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SHUB-NIGGURATH

Zeuhl • France


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Shub-Niggurath picture
Shub-Niggurath biography
SHUB-NIGGURATH was formed  in 1983 and consisted of six musicians: Allan Ballaud on bass, percussionist Franck Coulaud, Frank Fromy on guitar and percussion, Jean-Luc Herve on harmonium, piano and organ, vocalist Ann Stewart, and a trombone/bass player Veronuque Verdier. The band released their first untitled demo on 1985 and got good feedback from critics. The promising debut album, "Les Morts Von Vite", was released on Musea label in 1987. The album received good reviews and is their finest moment: it caught the band at the peak of their creativity. Musea reissued this album on CD in 1997, including two rare bonus tracks. The debut sold well and later, in 87, SHUB NIGGURATH's song appeared on Musea's Zeuhl compilation "Enneade", a tribute to the legacy of Magma. After its release, Franck Couland left into jazz, as did Franc Fromy. Jean-Luc Herve, being a guitarist, took Fromy's spot. In 1988, SHUB-NIGGURATH collaborated with SLEASE ART on a compilation called "Dithrambe". 1989 brought another compilation, "Douze Pour In 2" followed by a live tape with the new line up: Allan Ballaud on bass, Jean-Luc Herve on electric guitar, Veronuque Verdier on bass trombone and percussions, two singers Sylvette Claudet and Jean-Pierre Lourdeau, and the drummer Michel Kervinio. Some members vhanged instruments, which displays the musical versatility of the band. A second studio album was released on CD in 1991, called "C'etaient De Tres Grands Vents" on Musea label. It was released by the same lineup except a new percussionist, Edward Perraud, was added and Jean Pierre left the band to become a painter. Since then, the band has toured around Paris playing for small audiences. In 1995 bassist Allan Ballaud died of cancer. They made a comeback in 2003 with the third album "Testament". At this point the band consists of four people: - Jean Luc Herve on guitar, Veronique Verdier on trombone, bassist Alain Ballaud and drummer Edward Perraud.

SHUB-NIGGURATH's best album is the debut, and it's also the best place to start exploring their music. However, their career has been fairly consistent and the other two albums are quality efforts.

If you like dark, brooding mix of RIO and Zeuhl you will like SHUB-NIGGURATH. their avant-ish dark prog with a sharp edge is both unique and challenging.

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SHUB-NIGGURATH discography


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SHUB-NIGGURATH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 149 ratings
Les morts vont vite
1986
2.95 | 39 ratings
C'étaient de très grands vents
1991
1.59 | 24 ratings
Testament
1994
3.95 | 27 ratings
Introduction
2009

SHUB-NIGGURATH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.70 | 11 ratings
Live
1989

SHUB-NIGGURATH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SHUB-NIGGURATH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SHUB-NIGGURATH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 19 ratings
Shub-Niggurath
1984

SHUB-NIGGURATH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shub-Niggurath by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.47 | 19 ratings

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Shub-Niggurath
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Shub Niggurath succeeded in their aim of taking the more doom-laden apocalyptic side of Zeuhl to a whole new level. While Zeuhl elements such as the operatic vocals are still present, this EP and the rest of their work sits closer to Univers Zero's style of chamber rock and eerie, dissonant and tortured sounds. None of their work is for the faint hearted, and this EP is a fairly rough early version of what the band would get up to. Unfortunately its categorically not for me, but any RIO, avant or dark Zeuhl fan should be thinking of collecting this album.
 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.12 | 149 ratings

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Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by Floof-AN

5 stars From the depths of darkness, or the highest spires during a thunderstorm, a sound is produced, and the gates to a realm of death is open thanks to our imagination. A dense atmosphere that carries with it a visceral fear, one we cannot run away from, nor fight. A beast that creeps and consumes your soul as you cry for mercy, or a savior that will never come. Ladies, Gentlemen, and all Others, only one band, and only one album can reproduce this infinite darkness through their art: Shub-Niggurath with their mind-altering debut album, Les Morts Vont Vite.

