2015 saw the release of an album which deserved far more attention than it got and warranted every syllable of praise offered its “visual and aural telescope.” Edari was the invention of French duo OMRÅDE who now return with its equally startling successor Nåde. That first full-length made ears and imagination pay attention, the second simply demands it and repays with what will surely be classed as one of the major adventures of the year.
OMRÅDE consists of vocalist/guitarist Bargnatt Xix, known elsewhere as Christophe Denhez of Nerv and previously Mur and In The Guise Of Men, and drummer/keyboardist/programmer Arsenic, christened Jean-Philippe Ouamer and the skin hitter of Idensity and formerly of Nerv. Together they weave a collection of avant-garde soundscapes nurtured from everything around the ambience hued climates of post rock, industrial, electronica, and avant-garde metal, and that is simplifying their fascinating explorations of sound and emotion. It is a mix which created a compelling proposal in the cinematic adventure of Edari and now the even more aurally haunting and stirring Nåde.
Whereas the first album felt like looking across a broad canvas of universes there is much stronger intimacy fuelling Nåde, like ears and thoughts are peering in on the tempestuous fortunes and emotions of a single soul representing the surroundings and lives within a noir lit and suffocating climate. That is not to say it does not venture through worldly landscapes too, just they all feel cored by the same instinctive melancholy and depressive clad spirit. Influences upon the project include the likes of Ulver, Manes, and God Is An Astronaut, essences certainly seeping across the new album along with an equal infusion of Nine Inch Nails/Palms scented shadows and suggestiveness.
Nåde opens up with Malum and swiftly has electronic beats and guitar coaxing ears as Denhez’ vocals share the song’s heart and beleaguered emotions. Pretty much haunting thoughts and psyche from its first breath, its inner psychosis is just as swift in stirring the imagination as vocals hint at a soul trapped yet seemingly revelling in the inevitability of inescapable turmoil. Strings and brass soon after bring their seductive shadows and flames respectively to the blossoming atmosphere and body of the song, a cinematic wash in tow yet that personal dispute continues to voice things. It is a stunning piece of music and vocal insight, instantly surpassing anything on that impressive first album and just the start of a uniquely stirring journey.
The following XII has a gentler touch, its hazy atmosphere jazzy and sombre yet with a warm glow which only attracts like a night’s final brandy. Keys tease as Leo Sors’ guesting sax woozily blows with suggestive prowess, each flame embracing reflective vocals and in turn a hotly simmering funk shuffle. With Bernard-Yves Querel adding his guitar, the track at times is something akin to 6:33 certainly with the emerging depths and mercurial intensity of the track; ears and imagination enthralled and sucked into its unpredictable enterprise and dark instrumental theatre. Whereas the first was physically provocative, the second is emotionally inciting with just as rich results before the outstanding Enter beckons the listener into its melodically woven, progressively shaped, and increasingly virulent proposal. With a snarling brooding within the guitars and an unstoppable catchiness lining its brewing rapacity, the song is a lively cauldron of infectiousness and trespassing anxiety, each conflicting with and accentuating the other.
Hänelle is pure heart ruptured melancholy, another track which builds in intensity and intimate drama on every level from an initial smoulder nurtured as much by Jonathan Maronnier ‘s clarinet as emotional shadows while Styrking Leið is a haunted croon; a siren like lure of vocals and keys and if slower to tempt as its predecessors simply growing into another lingering highlight especially with its increasing visual potency and emotional desperation. The song sees Edgard Chevallier guesting on guitar while next up The Same For The Worst features additional vocals from L. Chuck D in its jazzy intoxication with Julien Gebenholtz’s bass a captivating pleasure all on its own. Becoming more fevered and intense with emotion as sounds share a volatile almost bedlamic restlessness, the track has ears and thoughts gripped. Certainly it is not the easiest listen within Nåde but boy is it one of the most rewarding and impacting.
The final pair of tracks ensure captivation and pleasure is as burning as ever. Baldar Jainko is as similarly intensive as the previous track, its heart and scenery a sharing and conflict of peace and faith with emotions and suggestiveness working on personal and worldly levels. Closing track, Falaich, is almost apocalyptic in tone and touch; an epilogue or portent of our emotional and physical destructions and apathy to it which is seriously gripping from start to finish and only increasing the vice as it provokes the darkest thoughts and richest enjoyment.
It is easy to suggest that if Edari impressed and impacted on you previously, Nåde will blow you away and for newcomers to OMRÅDE, the moment when music might just become much more than ear pleasing.
Nåde is released May 26th via My Kingdom Music.
Pete RingMaster 26/05/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright