather predict the eventual ensemble, which ambles off very nicely - but as with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu orchestra, the incessant noodling on the guitar rather spoils the precise composition in place in the rest of the instruments. Much more repetitive than the previous piece, the tight and narrow definition quickly loses interest - moreso given that this piece carries a 4/4 drum pattern! The chaotic build-up at the end is good.

"Yog Sothoth" begins with a low D on what sounds like the trombone - but is presumably the organ, unless the trombonist is an expert at cyclic breathing... always possible. The piano creeps in with another cell, and extends it a lttle for interest. At last we move away from simple time to more complex time, with a 5-bar pattern that passes through 4/4/, 3/4, 3/4, 2/4 and 4/4... unless something's up with my counting. Anyway, it's more interesting to work out what time signatures are being passed through than to listen to the music at this particular point. It gets interesting around 5:30, though, and a series of timbral moments are worked through, with key-shifts that are interesting, given that the true serialist approach is to remove any idea of diatonic harmony. However, there is implicit harmony of D here. I can't say major or minor, as the third is almost alternately sharpened and flatted as if by some sort of whim, but the overall dark feeling would imply the minor.

Regular 4 time is re-established around 10:00, and a hypnotic, repetitive passage provides a kind of echoing coda.

"La Ballade De Lenore" begins with what sounds like a note row, which soon breaks down into a brilliant dischort - sparse, yet rich in clashes. The voice and trombone proceed in a semi fugal style over shifting organ, and small melodic motifs continuosly raise their heads until the fuzz bass, feedback guitar and drums crash in. Almost unbelievably, the underlying time signature appears to be 4/4 - this is muddied so well that it took me a few bars to get it. Shows there's life in the old time signatures yet!

As before, the style continues, with the predictable drawing back of the drums and bass, and repeated entry with dark and somewhat over muddy textures. There are moments that are really good, and longer moments that are just meandering noodle. My favourite is the unison voice, piano and trombone section that ends the piece.

"Delear Prius" begins by conjouring up a sinister almost mediaeval or even Dark Ages world with the soprano voice separated by a cavernous gulf from the bass accompaniment and careful, precise percussion. Stabs ring out, similar to some you might hear in Orff's "Carmina Burana", emphasisng this feeling. However, the entire piece continues in this vein and only develops on a small scale, with little changes in the musical motifs, which leaves this feeling somewhat plodding and lugubrious.

And so the great finale, "J'ai Vu Nagučre En Peinture Les Harpies Ravissant Le Repas De Phynée". This begins with crashing introductory chords, in similar style to the opeining "fanfare", and maintains the "Dark Ages" flavour, with ever-increasing crashes. The bass and wild, feedback driven guitar promise the build-up from hell, but it is soon apparent that this is not going to be delivered, and the rest of the piece simply uses this idea to pad out the time, it would seem.

A disappointing ending to what could have been a great album, if only there had been some more actual musical development, instead of the microscopic development "in the small". While this sort of minimalism may appeal to some, I would not recommend this album to everyone, and certainly not to anyone who is unfamilar with either zuehl, minimalism or serialism. The surface "bling" may appeal to someone who wants something quite radically different in their collection - but I'm willing to bet that this is not an album that makes it to the stereo on a regular basis, or even gets end-to-ended very often.

Maybe all this a bit academic, but Shub Niggurath appear to be presenting the music in an academic kind of style, and I feel, only partially achieve the objectives. Hence a solid 3 stars - a good album showing great potential in a difficult style, but of limited appeal and somewhat basic when you consider the scope of what could be done using serialism and imaginative composition.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#51524)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not the finest example of "chamber rock". Normally, you'd expect something far more challenging from a band influenced by 20th century classical approaches. This album is neither challenging nor memorable in any way. Instead, it appears to be some sort of minimalist take on modernist classical music. While comparisons to Magma can be justified (both bands make similarly boring music), "Les Morts Vont Vite" sounds a lot more like a combination of Universe Zero with the noisy side of Henry Cow. The one thing I like about this record is the thunderous drum/percussion work: while not too demanding technically, it's sheer power could wrestle down an entire orchestra of death metal skinpounders. It's also worth mentioning that the lineup boasts a trombonist, which contributes considerably to the dark atmosphere. Regarding the rest of the group: bandleader Jean-Luc Herve , though presumably an accomplished performer, chooses not to shine for the most part; neither does the bass player; the operatic vocals of Ann Stewart frequently exhibit problems with intonation; and the electric guitar is mostly used as a source of noise rather than a musical instrument (apparently the band's intent). Thus, there isn't much here for lovers of technical virtuosity, or those who appreciate complex, creative compositions.

