The Grand Guignol was a theatre
in Paris which specialized in horrific, mad and gory plays,
and had the most of its success between the two world wars.
But, what all this has to do with
Just think Arcturus or Unexpect (for the craziness) for a start...
What, you've never listened to them? Come on! Anyway, next you
add a baroque feel and neo-classical orchestrations.
OK then. Think of decadent clubs in Victorian times. Think about
drinking your tea in the moonlight while a jester pokes at you.
Think of watching a theatre play full of madmen and freaks while
a distorted orchestra plays in the background. This is Le Grand
Guignol - the band - for you.
The introducing track, Cirqvs
L., invites us to step in and watch the show, as it starts with
the rhythm of a circus fanfare before taking in classical orchestrations...
Once you're past that first step, prepare yourself, because
many sounds and orchestrations await your discovery. It isn't
the point of this review to list them all, it would have no
sense and be waaaay too long and uninteresting. Let's just say
you'll find catchy, almost danceable tunes (like some parts
of The Healing Process, or the waltz in Mens Insana In Corpore
Insano); harsh, melodic and/or dissonant vocals (mostly male,
but a female singer pops here and there), with some spoken words
too; double-bass drumming, and guitars (of course); piano, xylophone,
folk guitars... And I haven't spoken about... Let's stop here,
The metal roots of Le Grand Guignol are in black metal, even
if they don't show up too much. That's why it can be reminiscent
of Arcturus sometimes, or Notre-Dame... But then again Arcturus
never meant to be that grotesque (in a positive sense).
Sure, The Great Maddening is a
strange, bewildering listen... But isn't it what we seek in
"avant-garde" metal? So, if you consider yourself
a conoisseur of original, intelligent and crazy metal stuff,
this album is just for you.