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Angellore - La Litanie des Cendres

Angellore -CD Review
La Litanie des Cendres


La Litaniedes Cendres 



CD Info
Shunu Records
5 Tracks
English lyrics


Angellore is French Gothic Doom, very possibly my favorite style of music. Not everyone does this stuff, you get more in Eastern Europe than Western, and, in the US, well, the Beib rarely goes in this direction. So, you have to travel to get it but, its worth the effort. Angellore is actually more of a male vocal oriented band but, with this release, they tried something different. The explanation goes as follows: “As soon as the work on ‘Errances’ was finished, Rosarius (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals), Ronnie (drums) and I (keyboards, vocals) started to talk about the idea of hiring a female vocalist as a guest to sing on our next album. But even if we were tempted, Ronnie and I were also a bit reluctant at first: Angellore sounded pretty unique to our ears because it was only featuring male vocals. Plus, Rosarius has a very high vocal range, and a lot of people were absolutely convinced to hear female vocals on our first album already, although there were none and it was only him singing the high-pitched notes!! So, in 2011, we did a rehearsal with a female vocalist, a girl we knew, just to give it a try. We were not super impressed, but thought it might work in the future. Then, Rosarius told us that his girlfriend, Lucia, had 7 years of professional singing behind her. She didn't know if she wanted to sing again because of bad experiences in the past, but with time and patience, he managed to convince her to at least give it a try. He wrote a very short demo of a song, that would become ‘Still Glowing Ashes’, featuring only Lucia's vocals. It was a big shock for me: I immediately fell in love with this voice and really wanted to hear Lucia on our album. She's a very nice and talented person, easy to work with, who has a metal background like us and who is very open-minded. Although she never recorded into a professional studio before, or was never a part of any band, she quickly adapted to the situation. She's always trying to do her best to give justice to the songs. She's ‘only’ a guest for now, but we are so satisfied with what she did on ‘La Litanie des Cendres’ that we know we're already going to work with her on a regular basis in the future. Actually, we already started to write some new songs, and most of them feature female vocals. This adds a touch of softness, fragelness, passion and melancholy in Angellore's music and it really feels right.”

There aren’t a lot of short tracks here, they tend to be rather long. There’s only 5 songs but the release is some 60 minutes. And the band packs a lot of fine music into those 60 minutes. You may have noticed above that 2 of the three musicians listed do keyboards, which means you get a lot of that here. There’s some fine symphonic Doom, music to take us to the darkness that seems to be the theme of Angellore’s music. The vocals are also more than adequate; both the male and the female. The growling is about as good as it gets in this genre, and, positioned against the lovely sounds presented by Lucia, they are a signature component of the release.

It’s interesting to hear how bands like this come about. There are lots of ways, there are lots of paths that lead to a successful musical entity. The story here goes as follows: “Rosarius and I met in 2007 through internet, sharing a similar passion for melodic doom metal. Soon after we started to talk, we decided to start a band together. Before writing a single note, we had the name of the project and knew exactly what we wanted to play: atmospheric/melodic doom metal as it was done during the 90s. We also decided to bring our own influences into the mix: a bit of folk, and a bit of gothic, to add some colours and contrasts to our works. In 2009, we decided to take Angellore to the next level and hired Ronnie. His arrival changed everything. Our songs became more metal, and instead of writing and recording in my shitty home-studio, we could do a real album recorded in a professional environment. So, that's what we did with ‘Errances’, our first record, filled with passion. It was really hard to give birth to this album as we had plenty of issues, in and out of the studio. I almost gave up several times and felt pretty distressed at some point. But we managed to get through with it and do a second one, more refined: ‘La Litanie des Cendres’. Musically, we took a step away from our influences (Draconian, Saturnus, etc) to try to write the music we wanted to hear, without trying to emulate or copy any of our favourite bands. I think Angellore has now found its personality, with the longer and more atmospheric sounds and songs, and the mix of growls/male and female vocals. Although we will keep on evolving, we'll always remain a melodic doom metal band.”