Take for example, the opening track, "Incipid Tragedia", which opens with a simple piano motif, quickly joined by Ann Stewart's off-pitch crooning, snail-paced drumming and the rest of the band. This goes on until about 2:30, when we hear an atonal brass section, which is soon augmented by piano and occasional guitar squeaks. This, in turn, evolves into a noisy jam session which ends somewhere around the 9 minute mark; for the next 2 minutes, there isn't much going on , except for sparse guitar licks, until an annoying cluster chord enters the scene, dragging on for a further 30 seconds. Following it is an a capella vocal section; the rest of the band gradually returns, with the drums following a moderately-paced 4/4 pattern this time. After some chord stabs on the piano, a new section, more powerful and catchy, is introduced; while it's easily the songs climax, it also shows that the band has to rely on primitive rock dynamics in order to get it's music across. Nothing noteworthy happens after that, and the track finally reaches a safe landing, having long outstayed it's welcome.

The five remaining tracks feature more or less the same scenario, as the band doesn't even try to unearth anything new; thus, it's safe to end the analysis here. Nevertheless, if you're looking for music that's dark, depressive and doesn't require much concentration from the listener, this may be exactly what you're looking for.

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Send comments to Pafnutij (BETA) | Report this review (#66983)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars If the other Shub-Niggurat album was a really perky album with its twisted odd ditties, this one goes a slight bit deeper in the depression. This album makes Univers Zero's world like Univers Billions $ as this is really BLEAK and gloomy and send gothic rock groups back to their cribs. The album takes its name after the 1839 Horace Vernet painting gracing its sleeve.

I have, because of my RIO tastes, heard many sombre album, but like this one, I must say that it might be among the top five along with Present's first two and UZ's Heresie, while not delivering as much energy as those. This album with its gloomy soprano vocals close to classical music and rather complex structures also does hint clearly at some Zeuhl influences, but we are clearly on the outer fringes of rock music more like Avant Rock. However impressive this album maybe, one of the main gripes I have with it, is its repetitive nature with the same endlessly slow patterns and booming bass thumping allowing of course for plenty of doomy guitar wails and gloomy organs, but this comes back on almost every track. But Shub-Niggurat is not just content on slow macabre paces, as when La Ballade De Lénore picks up speed they get down to even more ignominious moods, prompting even Dracula to take the night off!!! (Yes, THAT bad!!!!!!! ;-)

If one day your kid-cousin is turning towards goth rock, and you would like to get him interested in a proggier current than his actual tastes, you might want to introduce him to prog rock through a band like this!!! No doubt he will be impressed and maybe . just maybe ... also interested enough to borrow the album to his buddies and who knows what could happen? Worth a shot, aint'it?

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#68736)
Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This second generation zeuhl album is somewhat legendary for its aggressiveness and dark atmospheres, which are on a par with or perhaps even eclipse Magma's at times. Since zeuhl is a genre created by one man, Christian Vander, it's perhaps unfair to judge an album poorly because it sticks to the zeuhl script too closely. Having said that, this album is so Magma-ish that it could be Magma! All the hallmarks are there- dissonant, high pitched vocals, tinkly piano, clattery drums, wildly overdriven bass guitar, although Shub- Niggurath does offer something a little different- a lot of crazy feedbacky sorta-jazzy avant garde guitar solos. The atmosphere of the record is certainly dark, oppressive and violent, making for a cathartic listening experience to say the least. The musicianship is impressive, though not quite up to Magma standards. Certainly anyone interested in zuehl should have this album, if you don't already. It's an essential in the (sub)-genre.

