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Creature - Eloge De L'Ombre Award winner

Eloge De L'Ombre
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 December 2021, 9:18 AM

Formed in France several years ago, the Avant-Garde/Progressive Metal/Black Metal amalgam here has released three prior albums each year counting to 2021. Without an information in their EPK, all I have to go on are the Metal Archives, which states that “Eloge De L'Ombre” is his forth release, and contains 12 tracks. I, Voidhanger Records is one of the most unique labels out there, without concern for convention, so I am eager to hear this album.

“Venin” leads us off. It’s a short mood setter, opening with a barrage of guitars, keys, bass, and drums. The vocals are vile and harrowing. “Conscience Mécanique” begins with more heavy guitars and a feeling of the macabre. I love the way the keyboards work into the mix…they are old school sounding while the rest of the music remains quite modern. There are also some clean guitar passages, and it’s easy to make the comparison with country-mates GOJIRA, yet some similarities are there. “Météorite” opens with clean guitars and a somber, almost emotionless feeling. The atmosphere is so tense you could cut it with a knife. Clean vocals harmonies work very well with the keyboards here, and the melody is as attractive as it is scary.

“Noire” is a clean vocal song again with that mix of scary elements in the music yet almost inviting to the touch. But be careful what you are reaching for…the smiling little creature might just bite your hand off. “L'Empire Des Singes” begins with heavier, punishing guitars and harsh vocals that are deep and frightening. Progressive elements appear in the form of the ever-shifting meter and keyboard ambiance. Thick, meaty bass guitar notes open “Maussade.” This slower moving song allows the various elements to really sink in, and you can marvel at their diversity. The melodies here are very delicate, yet he lets them out for brief moments to break up the heavy sequence of guitars and vocals. The marching tones at the end sound magnanimous.

“Alternative” begins with slow, melancholy clean guitars and some spacy keys. You are lead off the path and into deep of the woods. Keeping your eyes peeled to the dark in front of you, you begin to let go and witness the many colorful wonders buried where no eyes have lain. “Les Fragments” is another song that, without lyrics, you will find hard to tell whether or not it is innocent or deadly. The harsh vocals are delivered in a way that are not necessarily nefarious, but as it moves on, the poison thickens and it’s too late to turn back once the effects are felt. Those closing keys are eerie yet so damn catchy. “Est-ce Que Tu Danses?” leaves no doubt of its deadly aggression out of the gates. Dark, tense, and fierce, you can feel the monster begin to awake and stir, and he is angry over the early disturbance of his slumber.

“Pas Le Même” features some wonderfully tasty melodies over a backdrop of harsh vocals and the expansive sound is larger than originally noted. Ten tracks in, and Raphaël is still amazing me with his arrangements here. The title track begins with dark, tense tones. Proving his bag is deeper than most, he raps the lyrics over a bed of softer, more dreamy tones that are oppressive in their delivery. “Rétrograde” closes the album with an intense ferocity that sinks it’s six-inch fangs into you and bites down hard, leaving you to bleed to death. It’s a poetic death, amidst the snare of many others who are more polished than you, yet also were caught by the creature’s beauty, failing to see his deadly powers.

I, Voidhanger have done it again, and found another elusive yet immensely talented artist in CREATURE. This is a very unique album, straddling a few different styles of Metal with both ease and smooth transitions. The composer crafts his songs carefully, not always going for the throat, but also building some great atmospheres. The musicianship is fantastic. Raphaël really has a strong ability in many different instruments. I have found that many French composers approach their music in an intelligent manner, and this album is no exception. Comparable to OPETH or GOJIRA, with scarier elements, more like IGORRR, CREATURE is one of those artists that you should take immediate notice of, and laud him for his creativity.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Venin
2. Conscience Mécanique
3. Météorite
4. Noire
5. L'Empire Des Singes
6. Maussade
7. Alternative
8. Les Fragments
9. Est-ce Que Tu Danses?
10. Pas Le Même
11. Eloge De L'Ombre
12. Rétrograde
Raphaël Fournier – Guitars, Vocals, Synth, Bass
Baard Kolstad – Drums
Record Label: I,Voidhanger Records


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