Pensees Nocturnes – Grand Guignol Orchestra

French black/death metal

This album represents the 6th full length material of the band. It consists of 10 tracks, and with this being said lets dive right into the songs.

The opener of the album is called “Un trop plein d’rouge” and it stands only as an introduction, in my opinion this could have been merged with the next song as it doesn’t adds too much to the atmosphere but maybe that’s just a stylistic choice of the band. The next song is titled “Deux bals dans la tete”, which doesn’t lack in demented musical cacophonies, also the blast beats that intertwine with the whole circus-like dynamic, give the flavour of this song. In continuation, “Poile de Lune” has a nice cabaret-esque touch in the middle of the song  which shifts into a blackened death infused part. The 4th track is called “L’Alpha mal” and consists on agonizing two voiced parts which I found interesting and is followed up by “L’entrangorium” having a groovy vibe but keeping the psychotic feeling. “Les Valseuses” starts with a spoken word intro that goes right into full blown madness and continues in the same manner that finally concludes in a subtle orchestra outro.

The 7th song is represented by “Gauloises ou Gitanes” and thus the name, this track has a spanish gypsy inspired theme. Up next, “Comptine a boire”, has a slower, orchestra infused instrumentation which is complimented by the sax solo at the end. What I noticed on the next track, “Anis Maudit”, was the more prominent bass.

The album concludes into “Trist Sade”. I would have hoped more from an album closing track, nonetheless, it still keeps the dramatic feeling, the organ parts at the end conclude into the album finale.

Going through the songs the first thing that got into my mind was if “Cirque du Soleil” had a baby with an insane asylum. I got the feeling the band kind of replicated the same interludes here and there. Anyway, what I appreciated a lot on this effort was the dark humour accompanied by the John-Wayne Gacy kind of clownesque  madness.

Usually I don’t like over the top use of traditional instruments on metal albums but these guys really made the most of brass instruments, piano, accordion and even Theremin on this material.

With all these being said, I found this album enjoyable as a whole, it brings an innovative sound without being too pretentious and I think most black/death metal fans, even those with elitist leanings, would dig.

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