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Send comments to Heptade (BETA) | Report this review (#109362)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I have been lucky enough to obtain this vinyl in recent years, and was totally blown-out by its blinding complexity. The Zeuhl factor is present (I'll spell 'Zeuhl' correctly, this time around - confusing word that is) but that's only applicable courtesy of the rhythm section ; a de-tuned fuzzed-out Bass sound and the crisp and heavy drumming that is imperative to this sub-genre, is featured throughout. The guitar sections are abrasive and harsh, but in-keeping with what is being presented. Atonal vocals from Ann Stewart (usually sung in a tri-tone to the key of the music) creates an unsettling, disturbed air to the pieces here, and that's built upon by Veronique Verdier's Trombone parts, and Jean-Luc Herve's keyboard rig (consisting of a UNIVERS ZERO combination of Organs, Harmonium and Piano), resulting in a Zeuhl styled Rock-In-Opposition recording. It is extremely difficult to put this one into words. It can make you laugh, cry, angry, it can repulse you, it can turn you on - this is a one-in-a- million recording, and, if you're in the mood, it will undoubtedly impress. It's not for everyone, but if you're willing to pay your money and take your chance, it should deliver. 5/5. (Word of advice - don't put this one on if you're making out with your woman......)

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#158147)
Posted Wednesday, January 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I finally got my hands on a copy of this legendary album.Thankyou Greg Walker who just recently got some copies of this cd in to sell. It was worth the wait, and it exceeds the hype. I have never heard anything more sinister in all my life. And I have some pretty dark and scary albums, but this stands alone. I thought of PRESENT, ART ZOYD and UNIVERS ZERO, but what I love about this one is the in your face fuzz bass, the amazing drumming and the distorted, abrasive, scorching guitar sounds.Trombone is prominant as well and of course Ann Stewart's vocals which have been described as soprano but restrained and mono-toned, really add to the spooky mood. Haunting keys and harmonium along with some great organ runs round out the instruments. This band gets their name from a monster in one of H.P.Lovecraft's novels.

"Incipit Tragaedia" opens with some sparse dark piano as trombone and light drums then vocals come in. It's building. It stops 2 1/2 minutes in as trombone takes over. Piano and drums return. Harmonium slithers in. The guitar starts to make some vicious noise. This is what fear sounds like. Piano becomes prominant 8 minutes in with vocals following. Check out the monstrous fuzz bass 10 minutes in as it comes and goes. The tension builds 11 1/2 minutes in as it sounds like spirits crying out. Vocals are back after 12 minutes with a lot of suspense. Piano is back and then trombone as the pace picks up. Fuzz bass joins in too. It ends with some passion.

"Cabine 67" opens with piano as drums and trombone help out. No real melody though until 1 1/2 minutes in when the tempo picks up. The guitar is ripping it up in an avant-garde way. Check out the drumming to end it. "Yog Sothoth" is dark with piano to begin with. A dramatic entrance of vocals and drums 2 minutes in then the trombone arrives. Check out the scraping sounds and distortion from the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in as the drums pound away with presicion. Nice. This is the closest thing i've heard to what the abyss must sound like. A calm before 5 1/2 minutes in. Screaming guitar 7 minutes in with fuzz bass. Another calm 8 minutes in. The vocals are hypnotising 10 minutes in with piano as guitar and fuzz bass (both from hell) cause a disturbance the rest of the way.

