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Shub-Niggurath - Les morts vont vite CD (album) cover





4.08 | 161 ratings

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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.

Pafnutij | 2/5 |


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