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Paydretz – Chroniques de l’insurrection Award winner

Chroniques de l’insurrection
by Gary Hernandez at 06 November 2021, 9:47 PM

I don’t know a lot about world history, but a surprising amount of what I do know I learned from listening heavy metal. Case in point: If you missed the chapter on the wars in Vendée, you could just pick up “Chroniques de l’insurrection” by PAYDRETZ and give it a listen. I guarantee it will be more engaging than that boring ass professor you had. If you are unfamiliar with the Vendée Wars (as I was before I listened this album), it was a counter-revolution uprising during the French Revolution, 1793 - 1796. The war consisted of multiple uprisings (including Chouannerie) in western France and was ultimately put down through extreme measures, including a brutal massacre of tens of thousands of citizens—an act which some historians have characterized as the “first modern genocide.”

If you are unfamiliar with PAYDRETZ, they are a Black/Folk metal trio out of Angers, France. Though they formed in 2020, each member has a long and impressive musical pedigree. On October 8, 2021, they released their debut full-length album, “Chroniques de l’insurrection,” on Antiq Records. One-line take: the musicianship and production values are excellent; the subject matter intriguing and evocative. Several-line take: I really didn’t want to like this album—I fell asleep watching a live performance of “Les Misérables” and almost died reading “A Tale of Two Cities”—but I am now a true believer in the power of Black Metal to turn dry historical narratives into compelling tales of blood and horror.

While the band is usually identified as Black/Folk Metal, I would say the music is Black with Folk flourishes. I think the Folk moniker largely comes more from the subject matter. With that said, “Chroniques de l’insurrection” is very much a narrative. At least on the first listen it is best heard in a linear mode from track one on through to 14. All the songs are performed in French, so unless you speak French, you’ll want to reference the lyric sheets at some point.

I should note that duration wise, this album takes a significant commitment—fourteen tracks spanning over 68 minutes. I should also note that it well worth the time. It is both immersive and brilliant in its composition, its performance, and its storytelling. There are various field recordings and sound effects which add to the atmosphere and spoken word narratives add to the ethos of the lyrics. The musical movements have elements of Prog—translation: they sound complex with multiple phases and layering—which tell the story just as well as the lyrics do.

I won’t list standout tracks because this isn’t that type of album. Needless to say, there are no clunkers on the album. Each track is essential to the storyline and exceptionally well crafted. Altogether, “Chroniques de l’insurrection” is an impressive album. I don’t know if this is a project with future albums addressing various themes, or if PAYDRETZ will continue to focus on the conflicts in the Vendées. Either way, they have my attention and I’ll be patiently waiting for their next drop. In the meanwhile, we have “Chroniques de l’insurrection” which is a significant enough to engage listeners on the emotional, intellectual, and visceral levels for some time to come.

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

5 Star Rating

1.  Premier sang (1793)
2.  Le Tocsin nous appelle
3.  Le serment des chefs
4.  La chasse aux loups
5.  Le cantique des moulins
6.  Sous la bannière blanche
7.  A la Loire!
8.  Vengée
9.  Colonnes infernales
10.  Les Bleus sont là
11.  Par les chemins creux
12.  Au coeur de la forêt
13.  La fin du rêve
14.  Le pardon n'est pas l'oubli
Sven Avel Viz – Guitars (acoustic and electric), bass, drums
Michel de Malvoisin – Vocals (backing), guitars (additional)
Geoffroy "le Veuzou" – Vocals, bagpipes, whistles, keyboards
Record Label: Antiq Records


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Edited 07 December 2022

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