"La Ballade De Lenore" opens with what sounds like church organ before trombone and vocals join in. Drums come pounding in after 2 1/2 minutes as guitar and bass create chaos. It settles after 4 minutes as church organ, trombone, bass, drums and vocals deliver darkness itself. A change 6 minutes in as organ, guitar, bass and drums get very intense. It's slowly building to the end of the song. "Delear Prius" opens with vocals and trombone as drums slowly pound like we're marching to our deaths. Piano 2 1/2 minutes in. Check out the fuzz bass ! "J'ai Vu Naguerre En Peinture" features vocals and a dark mood as trombone plays. 1 1/2 minutes in it gets crazy with those intense, otherworldly sounds. Dissonant guitar is ripping it up while drums pound away. Vocals are back to end it.

For me this is unique, with the prominant fuzz bass and avant-garde guitar sounds in a dark nightmarish background. This is music for the night. This is darkness.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#180153)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is beauty in darkness.

When I am asked the question "what is the most extreme music in the world", I always point them in this direction and towards this band. The opening minutes of this album, the song called Incipit Tragaedia, is enough to scare the sanity out of most people. At the same time, this song is also beautiful. Herein lays the essence of this album.

Atonal melody lines is the bedrock this album is built upon. The mostly atonal vocals by Ann Stewart is supported by the mostly atonal guitars from Franck Fromy. This is again supported by the very impressive thundering bass from Alain Ballaud. But most impressive of all is Michel Kervinio's drumming. All this is supplemented by trombone and tangents. In short, the recipe of Dante's Inferno. Something it is not meant to be. According to Franck Fromy, this is a kind of a romantic album, playing with the abyss. OK..........

The result is a masterpiece and an essential album in my record collection. I find it flawless in it's creativity and in it's deliverance. It is an album much more in common with Richard Wagner and classical music than rock music. It is one of the most ultimate expression of esoteric, dark music. It is darker than all black metal albums put together. This is to me the ultimate Zeuhl and RIO album.

In short, a masterpiece.

5 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#294725)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Les Morts Vont Vite' - Shub-Niggurath (7/10)

Taking it's name from a beast in the H.P Lovecraft mythos, French chamber act Shub- Niggurath's first album is arguably some of the darkest music to ever come out of the bubblegum-stained 80's. First associated with the French Zeuhl scene of avant-garde music, Shub-Niggurath is quite a far cry from the tongue-in-cheek nature of compatriots Magma. Instead, this music takes the operatic jazz-fusion style first made famous by Christian Vander and company, and takes it far into the depths of hell, R'lyeh, or whatever Lovecraftian nightmare you can conjure in your mind. However, despite an incredibly promising opening sound and first track, 'Les Morts Vont Vite' ultimately loses quite a bit of it's magic and consistency as the album plunders on, although the fact remains that this is one of the most disturbing classics I've ever listened to.

Shub-Niggurath and their sound is defined by a remarkably dark and tritonic brand of jazz- fusion, mixed with the operatic soprano of Ann Stewart. The resulting effect is one of total chaos and dystopia. In fact, the band may very well have had a real masterpiece on their hands, had this debut been more consistent throughout. The album begins with the true highlight and epic of the album, 'Incepit Tragaedia', which is- in it's own odd and atonal way- the most memorable and melodic on the album. A solemn dirge that builds very slowly and intentionally to it's chaotic climax, the odd harmonies between Stewart's distinctive vocal approach and the maddening tones of the lead instruments is brilliant. All the while, the foreboding and sense of doom only grows, to the point where a comprehensive song structure can't hold back the darkness. From there on, the album takes a much more chaotic, almost 'jam-like' nature to it, focusing more on waves of sound and a jazz- influenced improvisation mixed with segments of hymnal doom.

Disregarding the obvious comparisons with bands such as chamber rock legends Univers Zero and Zeuhl innovators Magma, the biggest relation in sound I am reminded of is actually of King Crimson, circa their 'Red' album, in which a gloomy bass was used heavily, and the harmonies used were nothing, if not quite unsettling. However, Shub-Niggurath take that sound set, and makes it about as uncomfortable (read: unsettling yet interesting) as is possible. However, despite the album only getting more experimental as it goes on, the lack of structure can make some parts feel too noisy and chaotic to warrant a memorable experience.

