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Carmen Sea - Hiss Award winner

Carmen Sea
by Metal Wim at 18 January 2022, 8:33 PM

I haven't listened to a record as often as I have with the French band CARMEN SEA. Just to make sure that my thoughts on their music is justified. Because I am loving this like mad. As far as I can gather this is their first release. HISS is the most disturbing and brilliant instrumental EP I have the pleasure of undergoing in years. Because this isn't something you just listen to, this is an experience on it's own. And it's not tainted by someone trying to use vocals over these overwhelming soundscapes.

When the metal genre really came to life at the end of the seventies, they said it was supposed to be very annoying to your parents. Well, HISS and CARMEN SEA are not just annoying, they are a major distraction. This will sound disturbing to your housemates, this will drive your neighbours to madness and your parents to chuck you (and your stereo) out of the house. And to surprise you even more, the instrument that is the driving source in all this is the violin. When Joachim Baumerder starts going you will know he's there, and when he's not, you'll miss him. All the guys in the band are excellent in their own right, and they have made my year 2022 start off with a massive bang.

CARMEN SEA reminds me of a mix of the complexity of PORCUPINE TREE, snips of TOOL and the subtlety of THE PINEAPPLE THIEF working closely together with the aggression of NINE INCH NAILS and bouts of GODFLESH. How unlikely this all may sound, it does all fit in well with each other, even on these non standard songs. HISS starts off with “Frames”, and you could say it might have come straight out of The Exorcist, quickly turning into a NIN influenced piece of art. On “Black Echoes” you have a more proggy sound, but still the violin is able to make you squirm when it wants to. This is really heavy and thumping. “Anthems” also could have been made for a movie. Threatening sounds that will make you look over your shoulder, just to see if there's nothing or no-one lurking behind you.

“A Last Call” starts off really quiet, but soon turns into a very impressive introverted piece that has THE PINEAPPLE THIEF written all over it. But the real masterpiece is “Glow In Space”, where all the influences I have mentioned are used in over 11 minutes of disturbingly brilliant music. At the start the violin sounds like a recorder, building its momentum, but soon it comes more into it's own and turns the song into an anthem in its own right, and the pinnacle of this stunningly masterful EP.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Frames
2. Black Echoes
3. Anthems For
4. A Last Call
5. Glow In Space
Joachim Baumerder - Violin
Etienne Ouradou - Guitar
Vivien Cheneveau - Bass
Baptiste Marzano - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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