Saturday, November 2, 2019

EP Review: BAUME “L'odeur de la lumière” (Pest Productions) by Dave Wolff

Location: Paris
Country: France
Genre: Experimental rock/black metal
Label: Pest Productions
Format: CD, digital, streaming
Release date: October 15, 2019
Many black metal albums have connotations of grounding, of binding to the earth. Then there are black metal albums presenting the chance to escape the physical and soar above the earth, into the atmosphere, the stratosphere, into the reaches of space and beyond. At least your higher consciousness has a connection to realms beyond the physical and the unlimited freedom to investigate them, no matter how fleeting the moment. Baume’s latest EP is one of those transcendent releases allowing you to escape the earth.
“L'odeur de la lumière” follows the 2018 full length “Les Années Décapitées” and "Lucide" the May 2019 split by Cepheide and Time Lurker. “Les Années Décapitées” was raw and minimalist with ambiance, atmosphere and themes relatively likened to old David Bowie and Pink Floyd. Not exactly the comparisons you’d make to black metal if you only hear its rawness and noise. But with extreme music continually varying and intrinsically evolving such comparisons are more self-evident. Cepheide’s split with Time Lurker proves this as the songs on that release are equally minimal while displaying the same tendency to transcend simplicity with stellar overtones.
“L'odeur de la lumière” maintains simplicity and transcendence while amping things up to a manic, almost psychotic level. At the same time, there are subtleties added giving new meaning to the term epic. You would have to listen closely to the album and EP, otherwise, you might miss the differences. While barely noticeable they’re vital to contributing to this band’s growth.
The songwriting is less minimal and more intricate, making the subtleties more enticing and unnerving. By first impressions it sounds incoherent, then it slowly begins to sink in how each instrument is included in the mix. The keyboards, ambient effects, rhythm guitars, lead and backing vocals are pushed into the background while lead guitars, bass, and drums are prominent. The album seems to have been deliberately mixed this way to make the songs colder and more encompassing with greater mystery. This presents more of an impression of silently flying above endless landscapes, watching them diminish as your surroundings turn to endless blackness.
The chaos ensuing from these arrangements are felt more tangibly than usual, and you feel drawn toward an unseen presence light-years away more strongly than usual. The intensity the band achieves working with what they have is indescribable in the sheer impact this album can have on you. Bringing black metal ever closer to personifying complete and total sonic darkness, “L'odeur de la lumière” is an opportunity to experience this darkness you cannot miss. -Dave Wolff

Gaetan Juif: Vocals, guitars, synth, drums
Hugo Beauzée-Luyssen: Bass, backing vocals
Laurene Hamery: Backing vocals

Track list:
1. I.Ainsi grossit le Ciel
2. II.L'Air Rouge
3. III.Du Sang sur les Mains
4. IV.L'Odeur de la Lumière
5. V.Les Saints des Derniers Jours

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