A album of dark proportions I might only be able to compare to Scott Walker's 'The Drift' and some of the most sincere black metal out there, Shub-Niggurath will leave an impression on the listener, regardless of relative enjoyment. While the first track is the only one that is memorable on it's own, this French band has made an unlikely classic of it's first album.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#384443)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Created by a band named after one of my buddies, this album is literally a musical monster that's as enjoyable as it is harsh & eerie. If you feel the need to horde the candy on Halloween without leaving the house, blast this album out of your windows. Unlike heavy metal stuff, which would just annoy passerbys until the cops arrived to force you to shut off that racket, Les Morts Vont Vite would probably give the little kids patrolling outside in their Spiderman and fairy costumes horrendous nightmares. The candy in a bowl by the front door would be all yours, although none of the neighbors would invite you to their cookouts the following summer.

An extremely dark and oppresive atmosphere spreads throughout the body and mind like the fungi from Yuggoth: a throbbing distorted bass, an odd-toned soprano, sheets of guitar "sounds" that invoke aural representations of shoggoths, trombones providing haunting melodies accented by weird piano passages and creepy organ moans. The effect is disconcerting and actually quite "heavy" without being "metal", but I find it also captivating and memorable. It's not something to hum along to, but the menacing opening melody of Incipit Tragaedia is pretty catchy, and this close to 16 minute creature remains interesting throughout its duration. The last portion of Yog Sothoth (which, of course, is one of the greatest song titles of all time thank you very much) is mind blowing, with Ann Stewart chanting the song title in multiple tracks over that monstrous bass, like a subterranean death bell aknowledging the successful conjuration of an Ancient One. The album's other long track, La Ballade De Lénore, begins with a chilling organ and haunted, almost detached operatic vocals as gloomy forebearer of what would suddenly morph into miasmic guitar chaos and desperate drumming...a kind of psycho jazz at times.

Every song here has its share of memorable moments, and remains a dark twisted entity that burrows in the mind from the opening dirge to the final crawling chaos of the last track. I've never found myself tired of this particular work, and rank it among one of my personal favorites in my collection. It's that rare piece of music that's both dissonant and beautiful that sends the listener into the insane world of the Black Goat In The Woods With A Thousand Young.

Iä! Shub-Niggurath!

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#435622)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Before coming to this band I thought that the best musical interpretation of HP Lovecraft myths was the song "Yog Sototh" in the debut album of Steve Hillage's "Arzachel". That song is a grotesque imitation of a religious anthem based on a church-like organ with psychedelic dissonances. This whole album is totally scary, instead.

Also here there's a song entitled to the "Blind and Idiot God whistling his flute in the center of the Universe", but this sounds more like a demoniac ritual. The Shub-Niggurath music is Zeuhl, but instead of the jazzy pomposity of Magma they are in a very different territory. The omnipresent vocals of the soprano Ann Stewart are always dissonant, the bass notes of the trombone make the music constantly dark throughout the whole album. The guitar is used to produce weird sounds and the organs have both a rhythmic and filling role.

The band is able to transmit to the listener a dark and evil atmosphere, even more dark than HP Lovecraft's tales, as he was a writer who lived in the first half of 20th Century but heavily influenced by authors of the 19th like E.A.Poe so this connection with the romantic age mitigates the evil that is totally exploited in Shub-Niggurath's music.

As other reviewers have written, there's no need of growling and massacring distorted guitars to give the idea of evil. This music is weirdest than any metal I've ever heard. The dark side of the Zeuhl

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#602398)
Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
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5 stars Inspired by my recent vacation to Rhodos, Greece, down where the deep turquoise Aegean ocean unfolds its infinite beauty, I thought I'd do a word-wide musical road trip, swooping through all kinds of interesting places - starting up in one of my absolute faves of countries when it comes down to progressive music: France.

