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xx Xx - Rvrt CD (album) cover


xx Xx


Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 5 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The term "progressive" gets tossed around a lot in the 20th century but in reality most bands that don this description on their badge are actually just participating in a form of retro worship of their favorite 70s prog bands with touches of modernity. Thankfully there are still bands who put the true meaning back into the word "progressive" and actually nudge a musical genre (or two) a few notches into hitherto unexplored directions and take the listener on a true intergalactic sonic experience where despite hosting similarities with past bands is more akin to a convergent evolutionary feel sort of like life sprouting up simultaneously in the universe under the same laws of physics but evolves into something very similar but weirdly different. The music sounds like the perfect sonic companion to the organic yet freaky logo and album cover that graces the listener's first impression.

XX XX is one of those strange bands that have managed to take existing musical genres and put them in a blender and seeded them with kernels of creativity and reaped their harvests in most peculiar ways. The band originates from the Normandy coastal region of France in the small city of Dieppe but one would be hard pressed to discern such a fact from the lyrics alone since like their fellow countrymen Magma, they have invented their own unique language with a basic vocabulary of about 300 words to grace their musical expressions which adds a whole extra layer of exoticness and complexity which is explained on their BandCamp site. The name of the band isn't an umlaut lover's cutesy version of "hugs and kisses" but rather is a code that means 69 in their invented language. RVRT is their debut release and the music is very much like the eerie artwork that graces the cover. XX XX is truly a unique band that takes various elements of doom and gothic metal and mixes it with symphonic classical, dark ambient, chamber music and avant-garde time signatures that unpredictably hop, skip and jump from one passage to another eschewing virtually any known methods of songwriting construction. The music generally marches along at mid-tempo with occasional outbursts of energy.

The album begins with thundering percussive claps, demonic church organs and a group sing along with the lead gothic male vocals of Laurent Lunois becoming joined in by the female ethereal vocals of Laure Le Prunenec aka Rcnn. Like all the monstrously long and slowly wending and winding tracks on RVRT, "grth" takes its time to build up its thick atmospheres and musical intensity that delivers a synth-drenched gothic metal extravaganza with beautifully twisted classical melodies gone wild. The track is very representative of the entire album and RVRT really feels like variations of a single theme and at 77:57, a very long demanding theme but somehow this band is capable of delivering enough hooks and variations of the passages to keep my attention fully focused on their weird and twisted avant-garde take on perhaps a metal take on "Phantom Of The Opera" and even makes me think of what would happen if an avant-garde metal band like Unexpect joined in with goth tinged Type O Negative to create a mesmerizing, energetic and utterly unforgettable experience.

While the music is fairly consistent in its atmospheric delivery making me think of a haunted evening at Notre Dame where the spirits are restless, the moon is full and all kinds of dark magic is afoot, the unpredictability really comes in how the band unfold their tracks in the songwriting department. At times we will hear a Chopin-esque classical keyboard run accompanied by doom metal guitars, highly technical percussive chops with eerie synthesizers and Gothic vocal motifs and at other times whizzing harpsichords accompanied by string ensembles and operatic vocal interactions A combo of effects that leaves me begging for more. While RVRT is generally tagged as avant-garde metal, the truth is that the metal only occurs a portion of the time with many long passages being performed exclusively on piano, others on synth and others on drums with the metal only joining for the more aggressive sections. Whatever you want to call this, it is truly one that demands a few listens to sink in but one that has been enjoying a regular rotational spin in my world. The musical flow is totally intense and the vocals sung in this exotic language take the listener to extreme musical realms where the celestial and terrestrial temporarily become one.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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