It is with great pleasure, and an irrepressible sense of dread, that I finally give my opinion on this album. From my short attempt at Gothic writing at the beginning of this review, you might have already guessed that this album won't be easy to approach for mere humans like us; after all, insanity is all we would gain from gazing upon Cthulhu. No, we must plunge into the darkest part of ourselves, and awaken a desire for somberness, and be one with the music of the Outer Goddess, and ourselves become a monster, incomprehensible in form, perhaps, or a gargoyle gazing upon humans with hunger, or a decomposing skeleton, eager for the living to join its side. Whatever monster your mind can come up with, picture it as yourself. Your clock will strike midnight, you may turn off your lights, and close your eyes, not even a candle must be lit. Then, and only then, will you be able to meet the Black Goat of the Woods.

This is what this band needs to be enjoyed, total darkness, and in exchange, you will be taken into their world, you have all the right to be afraid, to scream, but you must not lose your focus. Delivered with the contrast of an earth-shattering bass, and an ear-splitting guitar; the suffocating and languishing nature of a crushing harmonium, and a foreboding trombone; the eerie beauty of an unpredictable piano, and incantational voice; all supported by drums and percussion, pounding away to the tune of destruction, the music that will envelop you from the first second onward will be incomparable. The thought of listening to music that is comprehensible must be thrown out the window, attempting to understand the composition will only lead you down a path of endless questioning; indeed, you must even throw out any recollection you may have of any other music, for that time being, it will not be useful to you. Les Morts Vont Vite is not to be enjoyed as a group of songs, but as a group of realms, worlds that you will go, run, fall, and die into, one by one.

You may enjoy it, or you may not, but that does not matter to the Great Old One, you must listen to it to the end. Laying down in a bed like a corpse lays in a coffin, cradled by unending darkness, you must go through the six stages of this ritual to be allowed back into your own world. And, as an archaeologist opening an ancient haunted manuscript, and being haunted by thousands upon thousands of damned souls who awaited their freedom for centuries, you will begin your descent into the deepest pits of despair with the fantastic introduction, Incipit Tragaedia.

In this whole album, Incipit Tragaedia is the most comprehensible song, after all, it is the incipit of your story, and tragedy will only truly strike after this point. This song is merely a painful march towards the gates of hell, and slowly, as the song creeps towards its end, you abandon all hope. And as the singers lets out the last of her incantations, and as the menacing thunderous bass becomes quieter, you fall into Inferno. Cabine 67 is the beginning of the end, the dead pile up, they are punished for eternity, in an agony, O so monotonous. As the horror unfolds before you, the bass makes its reappearance in an absurdly low and devastating improvisation along the pummeling and repetitive drums. Panic is the master of this world, just as much as the unrelenting punishment delivered by the drums. Only when your Calvary seems over that you encounter the great spheres of light, the spheres that have always seen, known about you, and known everything since the beginning of time, Yog-Sothoth. Quickly, disaster strikes, thought you believe you had found a way out, once truth is revealed to you, restlessness and chaos smite you with the power that only the strongest phenomena of our universe could muster; a doubled tracked guitar solo that is close to ripping your eardrums and the ominous chanting of the enslaved followers brings you close to insanity. Amidst the chaos and destruction, you are saved by an ironclad horseman who takes you away from the All-Knowing God's accomplices. But misery shan't stop so early, as an endless nightmare would, your savior was but another monster. Now, you are Léonore, and he shall be your companion on your ballad through the land of the dead, and just as H.P. Lovecraft's cosmic horrors had disappeared, Horace Vernet's painting came to life, your few minutes of rests are filled with the dread of a haunting harmonium, cut short by the rider's haphazard and rapid course through the scorched earth. La Ballade De Lénore brings out an incredibly dissonant and violent part of the music, that will only get more distorted and violent from this point onward. As the last of the demented singing stops, you are met with Delear Prius. As you sink further into insanity, tension and heaviness is felt in silence, the thunder grows more destructive, the voices that haunt your mind, even more aleatory. Madness catches up to you, as do the Gods, Helios renders you blind, and Harpies close in to torment you for the rest of eternity, as you have stopped falling, and reached the deepest pits of despair, as the walls of noise buzzes inside your ears, as the guitar rips your flesh, as the bass destroys your bones, as the singer chants your demise.