I'd like to apologize in advance to all you folks out there who appreciate the value of saving one's 5 star reviews for something special, unique, life-altering - this is going to be quite the masterpiece parade, yet I sincerely hope the people who know me well, also know that I don't throw them around like toffees at a hunger strike in Bangladesh. These are all albums that I've been dying to review for a looooong long time, and I would certainly feel refreshingly more relieved having gotten this crazy idea off my back.

No monkeys aloud unless we set to sea. Anybody who knows anything about anything knows that...

There are some albums that you already with confidence know halfway through your first spin of them, that they'll change the way you think about music forever and never quite looking at it in the same manner. It's perspective is what it is - making a huge bulge in your nice neatly arranged music world. Shub Niggurath's debut from 1986 did that for me. I rate it up among the same marvellous and illustrious echelons of progressive music as where the likes of King Crimson's Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Bubu's Anabelas, Magma's MDK, Amon Düül ll's Tanz Der Lemminge and the mighty Pawn Hearts from Van Damme Generator reside. It's literally that good. It changed my life, even if it sounds like a perplexingly mundane thing to say about something as esoteric and finite as music.

Prancing out on the musical scene in 1986 with an album that sounded like it was recorded at least 10 years earlier - these guys were about as casually nonchalant as a pair of tanning specialists at a drilling facility in mainland Greenland looking for ancient elongated ice cubes. The music sounds like Godzilla with a pair of big steel boots stomping furiously through town. The sheer musical girth this thing has is incomprehensibly ginormous. Much of this comes from the bass of death bobbing back and forth like a 50 foot anaconda doing gymnastics between two palm trees: BOOOUUUHHHH BAAAAAAAUUOOOWWW BOUUW BOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUWWWW BUUUOOOUHHHHH BOOOOOOHHHH BOUUUUUUUUUUUHHHH Responsible of this remarkable playing is Alain Ballaud, that all by himself could power up downtown Tokyo with a good two way stereo rack. He could be a tunnel burrower for all I know.

I've read a lot of different reviews saying that Les Mortes Vont Vite sounds scary and frightening, but the gloom it has is also heavily underlined, and at the same time counter-pointed by a deep bellowing groovy vibe that permeates the music, and I don't know about you guys, but I find it hard to associate funky danceable sounds - even if they are Zeulish like hell and probably every other genre-tag you care to apply to it as well - with fearful imagery. To me it sounds like National Health meet Univers Zero in a dark throbbing daturah induced nightmare. With the incessant feel of the mantraing high priestess incantations and the magic double-teamed percussion cement mixers make my mind wander to stroboscopic radiant images of a heavily sedated Jon Bonham engulfed in spiralling restrained anger. The opening track Incipit Tragaedia has always reminded this avid listener off a vexed blurred and unnerving take on Tenemos Roads. Call me crazy, but that's what I get.....The feel of Dave Stewart's angular organ riffing remoulded into the jittery kaleidoscopic harmonium/organ and piano extraordinaire Jean-Luc Herve who continues to amaze me with his strange and beautiful sorcery. He could have been a fine druid, had he been born in Wiltshire some 5000 years ago.........

Continuing the wondrous array of breathtaking musicians performing on this baby is the twin duo of guitar man Franck W. Fromy that evokes a certain John McLaughlin-trembling-with-flickering-anxiety feel to him - and the equally enticing trombone player Véronique Verdier. Together they conjure up a mountainous sonic landscape that edges it's wild and flabby tummy over the ash-coloured peaks of Kashmir like a majestic towering figure of power. It swoops through you like a napalm firestorm and leaves you on the tip of your chair throughout it's stubborn driving course with eyes peeled wide opened, erratic breaths and a sense of occasion that rivals a rather sudden earthquake in your right hand pocket. I'd give this record a million stars of white crystallized embers in a heartbeat.

This is essential listening, and anybody into progressive music owe it to themselves to hear this prodigal beautiful colossus at least once in their lifetime. It will make the small hairs on your back stand on end and equip your skull with a way of communicating with chatty black holes cortege-driving through the outskirts of the Universe.

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Posted Tuesday, July 09, 2013 | Review Permalink

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