Sonicbond [Release date 25.04.18]
Prog – metal. Umm. I don’t mind a bit of the former, but, for me, metal needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of melody to float my boat. And decent female vocals don’t go a miss either.
Well, as luck would have it, French band Weend’ô (pronounced Window) tick both those boxes on the follow up to their debut You Need To Know Yourself (2012).
Something of a ‘concept’ album – a rallying a call in the face of the world’s afflictions -side one features Time Of Awakening Parts 1, 2 and 3. And side 2, the single(?) Angel Dust, and another extended piece – Elea Parts 1 & 2.
Time Of Awaking is made up of three seamless parts. Part 1 features an ambient Alan Parsons Eve / Pyramids /Turn Of A Friendly Card style pulsing intro and heavenly vocals from singer / keyboardist Laetitia Chaudemanche. Those give way to some lovely, fluid, lead guitar from Térence N’Guyen, underpinned by the driving rhythm section of Maxime Rami (bass) and Nathanaël Buis (drums), and some suitably understated, but powerful, riff runs.
It’s a highly impressive opener….. that spills over into Part 2 – a delicate piano piece, again featuring some excellent vocals, that after a brief ambient interlude segues into Part 3 which begins with some similarly evocative picked acoustic guitar, from which a storm brews – a brooding melee of crunching guitar work and riff runs, with Chaudemanche’s vocals providing the melody, culminating in an extended flurry of soaring lead guitar lines.
Side 2 offers much of the same. Angel Dust, another stretched out number, starts with a brief burst of staccato riffs before giving way to Chaudemanche’s seductive vocals floated over an easy listening melodic rhythm dominated by Rami’s bass and then shifts onward through an extended proggy work out and on to a ‘full on’ finale. And Elea (Parts 1 and 2) is another intense, powerful piece that broods and builds to a frenetic climax, throwing just about everything (including a few (unnecessary) male growls) into the mix.
The production, in particular deserves mention – a lovely crystal clear sound, and the band appear to have all the ammunition in their arsenal necessary to find favour this side of the Channel (and beyond). ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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