And so ends your journey through Les Morts Vont Vite. Now back in your own world, you can wake up from your nightmare, the ritual is over, you're no longer the horrific monster, chased by Gods and Mythical beasts. The Gothic and terrifying voyage presented by all of the great musicians present on this album can now be appreciated correctly. After letting yourself become a part of the music, you've experienced something that cannot be replicated. Though you may try the same with Univers Zéro, or Art Zoyd, or even Dün, none will ever come close to achieving the truly atmospheric and captivating qualities of this album. Les Morts Vont Vite is not simply a masterpiece from the chamber-rock era of French Zeuhl, it is, and will remain the masterpiece of the chamber-rock era of French Zeuhl. Shub-Niggurath's debut is the crown jewel of Zeuhl in the 80's as a whole, for its singular beauty, for its unparalleled ominousness, for its awe-inspiring atmosphere, for its uniqueness in every aspect, and for its timelessness. But, this album should not be called a diamond, instead, it should called a kiloton of coal. A coal that dirties the grass, permeates around you as smog, soaks your clothes and body in an acidic black rain, and imbues your soul with love for the macabre. Les Morts Vont Vite is one of the best Zeuhl and Avant-Garde albums to exist, as well as one of the most inventive Progressive Rock albums I have had the pleasure of discovering, but it is to be feared, for it roams around in the darkest hours of the night, looking for its pray, and if I was convincing enough in this review, I have a strong feeling that it's coming for you.

Rating: 10/10 Favorite Tracks: Incipit Tragaedia, La Ballade de Lénore, Delear Prius

 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.12 | 149 ratings

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Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 339

Shub-Niggurath is a progressive avant-guard rock/zeuhl band from France founded in 1983 by Allan Baullaud. The band is named after one of the deities in Cthulhu Mythos created by the famous American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.

Shub-Niggurath originated playing dark and intense expressionist music influenced by the legendary progressive French rock band Magma and the contemporary classical music. Aside from the members of the band being fans of the former, the pianist and later on also guitarist, Jean-Luc H'rve had studied composition with G'rard Grisey, a French composer of contemporary classical music. After the first album the band started developing towards structured improvisation and electro-acoustic experiments. The band was dissolved in 1995 following the death of cancer of their leader, the bassist Alain Ballaud. They released two proper albums in their lifetime, their debut 'Les Morts Vont Vite', in 1986 and their second 'C''taient De Tr's Grands Vents', in 1991, later followed by their third 'Testament', released in 1994, which is nothing more than a compilation of unreleased material from the 90's. Besides these, there exist two highly rare cassettes, only releases, a self-titled demo anteceding the first album and a live recording released in 1989 by Auricle. Plus later, in 2009, the band also released a fourth studio album named 'Introduction'. But 'Introduction' is in effect nothing more than their debut demo tracks of Shub-Niggurath cleaned up and released on the CD format.

Their debut studio album 'Les Morts Vont Vite', received critical acclaim for its innovative avant-garde inclinations, and major developments over the Magma's sound. The album is very dark and is very close to the RIO/Avant-Prog style.

The line up on the album is Ann Stewart (vocals), Franck W. Fromy (guitar and electric percussion), Jean-Luc Herv' (piano, church organ and harmonium), V'ronique Verdier (trombone), Alain Ballaud (bass) and Franck Coulaud (drums).

'Les Morts Vont Vite' has four tracks, plus two bonus tracks on the 1997 CD release. The main melodic thing is the harrowing soprano vocals of Ann Stewart. The music is developed in an expressionist landscape of ascending and descending chromatic chord progressions on electric guitar, piano and trombone. The music is channeled through the utter darkness and evil. The guitar solos here are more like tortured and primal sounds than anything from jazz or rock or fusion. The percussion owes more to the modern classical than jazz as well. The music here is generally dark and ugly. We can say that it has a deep darkness, and a very interesting ugliness. For the most part, 'Les Morts Vont Vite' is made of the band's improvisation and an overall mix of strange and varied sounds. 'Les Morts Vont Vite' is, in my humble opinion, an album representative of classic RIO/Avant, where its roots can be found in the early creations of Henry Cow, Univers Zero, and Magma. As for the latter band though, I've mentioned it especially because the amazing operatic vocals of Ann Stewart that remind me a bit of those of Stella Vander of Magma, while any other parallels between the music of Shub-Niggurath and that of Magma can't be clearly seen here. Another one of the most influential RIO/Avant bands that is often mentioned in the reviews of Shub-Niggurath is Art Zoyd. In my point of view however, any comparisons between these two bands can't be clearly seen too. Art-Zoyd's music has a very strong classical feel to it and it's light rather than dark, harmonious rather than dissonant. Quite the contrary, the creation of Shub-Niggurath is inspired by the Avant-garde Academic Music and has no much in common ground with the Classical Academic Music.

Returning to 'Les Morts Vont Vite', all the six compositions on 'Les Morts Vont Vite' are about the classic RIO/Avant with pronounced elements of Avant-garde Academic Music and Zeuhl, though the structures of 'Cabine 67' contains also quite a large quantity of very heavy musical elements. Of course, all the arrangements on the album are in the state of constant development and, thus, are completely unpredictable. Ann Stewart's vocals are dramatic in character and are very charming. They're present on all of the tracks on the album but the aforementioned 'Cabine 67'. By the way, this is also the only composition on the album, where all the arrangements on which are exclusively fast and intensive.

Conclusion: I'm deeply impressed with the music on 'Les Morts Vont Vite'. The music here is admirably dense with a kind of a method of madness as opposed to something more varied. Still, their persistence and talent for molding a small array of timbres into almost symphonic mass is really very impressive. But, its music isn't that too much like Magma, lacking to it the energy, repetition, and funk that suffuse Magma's work. Instead, this is music of brooding intensity punctuated by glorious frenzy. This is the best Shub Niggurath's albums and it's the most approachable too. But it's not exactly an easy listening album, though. I really hope you have already this album, otherwise, you are maybe simply too frightened to face this awesome nightmare. Still, I think you must have to listen to this album, and then, maybe you will like it too. Then, you will have found the dark heart of Shub-Niggurath, and Lovecraft will be proud.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.12 | 149 ratings

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Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars After forming in 1983, bassist Alain Ballaud spent many years crafting his Paris based SHUB-NIGGURATH into a truly ugly beast that found a unique middle ground between two completely demented subgenera of progressive rock. The first would come from the rhythmic jazz-rock genre known as zeuhl developed by his fellow countryman Christian Vander in his unique musical act Magma where pulsations of sound emanate in a rather orderly fashion and create a musical backbone so to speak that extends into much larger compositional constructs. Secondly Ballaud was equally intrigued by the frightening beauty that was possible from chamber rock orchestrations from the likes of Univers Zero and Art Zoyd where freeform chamber rock elements could conspire to create soundtracks of utter gloom and doom.

While Ballaud would bring those influences to the table, keyboardist Jean-Luc Herve would bring yet another important aspect of the musical process into the picture. His direct tutelage under Gérard Grisley ushered in what is known as spectral music, which is a form of non-functional harmonic textures and exotic scales that could logically be argued were direct descendents from 20th century classical composers such as Edgar Varese, Giacinto Scelsi, Olivier Messiaen, György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis and Karlheinz Stockhausen. However, in the 70s what would be deemed as spectral music was intricately involved in the compositional process that dealt with the analysis of the sound with a spectograph and how the composer can manipulate the characteristics of the timbre. While predominantly utilized in the avant-garde reaches of 20th century classical music, SHUB-NIGGURATH adopted these principles in the context of progressive rock.

The band released a full-length demo in 1985 which took on all the characteristics of a bona fide album save the rather primitive production values, however the band had developed one of the scariest styles of music that was seemingly set for the soundtrack of the apocalypse, something the world hadn't experienced since Univers Zero's formidable "Heresie" which emerged the decade prior. While the self-titled demo would have to wait over twenty years for a proper remastering and re-release, SHUB-NIGGURATH which took its name from a deity in the H.P. Lovecraft crafted Cthulhu Mythos universe instead went back to the studio to nurture their musical madness in the form of their first official album LES MORTS VONT VITE (The Dead Go Soon) which follows in the footsteps of the demo (re-released as "Introduction" in 2009) and offers a darkened musical journey straight into the very infernal wastelands of hell.