Well, at some point we need to talk about those 5 tracks. They are clearly an interpretation of Gothic Doom, a style that makes use of a particular musical style combined with a lyrical thread that takes us to dark places. The music goes traditionally in a funeral oriented direction, even when it tends to harden on those brief moments when they want to pick up the pace. It’s just a faster walk to the grave yard. But, in this instance, the band decided they needed a femme vox to darken the waltz. But that selection was intended to make use of lyrics that clearly required a dark interpretation. They described that direction this way: “Just like the music, Rosarius and I do everything together. It's actually interesting on this album to see that I wrote ‘Twilight's Embrace’ alone, music and lyrics, and Rosarius doesn't do lead vocals on this one, and he wrote ‘Inertia’ himself, lyrics and music, and I'm not singing on that one at all. On the other songs, you can hear what we do when we work together, but these too show the different sides of our personalities. I suppose the main themes of the lyrics are the lost love, the romantic passion, the need for escapism, the beauty of nature, inner struggles and torment. We tried to improve our lyrics between the two albums, and I'm working harder on them now to make them even more personal and well-written.”

With this style of music there is a tradition of providing fairly Doom oriented sounds. Some are better than others at providing this capability, Angellore is about as good as you could expect. The sound is dark, the musical quality is better than what we typically get, especially given that they tend to work a lot with keyboards and sounds that evolve from that basic capability. So, from there we tend to look at the vocals, the additional sounds that enhance that basic direction. And, as much as anything, we look at lyrics. You can’t do a Beib or Country Western sound track here, you have to have something a little more profound. This speaks to the more eternal, to the more life defining concepts we experience during our days in this reality. Life is a gift, or, maybe a damnation, depends on your orientation, your perception of your reality. Not everyone lives the American Yupi experience, and, even those who do tend to overdose frequently. This music talks about the underside of life, it talks about the experience of those who are more comfortable looking at the total package, especially the parts we don’t talk about at cocktail parties.

The release begins with A Shrine of Clouds. This one goes a little more in the direction of the Gothic initially, there’s a little more guitar beat, the drums pound out a sound that might even work in a dance hall. But, as the vocals begin we understand that this will be a dark music. The growling is intense, the message takes us to darker shores:

Is there anything left / Along the dying skyline
Apart from this light which fades / Kissing the world goodbye?

At dusk, when shadows grow / Behold the shining veil
The secrets kept unfolded / The wind, a sigh from the angels

Burden of a meaningless life / Infinite darkness freezes the hearts
Godlike wrath gathering clouds / Nights of pain upon the empty earth

At this point, the femme vox joins the story, with an even darker perspective.

And I drown, and I fly / And I’m hearing the wind / And I cry with the clouds
And I’m hearing the past / And I pray, I’m away / And I close my eyes
And I stand alone / In a little shrine of clouds / And I drown, and I fly
Surrounded by their graves

At this point, the track begins a different direction, we move to doom, instrumental doom that provides a completely different feel. The symphonic returns at some point, with a clean male vocal. We’ve heard at least 4 completely different sounds in one track, each a classic.

The following 3 tracks cover some 26 minutes of Gothic Doom with equally interesting musical and lyrical themes and sounds. But, it’s the final track, Moonflower, that provides us with a statement hard to ignore. It’s nearly 20 minutes and goes in multiple directions, beginning with a near classical piano. But, the other components join in over time and we are provided a listening experience that serves to define the genre. Uplifting it’s not, we are taken to a place where desolation rules, where hopelessness is the order of the day. Beautiful, yes, musically rewarding, more than you can realize. The lyrical work is limited and doesn’t even begin until the 5th minute. And it provides no comfort:

Like the poisoned scent of my hollow dream
A deadly wind touches my face and freezes my last tears
The absence of love inflames my sadness for living
How would I go on without the promise to feel again?

The femme vox does nothing to lighten the mood:

I'm standing alone / While you're vanishing in the sky
I breathe no more / You leave me behind with no words
Moonflower / Your beauty shines over my soul / But I'll never get to you

The track continues for some 12 additional minutes and provides an interpretation of the genre that has few equals.

If you treasure Gothic Doom as I do, this one is going to be hard to ignore. The music is over the top, the vocals outstanding, the thoughts, the poetry, solid in every regard. This is music to spend hours with.