Mordiggan – Metamorphose
28/10/2004 § Leave a comment
I don’t mind admitting that I was wary about trying this one out, but due to various methods of exposure to the French culture over the past few months, I decided to acquiesce in its favour. Having a metal band from France just seems very silly to me. I remember when I was listening to FFF a few years ago it seemed fine, but now I just think that when people sing in French in an aggressive way that they’re taking the piss. I imagine Monty Python could not have made any reasonable prediction that whenever I think of singers in French rock bands now I think of a Frenchman on top of a castle shouting in a stereotyped but strangely accurate way, but unfortunately that’s often the case. However, this makes no mark on my impressions of Mordiggan, since this time I can take it all seriously again, the reason being that this little-known band have come up with something rather good here that throws any preconceptions and stereotypes hors de la fenêtre.
And thank God for that. Otherwise the beast of transcontinental discord that feasts on stereotype might have urged me to throw this one on the ‘experience’ pile along with my Sattre and Saint Exupéry. But French cinema is getting more assertive, and there’s no reason why another area of the Arts shouldn’t follow suit. We’re all prone and vulnerable to the vestiges of media surging through our subcultures after all. Mordiggan have come up with quite a superb piece of work here, an album of ten really quite stunning songs [all killers, no fillers, as they say] and I breathed a sigh of relief at the thought that someone somewhere is producing decent material when many of the bands at this end of the metal scene have settled into their formulas.
The BnB in Metamorphose is very good indeed, and though none of the stuff here is startlingly original, that doesn’t really matter since the songs are so good in their own rights. However, don’t let the moniker of BnB make you think that you’ll get some violins and choirs here or maybe even the odd synth filling and bloating the background chords, you’ll get so such luck, but you might find some flutes cruising the cadences. Either this band are traditionalists or they’re on a budget, and judging by the slightly mushy production I’d say it was the latter. Nevertheless, this can be overlooked very easily because the songs are so good and the vocals are first class. Sophie has a beautiful voice and she hits the notes effortlessly. It’s a pleasure to be relaxed enough in the company of a composite vocalist so as not have to worry that she’s going to slide off her vocal register at some point. What’s also nice to see is that the clean male vocals harmonise with the female a lot of the time, which is a nice simple touch that you’d think there’d be more of in BnB. The growls themselves are few and far between and are perfectly inoffensive, probably only existing so this band could call themselves a BnB outfit.
It all starts off with the wonderful Prelude au Crime, which is probably the track I’ve sat and listened to the most off any album over the past few months. The distortion is intentionally jerky, though fast-paced in places. Mordiggan seem to realise that loud passages can be just as effective as complete silence, and they really use the rests between the chords to thoroughly impressive effect. Signe de Vie, Visionairre and Peur de Vide are all fantastic numbers and each track seems to beat its forerunner until we get to the shockingly heavy Des Lignes et Des Hommes. However, though the BnB here may be top-notch, it’s not the kind of stuff that everyone will like. A lot of people reading this could think that Mordiggan sound like one of the most amazing bands to come into the scene for a while, though they’re likely to appeal to only those who favour the grittier rather than the polished side of BnB. We’re steering totally away from the world of TSOTB and Sirenia here into the realm of Dakrua and Darzamat, though punctuated by French flair, but there’s nothing laissez-faire about it.
Getting into Metamorphose doesn’t take long and once you do you should be very surprised with what it gives to you. Mordiggan are clearly a band with a lot of promise, and like with much new talent knocking around at the moment, I get the feeling that the best is yet to come. The only thing that would really need to be sorted out on their next offering would be the production and then we’d all have a splendid album on our hands, apart from those of us who have a problem with the fact that Mordiggan sing in French, though if they sung in English we’d probably be back in Monty Python territory. However, French is a beautiful language which just accentuates the whole concept of BnB when set against a heavy musical backdrop. I’d be shocked if this band did anything but get even better from here.