LES MORTS VONT VITE is an interesting experience as it somehow eschews all categorization. While proceeding in a rather blatant rock context with a percussive drive, a bass driven groove and post-punk meets no wave sounding guitar torture, the music itself mirrors a far more avant-garde intellectualism reserved for the off-kilter offerings of 20th century classical composers. The zeuhl aspects bubble through in that they keep the pace as if they are an unheard driving force that only pierces through the darkened din as to keep the listener from spiraling into a dark and forbidding dimension where minds are completely lost and sanity is banished into unthinkable camps of incredulity, a place where sonic demons reign with impunity and hellish soundscapes tear souls apart for eternity.

While similar to the demo, LES MORTS VONT VITE is less forceful for the most part and also hosts a far superior production value. The guitar grunge and bass fueled doom fuzz is turned down and the acoustics of the instruments are allowed to be heard in full frightening form. The tinkling of minimalistic pianos haunt the soundscape as the spectral vocal hauntings of vocalist Ann Stewart provide a hypnotic wordless etherealness that keeps the musical outpouring from completely sinking into the darkened abyss. The addition of a bass trombone adds a mysterious serious of bleats and extra layer of rhythmic dysfunction that blends into a never- ending series of off-kilter counterpoints that offer various time signatures layered upon each other. While the track "Yog Sothoth" is recycled from the demo, the version here is completely different as it generates more of a surreal mood setting rather than an grinding doom.

The album consists of four lengthy tracks with the opener "Incipit Tragaedia" hovering near the sixteen minute mark. The first three tracks craftily navigate through mostly surreal soundscapes that incorporate the avant-prog and zeuhl elements and meld them with the classical infusions of the avant-garde. The true bombast however is reserved for the closing "La Ballade De Lénoire" which paradoxically is no ballad at all but rather a brutal mix of thundering percussive attacks, blistering bass bantering and dissonant guitar abuse straight out of the no wave playbook of bands like DNA and Theoretical Girls. Strange microtonal melodies are generated and everything seems somewhat familiar yet slightly off center, a trait that i consider quite desirable in magnificently dramatic music such as this. The 1997 CD reissue contains two equally compelling bonus tracks: "Delear Prius" and "J'ai Vu Naguère En Peinture Les Harpies Ravissant Le Repas De Phynée" which are well worth inclusion although they are quite short in comparison. This album is the stuff nightmares are made of! Some of the most brilliant sounds ever to conspire to scare the living daylights out of you. Masterpiece!

 Introduction by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 27 ratings

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Introduction
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars SHUB-NIGGURATH emerged from the fertile French underground at a time when a new chapter of progressive oriented rock had been taking on the challenge of finding its way into a new decade that wasn't so friendly to its highly innovative and experimental approach. The roots of this band emerged from another band that was known both as Apsara and Altaïs. This Paris based band was finding equal inspiration not only from their fellow progressive contemporaries Magma but also from neighboring Belgium in the terrifying chamber rock possibilities of Univers Zero. Their name is derived from one of the deities in Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft and as it turns out the perfect visual representation for the band's delving into some of the most avant-garde developments that could be classified within the greater zeuhl category.

The band was founded by Allan Ballaud sometime in 1982 or 1983 and would remain active until his untimely death from cancer in 1995. The band consisted of seven musicians in the beginning including Ballaud (bass), Franck Coulaud (drums,) Franck W. Fromy (guitars), Jean-Luc Herve (piano, organ & harmonium, Ann Stewart (vocals), Véronique Verdier (trombone) and Michel Kervinio (even more drums and percussion). This eponymously titled debut emerged initially as a demo preceding their classic album "Les Morts Vonte Vite." It emerged in 1985 as a mere cassette with a production job to match but has since been remastered and re- introduced to the band's canon in 2009 under the title INTRODUCTION. Despite the intent of a re-release there are slight differences between the original demo and the what would be called INTRODUCTION but only negligible differences well made up by the greater remastering job.

