"The Great Maddening" - CD

"Imperium Grotesque" - CD


With the unfortunate demise of Arcturus there is gaping hole left in the whimsical realms of pomposity inhabited by the black metal avant garde. Though technically a re-release, Luxembourg's Le Grand Guignol (formerly Vindsval) are clearly looking to fill said hole with their batshit insane beauty The Great Maddening.

This epic journey through eccentric fantasy is, as you would expect, all over the place. Leading us through the gates like a deranged Ringmaster is 'Circus Lausenheyser'. This riff n'synth menagerie of an introduction is presumably what Solefald's next album would sound like if Danny Elfman produced it. And then we're off. Fuzzy guitar, a variety of alternating clean/black vocals (both male and female), pianos and strings (including a shamisen) are all encased in bouncing bombast as we tour the Circe du Insanity. With some neoclassical moments reminiscent of Ensiferum and whispy synth work evocative of Hollenthon 'The Great Maddening' is masterful slab of symphonic metal.

An avant garde symphonic metal album with hints of black metal rather than the other way around, its not as guitar led or aggressive as it's comtemporaries. However, for those dissappointed by Solefald's more recent efforts and still annoyed by Vintersorg's vocals this is the perfect album.