Album review: CREPUSCULE – Vivv

Crepuscule - Vivv

Self-released – Release Date: 18 July 2014

This is definitely an album of despites.

Despite having a name that sounds like a pustulent sore, despite having a cover that Slipknot might well have found too scary and despite the entire album being sung in French – a listen to ‘Vivv’ confirms the maxim ‘first appearances can be deceptive’.

For this is not some grinding apocalyptic thrash-fest with French death growling (grondement de la mort (!)) – but other-worldly melodic progressive rock in the vein of ‘Floyd with the melancholia of French veterans Ange and the left field leanings of Magma.

For the record, Crepuscule means ‘twilight’ in French and is a much more apposite name for the music that they produce.

Formed in Karlsruhe in southern Germany close to the French border by brothers Gerald and Franco Rouvinez (electric guitar and synth/vocals respectively), the decision was made at an early stage to use their native language to express the emotional aspect of their work.

Whether this was the right decision is a moot point, as French, despite being a romantic spoken language, when sung can come across as either too intense or overly frivolous and vocalist Franco Rouvinez epitomises this with a foot firmly planted in both camps.

Nonetheless, if you can get past this, Vivv is actually a very fine progressive rock album with some stunning musical passages – in fact, were it purely an instrumental album the accumulation of five stars may not have been out of the question.

Fifteen tracks in total with a total running time of over seventy minutes, Vivv is a concept album echoing George Orwell’s dystopian visions in ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’, though naturally, if French is not your first language, much of the narrative will be lost.

It is worth persevering however as the band are obviously masters of their instruments and the mixture of genres, often within the confines of one track is very impressive.

Gunter Kern’s keyboard work is particularly fine, swooping and soaring between the classic prog guitar work of Gerald Rouvinez and the introduction of violin and saxophone keeps the interest factor at a high level.

Mention must be made of the packaging (apparently important to the band) as the disc is housed in a DVD case and comes complete with a 96 page book telling the story of the concept together with the lyrics – unfortunately only in French and German.

In summary an exceptional progressive rock album – but with the caveat of the French libretto which will certainly – and unfortunately – limit its appeal.

***1/2

Review by Alan Jones

 


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