This demo is considered somewhat mandatory for SHUB-NIGGURATH fans due to the fact that the tracks never appeared on another album with the exception of the opener "Yog-Sothoth" which is a heavier and rawer version. The band's goal was obviously to create some of the darkest and most terrifying sounds ever heard. While staying within the rhythmic confines of Magma inspired zeuhl complete with the operatic vocal style of Ann Stewart, the music itself relies more on an apocalyptic "Heresie" era of Univers Zero styled chamber rock which the band pulls off effortlessly with a stellar instrumental section. One of the unique factors for SHUB-NIGGURATH was the inclusion of a bass trombone to add hitherto unthinkable bleats to their doom-laden bass fuzz and rhythmic marches into the world of dread.

This demo or INTRODUCTION is very similar to the album "Les Morts Vont Vite" as can be expected since that album continues the dynamics presented here in a more cohesively uniform fashion, however this demo provides a more intriguing experience in a frighteningly raw journey that imposes order of disparately tortured sounds through the zeuhl decree. While a rhythmic march is somewhat loosely contained, the real magic lies in the dissonant guitar squeals, the heavy bombastic outbursts and the ethereal vocal chants of Stewart. Never before has music sounded so tortured and enshrouded in darkness. Ballaud learned well from the Univers Zero playbook and upped their game exponentially.

Part of the appeal of SHUB-NIGGURATH is the fact that pianist / organist Jean-Luc Herve studied under the tutelage of 20th century classical composer Gérard Grisey who was a key figure in what was called the spectralist movement which emerged in the 70s and with the assistance of computer analysis would analyze the quality of the timbre in acoustic music derived from its synthesis, therefore a whole new method of music existing as an aesthetic rather than a distinct style emerged. While somewhat known in the avant-world of 20th century classical music, SHUB-NIGGURATH were instrumental into bringing these techniques into the greater progressive rock universe.

This debut by SHUB-NIGGURATH can really be considered a halfway point between the Kobaian zeuhl magic that Magma unleashed in the early 70s with the intricacies of chamber rock made popular by bands such as Univers Zero and Art Zoyd. While "Les Morts Vont Vite" is surely the first stop in exploring the demented and darkened world of SHUB-NIGGURATH, this debut demo turned archival is not to be missed for it is as haunting as anything you could possibly imagine with a musical backbone to match. If you seriously want some apocalyptic sounds that take you to a vast underworld of avant-extremities then don't mistake this demo for a mere weak version of the debut album. This is every bit as accomplished and worth of a prime time performance that offers tracks unavailable anywhere else.

 Shub-Niggurath by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.47 | 19 ratings

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Shub-Niggurath
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars SHUB-NIGGURATH emerged from the fertile French underground at a time when a new chapter of progressive oriented rock had been taking on the challenge of finding its way into a new decade that wasn't so friendly to its highly innovative and experimental approach. The roots of this band emerged from another band that was known both as Apsara and Altaïs. This Paris based band was finding equal inspiration not only from their fellow progressive contemporaries Magma but also from neighboring Belgium in the terrifying chamber rock possibilities of Univers Zero. Their name is derived from one of the deities in Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft and as it turns out the perfect visual representation for the band's delving into some of the most avant-garde developments that could be classified within the greater zeuhl category.

The band was founded by Allan Ballaud sometime in 1982 or 1983 and would remain active until his untimely death from cancer in 1995. The band consisted of seven musicians in the beginning including Ballaud (bass), Franck Coulaud (drums,) Franck W. Fromy (guitars), Jean-Luc Herve (piano, organ & harmonium, Ann Stewart (vocals), Véronique Verdier (trombone) and Michel Kervinio (even more drums and percussion). This eponymously titled debut emerged initially as a demo preceding their classic album "Les Morts Vonte Vite." It emerged in 1985 as a mere cassette with a production job to match but has since been remastered and re- introduced to the band's canon in 2009 under the title INTRODUCTION. Despite the intent of a re-release there are slight differences between the original demo and the what would be called INTRODUCTION but only negligible differences well made up by the greater remastering job.

This demo is considered somewhat mandatory for SHUB-NIGGURATH fans due to the fact that the tracks never appeared on another album with the exception of the opener "Yog-Sothoth" which is a heavier and rawer version. The band's goal was obviously to create some of the darkest and most terrifying sounds ever heard. While staying within the rhythmic confines of Magma inspired zeuhl complete with the operatic vocal style of Ann Stewart, the music itself relies more on an apocalyptic "Heresie" era of Univers Zero styled chamber rock which the band pulls off effortlessly with a stellar instrumental section. One of the unique factors for SHUB-NIGGURATH was the inclusion of a bass trombone to add hitherto unthinkable bleats to their doom-laden bass fuzz and rhythmic marches into the world of dread.

