"The Great Maddening" - CD

"Imperium Grotesque" - CD


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 metal?
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, shall we?
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.
Darkside Momo