"The Great Maddening" - CD

"Imperium Grotesque" - CD


Le Grand Guignol from Luxemburg... I can imagine that you have nor ever heard of this band, nor of a band from Luxemburg. Well, that much will change soon, as this Le Grand Guignol has the possibilities to appeal to a wider audience. Some of you might remember the band Vindsval (Falkenbach fans perhaps): well, as the band thought they had evolved so far away from their old sound, Vindsval decided to change their name into Le Grand Guignol, a macabre theatre show from a Parisian theatre that operated for sixty years (1897 – 1962). I think the new name fits the concept of "The Great Maddening" very well.

The intro refers heavily to the last Therion, Arcturus and the origin of the band’s name, as it has a kind of circus-variété-like feeling, a tune which returns in the first actual song, ‘Degenesis – Amor & Seuche’. On this album the band brings forth a music that is between gothic, theatrical avant-garde black metal, light classic music, a touch of folk, soundtracks and cabaret tunes: now there is a combination you don’t hear that often, especially not as outbalanced and fluent as this one.
The keyboards are very important to the band’s music: they are mixed in at just the same volume as the guitars. In fact, Le Grand Guignol could be seen as one of the bands that could fill in the gap after Arcturus’ end: in fact, I can see the two Pierrot-like dancers of Arcturus easily on stage with this outfit, their dances would fit in just as well with this band. All around the album the band builts in passages that could just as well be fitted into movies: as my girlfriend Kim said, it made her think of the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”… And I can only agree to that.
The vocals are mostly in a kind of rasping way, like The Covenant and other black metal acts have ‘m. Those who want their music straight forward might dislike the passages that show up throughout the album, but certain songs are very much appreciable to Covenant Fans, such as ‘The Healing Process’, or ‘Finis Coronat Opus’, in which guest female singer falls in with her opera-like and sometimes maniac voice. In 'Lucilinburhuc' the band comes forth with a pagan like feeling: these descriptions might give you an idea of what to expect from this album.

Is Le Grand Guignol the new Arcturus? No, for metal fans, I think that this is aimed a bit too high. Yet fans of gothic and avant garde black metal, who do not think it is necessary that the guitars dominate the album, this “The Great Maddening” is most certainly an album they should check out! A very nice album, especially when you consider the demanding mix of genres that Le Grand Guignol brings to us. As a mix of such genres, I think it is the best I have heard since a long time, but be warned: Le Grand Guignol is not easy listening, and it demands something from the listeners. Yet if you are willing to try it out, it might very well reward you with an album that stands out of the masses…