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Rhn - Fanfare Du Chaos CD (album) cover





4.02 | 56 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars There's been a few interesting Zeuhl related albums this year, and there's no denying there are several bands offering some interesting and exciting variations on the genre that was founded by the wonderful Magma (who themsleves also issued a sublime album `Felicite Thosz' not too long ago). I've yet to hear the latest Unit Wail album, although they're not purely Zeuhl, but in addition to Setna's latest `Guerison', which was more joyful, melodic and even incorporated other genres such as Canterbury jazz, we;ve now got Rhun and their stunning debut `Fanfare du Chaos'. Essentially comprised of two recording sessions, more or less an EP each, both have quite a different sound, but are equally as exciting as each-other. Like Italy's Universal Totem Orchestra, Rhun's work is also supremely dark and frequently gothic influenced, with thick distored bass and repetitive maddening chanted vocals that bring a definite sense of tension and unease for a manic, schizophrenic assault on the senses. Add in saxophone, flute, bassoon, clarinet and horns and you've got a mess of instruments to soundtrack any coming apocalypse. Even the cold cover artwork reinforces the shadowy, very sinister nature of much of the music.

`Toz' is comprised of a storm of male/female crooned scat vocals that dart from intimidating to frantic, urgent squawking sax, plucky distorted bass and wild electric guitar violation - every second totally unhinged and delirious. For the briefest moments the flute will turn more gentle, but it's all to be a beautiful lie, a sadistic and merely teased respite. Back and forth the band come crashing back in, extreme King Crimson senses-shattering guitar mangling, dirty bashing drumming and female wailing breaking you into submission. Oppressive hypnotic chanting bears down on top of you, the flute takes on a prancing darting ghostly glee. The final few minutes blend into `Intermud', making for an extended flute/oboe/clarinet interlude, sedate and sorrowful, creating just the right amount of unease and wicked playfulness, instantly reminding me of Univers Zero or Present. `Dunb' then stomps right down on you, the unholy choir completely overwhelming as the piece jumps back and forth in tempo. Sure, you'll get dreamier calm passages to let you catch your breath, but before long it's back to snapping, searing, spitting tension. This complex and careful mix of various instruments and crisp production means this ambitious 21 minute piece is frequently cinematic in scope, like the soundtrack to an intense horror movie. It shares the same stalking slashing terror of Dun's classic `Eros'.

The remainder of the disc is comprised of three jazzier styled demo recordings dating from 2008, very different in tone to the preceding tracks. Unlike the first few pieces that essentially form a complete multi-suite piece, the remaining three here all stand as separate entitites from each-other, all with a very unique and different sound. `Bumlo' initially favours the jazzier sounds more along the lines of Magma's `1001 Degrees Centigrade'-era, even the male chanted vocals especially sound like Christian Vander, not counting the shrieking deranged escaped asylum patient howls in the second half! Slithering lurking bass, military drumming and dying animal saxophones help the piece spiral ever downards into the darkest dungeons in the finale. `Mluez' begins with the same upbeat breeze of Setna's recent album, very flightly uptempo jazz and cooed female harmonies, but soon it's all honking confident saxes, darting flute and supremly dirty groovy bass - certainly the most foot-tapping piece on the album! `Ih' enters spacerock territory, with a nice ambient opening full of phasing mantra-like feedback-driven electric guitar, almost sounding like late 60's David Gilmour/Pink Floyd, gothic chanteusse female vocals, deeply purred taunting male call-and- response passages and more noisy debauchered bass grooving and murky sax.

Do yourself a favour and check out the Bandcamp site for the band to give the album a spin, or better yet, just buy the CD! I bought it without hearing a second of it, just the recommendation of fellow Archives reviewer and my friend Sagicham was enough, and I certainly wasn't let down by it. The album offers two recording sessions from the band that sound quite different from each-other, but both are full of thrilling and adventurous Zeuhl flavours. I think of the two I actually favour the more 70's influenced second half, but it's all first-rate. The debut Rhun disc is for lovers of the seedier, more intense side of Zeuhl, and even gothic music fans would be wise to look into this. It's an exceptional and fascinating dark release, and is one of the finest modern Zeuhl releases.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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