VARIOUS ARTISTS
A.Va.Lon
(Collectif Eptagon)
102:31min

Eptagon is an artist collective founded in Grenoble (France) in 2016. It houses projects ranging from extreme Metal bands to digital art. What we have here is a representation of the roster that Eptagon currently houses and virtually all projects are unique. This 2 CD compilation is over 100 minutes with 17 tracks. We kick off this ambitious compilation with KISIN’s track ‘Beyond Soul’ which is a nice tight Black Metal song with standard riffing and delivery. Although a short track it is structured as a traditional Death Metal song, this offers an excellent insight into the band’s music and I for sure will check out their other releases. Next is FAITH IN AGONY, an Alternative Metal band from Grenoble, France who spiritually derive the sound from ALICE IN CHAINS. The vocals are the highlight here. Absolutely dreamy and so well done, they alone carry the track with the rhythm providing an exceptional support. This is a really well done track and provides a wonderful view into the band’s capabilities, definitely worth checking their other material. As a side note, the vocalist also sings in NIGHTMARE. Next up is EPITAPH, the transition is rather sudden and I wasn’t ready for submarine-level-tuned guitars and ferocious vocal attack. Absolutely kickass execution, do note that the band is now known as EPITAPHE and have released a phenomenal record titled “I” in 2019. EPITAPH’s track is a hazy, fuzzy, heavy and fast Death Metal track! DEMENSEED is up next with their brand of atmospheric Black Metal inspired Death Metal, this is the longest track on CD 1. ‘Mineral Wisdom’ is a mid-tempo track which is quite impressive. No, the riffs aren’t out of the world, but the song has been written really well, it simply flows easily without any distractions. Never once I thought about its length and the production is well done. This is good Death Metal and perfect live material! Moving on is the instrumental track by JAMBALAY WINDOW which is a modern Death Metal track akin to what the popular bands produce these days. Well done but not entirely my thing. ROBUSUTA’s track ‘Arashi’ is a moving melancholic spacey track in the vein of traditional Post Rock. It’s a beautiful, slow and atmospheric experiment which takes its time to build and assemble sonic walkways through the instruments. LIQUID FLESH present the next assault, they released a full length last year “Chair Liquide” which was quite decent and had a kickass cover. This is the live rendition of their track ‘Pluie Acide’ from “Chair Liquide” which is your standard Death Metal and a good pub-gig material. What we have next is rather interesting. ANTI-DOULEUR’s ‘Beyrouth’ is a stellar Saxophone track which begins with delicate drumming and intricate basslines which could easily be in the background of the cult movie Blade Runner. This is a slow paced, reptile motioned intimate look into your mind as it expands and reacts to the environment outside. However, as the song comes to an end, it breaks off into a medley of ferocious guitars and drumming with Saxophone taking charge, this is not a new experiment with sounds but it’s quite well done! ‘Amass’ the next track is an alternate version recorded during the “Drowned” sessions by BARÚS, experimental at heart, the drumming is stellar here. I actually wish it just went on and on. Subtly atmospheric and structurally liquid, this is a brilliant derivation of Death Metal. Coming over to CD 2 now, the opener ‘Untitled # 2’ by MIST IC0NES seems like a section from an improvisational session. The song is pretty much effects, melody and gentle atmosphere. Quite relaxing! There’s a sample thrown in between and it sits in between pretty well. Nicolas Gaillardon a.k.a Paranoid Summer’s ‘Syrup’ is a soundtrack for the post apocalyptic summer. This is the breeze of static coupled with layers of time as every single layer is observed, recorded and discarded. Simply beautiful! To also note that Nicolas has designed the cover for this compilation and it is a fantastic one. The next track ‘Glass’ by ALSO SPRACH can fit into the soundtrack of “Lost In Translation”, it’s a simple electronic well panned track that I’d love to listen to during a long drive. Next up is IRANON, the solo project of Luc Messina, who is also deeply involved in the bands LIQUID FLESH and DEMENSEED. This is surprisingly a complete u-turn, this is a simple electronic beat that blends in with neat synth pieces. Quite enjoyable in the background and can easily be fitted into the backgrounds of one of these modern advertisements or true crime documentaries. THEDECAY’s next piece I dare say has some Folk touches to it, an instrumental acoustic piece with what I guess is some programming. I’d love to hear this tune in an Irish pub on a lazy Friday evening! FLACA BOONSE’s glitchy ‘Zram’ is a simple 2 minute signal experiment and will be over before you know it. I have to add it is quite eerie, it’s almost like the soundtrack to a late 80s horror movie with a strict budget for production. Anyway, apologies FRANCIS & THE ISLAND, I do not speak your tongue so I’ll politely skip this over. Finally, the longest track of this compilation across both discs, ORCAE’s ‘Tarmac’ which is an epic 17 minute track that picks the pace from the get go. It takes us to the cyberpunk cities of the future and blends in signal noise relayed across centuries. There’s a minimalistic touch of pace now and then, otherwise this track presents a brilliant end to this compilation. It’s neither overdone nor is it unnecessarily long, it’s the right length when you get to the end of it. One can easily mistake it for the new soundtrack for consciousness overhaul. I was not expecting this at all, although the song strips to essential bare bones post 5 minutes, it picks up other aspects of atmosphere and signal atrophy. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation and will definitely purchase it from their Bandcamp. This is a fantastic display of the artists and their visions, I’m glad to be looking at beyond Metal music. Recommended! Please get a copy. For more information please visit: www.facebook.com/collectif.eptagon, https://collectifeptagon.bandcamp.com

Vamsi Kanagovi

Vamsi Kanagovi

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