This demo or INTRODUCTION is very similar to the album "Les Morts Vont Vite" as can be expected since that album continues the dynamics presented here in a more cohesively uniform fashion, however this demo provides a more intriguing experience in a frighteningly raw journey that imposes order of disparately tortured sounds through the zeuhl decree. While a rhythmic march is somewhat loosely contained, the real magic lies in the dissonant guitar squeals, the heavy bombastic outbursts and the ethereal vocal chants of Stewart. Never before has music sounded so tortured and enshrouded in darkness. Ballaud learned well from the Univers Zero playbook and upped their game exponentially.

Part of the appeal of SHUB-NIGGURATH is the fact that pianist / organist Jean-Luc Herve studied under the tutelage of 20th century classical composer Gérard Grisey who was a key figure in what was called the spectralist movement which emerged in the 70s and with the assistance of computer analysis would analyze the quality of the timbre in acoustic music derived from its synthesis, therefore a whole new method of music existing as an aesthetic rather than a distinct style emerged. While somewhat known in the avant-world of 20th century classical music, SHUB-NIGGURATH were instrumental into bringing these techniques into the greater progressive rock universe.

This debut by SHUB-NIGGURATH can really be considered a halfway point between the Kobaian zeuhl magic that Magma unleashed in the early 70s with the intricacies of chamber rock made popular by bands such as Univers Zero and Art Zoyd. While "Les Morts Vont Vite" is surely the first stop in exploring the demented and darkened world of SHUB-NIGGURATH, this debut demo turned archival is not to be missed for it is as haunting as anything you could possibly imagine with a musical backbone to match. If you seriously want some apocalyptic sounds that take you to a vast underworld of avant-extremities then don't mistake this demo for a mere weak version of the debut album. This is every bit as accomplished and worth of a prime time performance that offers tracks unavailable anywhere else.

 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.12 | 149 ratings

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Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Keeping the flame of avant-prog alive in the mid-1980s, on Les Morts Vont Vite Shub-Niggurath prepare a release that exists partway between zeuhl (especially in Ann Stewart's operatic vocals) and the dark chamber RIO of Heresie-era Univers Zero (the later of which is evoked in particular by Jean-Luc Herve's harmonium). The end result takes a while to sink in, but over time I have found its finer elements begin to shine through bit by bit. The ensemble is large enough to attain a real chamber music sound, and Shub-Niggurath may be one of the few prog rock bands out there with a dedicated trombone player (in the form of Véronique Verdier), who is about to add a certain off-beat air to things.
 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.12 | 149 ratings

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Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This music has both haunted and impressed from my very listen--so much so that I have resisted writing a review for over eight years--partly out of fear, partly out of respect, partly out of feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. With this, my 1111th review, and the end of my participation as a reviewer here at ProgArchives, I am seeking to put the finishing touches on what ends up being a ten-year excursion into the introspective world of music evaluation. I have chosen to stop at the number 1111 because the repetition of the number one has been significant to me and my wife as representative of the oneness that our re-union reflects for ourselves and for all things in the Cosmos.

With Les morts vont vite Shub_Niggurath has provided me with a message of the discord, chaos, and menace that humankind is capable of ---but more, this music is starkly beautiful for exactly the reason of the projection of "evil" or "menace" or perhaps "toil" and "hopelessness" that the band seems intent upon suggesting. That Earth has been plagued by this particular adaptation of the "human" experiment is without question or doubt; that we have been a plague to one another is debatable but less certain. Humans have been very creative at devising all kinds of methods of celebrating their individual perspectives, beliefs, and values. The manifestations of expression that many of us call "evil" are just one end of the spectrum of creative potential (which, I would argue, is a circle, perhaps even a moebius strip, as all actions, events, and circumstances can be devised as having opposing effects and consequences). The music recorded herein--and released for public display, consumption, and reaction--affects me with the conjuring of sadness--the kind of visceral imagery and emotions representative of the toil of human subjugation and enslavement. The drudgery of the bass and plodding pacing, the dissonance of the chords evoked from the piano and vocalist, the terrified screams (or is it sadistic laughter?) of the electric guitar shredding (literally, shredding), all evoke within me the most cynical concepts and feelings as relatable to the hopelessness incurred and endured by the individual under conditions of abject slavery. Hell.

