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
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