"The dead are going fast" says the title of the album. "Insipid tragedy" says the title of the opening song.

1. "Incipit Tragaedia" (15:46) a song of such hopelessness and despair whose music does a masterful job of sucking one into the doldrums of its "insipid tragedy" that I cannot help but admire at the creative mastery of this piece of art expressed by representatives of my own human tribe. The piano solo is great in its expression of power and fear-induction, the bass not so much, but the electric guitar is the best: diabolical! (29/30)

2. "Cabine 67" (5:55) the dissonant piano work is quite enough to get under one's skin, but then the chunky bass chords and guitar screaming and squealing are added. Yeow! The flaw here is the oddly straightforward, hopalong "Radar Love"/CountryWestern drumming choices. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that the song would be quite perfect without the driving force of the drums (as it was in the beginning)! Even the wild cymbal play in the final minute serve more to take away from the menacing mood that the other four instruments (no vocals here) seem so focused upon generating. Too bad! An incredible start gone wrong! Franck Fromy is a genius on the level of (or beyond) that of Adrian Belew. (8.5/10)

3. "Yog Sothoth" (12:27) the least engaging song on the album as it's prolonged expression of doom and gloom are drawn out so long as to seem almost comical or at least absurd--not unlike a 19th Century Gothic horror novel. Again, it is the brilliant, otherworldly manipulations of sound cast by M. Fromy via his electric guitar that provide the song's highlight moments. I wish Ann Stewart's voice had been used less as a counterpoint to the piano and bass, been given more jazzy free reign. (20/25)

4. "La Ballade De Lénore" (8:58) opens softly, respectfully, circumspectly, almost majestically or reverently with organ, trombone church-like vocal of Ann Stewart projecting their religious offering to us until 2:40 when drums, bass, and squealing, wailing, wrenching guitar jump out of the shadows to affront the holy From this point on, the band uses the music to simulate or express a kind of battle between forces of "Good" and "Evil." The use of instruments common to traditional Christian religious worship (organ, voice, and brass horn) feel like the representatives of "Good" while the cacophony unleashed by the bass, drums, and electric guitar represent those of "Evil"--at least that's how we listeners might make sense of it coming from our society's Christian traditions. Perhaps Lénore was haunted by this same internal struggle--on either a religious/spiritual level or in the form of a kind of bi-polar disorder. Another masterful rendering. (19.5/20)

Five stars; in my humble opinion Les morts vont vite is a high masterpiece of human creativity. I love and respect this album yet it is not an album I seek out very often: mostly when I want to be reminded of and marvel at the genius of the human fabrications of "evil" and "despair."

 Les morts vont vite by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.12 | 149 ratings

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Les morts vont vite
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

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.

 Testament by SHUB-NIGGURATH album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.59 | 24 ratings

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Testament
Shub-Niggurath Zeuhl

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

1 stars From dark ambient to noisy. When you are expecting Zeuhl things like this can make one disappointed, so I have tried to listen to "Testament" as it was a psychedelic or an avant album but unfortunately this none of the two.

The band members have surely had some fun in recording this noise. Only the first track, the dark-ambient one deserves to be listened. The rest as I have written is just noise, without the research of new sounds or any experimental use of the instruments. If I think to other "noisy" numbers of other bands it's always possible finding something interesting even when there is no structure to follow.

In this case there is a bit of structure, mainly in "Part III", but I find it totally uninteresting and lacking of a meaning. Maybe giving a title to the tracks could have helped the listener in catching hidden messages if any, but there are no track titles, too.

The album sleeve is totally black, so no messages at all.

The title "Testament" in this environment may signify "take my goods and do what you want"...

So we too can do what we want of this album: use it as a frisbee, tie it to a scarecrow, or even listen to it, but keep in mind that your speakers are working fine, it's the album that has something wrong.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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