Music always has the ability to affect emotions, but although those moments are quite far between surprises happen. I first heard Weend’ô (pronounced ‘Window’, it’s Japanese) at the Summer’s End festival in Chepstow last year, and as seems to be the norm, organisers Huw and Stephen had pulled something special out of their bag of tricks. Weend’ô were the opening act for the Saturday afternoon. Arriving about 4 minutes late, hearing the end of their opening number I was immediately enraptured; musical control in all areas, covering multiple stylings and crowned with a voice that is almost as comfortable with the operatic as it is with the bluesified rock elements.
Although I purchased this album at Summer’s End, it was officially released on 2nd February 2018 on the newly formed Sonicbond label (another product of the dynamic duo, Stephen & Huw. You decide which one is Batman, I shall not be drawn). It remains great, and due to the release date available for my end of year selection, even though that is many month’s away!
It is atmospheric, combining music and sounds to a dramatic effect, the album seeking to address the turmoil around the world in 2017 and asking humanity to keep faith and hope, despite the worlds troubles; the band’s belief is that we are entering a new period of evolution and experiencing a new paradigm, even though many of the events have been very personal to the communities affected. High thoughts in a world troubled by religion, and in many cases the reaction being for some to become more spiritual. Angel Dust, the single from the album, addresses this from a personal perspective, and again in Elea but with a broader view. Even if you are unable to grasp the view that All is one – both the visible and invisible worlds – nothing can stop the true evolution…
Time of Awakening, both the title and the ensemble parts that make up the majority, is the opening piece, three pieces with a common thread and, from my point of view, dealing with the nature of change and that which is ‘force majeure’, meaning that we have no control over how and when these changes occur. Through speakers it is wonderful, through headphones it seems to reach another more involving level.
At times metallic, changing to almost folk, operatic, ballad-like, the voice of Laetitia Chaudemanche touches so many points, and those chills and thrills multiply. Although not listed as an influence on their web page, I find her voice reminiscent of Guesch Patti (Patricia Porasse), check out L’Homme Au Tablier Vert (Fleurs Carnivores) from Nomades (1990), though you may disagree. The lyrics provoke thought too, I recommend a hard copy of Time of Awakening album, it would be nice to read the words, but sadly the lyrics are not available here.
For a long piece in three parts, Time of Awakening does not pass slowly, and I am more than happy on the third listen as I write this review. Many an album requires a step back, reflection and consideration before depressing a key, had I done so here, my view would not change.
Max Rami and Térence Nguyen Van look the part of metal players, however appearances are deceptive and their performance are nuanced giving much depth to the music that could easily become lost in power chords and shredding. That is not to deny the contribution of the drumming of Nathanaël Buis, even in the quietest moments the band are one.
Angel Dust rings with emotion, the music opening with a metal riff before dropping to something far more subtle, and much like a towel from the radiator, wraps around you, enveloping you in its warmth. They really mix things up nicely.
The album concludes with the two part prayer Elea. With lyrics written from personal reflection and experiences, they pose questions for us on our own take on life’s journey and the future. It’s been a while since I have given this album a spin – so little time, so much music – but it is as fresh and still with those chill moments that I experienced when I walked into The Drill Hall at Chepstow the first time. I am very selective on my purchases at these events. Limiting my budget so as not feel the need to sell my soul to attain enlightenment, but with Time of Awakening I am very happy to have parted with my hard-earned cash.
The album, at least on the Bandcamp download, ends with the radio edit of Angel Dust, but give yourself a treat, purchase this, it easily matches up to Nightwish or Lacuna Coil in metallic content, and the rest is a joy too. Look out for live performances as well; the music itself is amazing, live it rises further up the celestial pyramid.
01. Time of Awakening, Part 1 (7:05)
02. Time of Awakening, Part 1 (5:04)
03. Time of Awakening, Part 1 (8:06)
04. Angel Dust (8:20)
05. Elea, part 1 (7:07)
06. Elea, part 2 (4:18)
Total Time – 40:00
Laetitia Chaudemanche – Vocals, Keyboards, Lyrics
Térence Nguyen Van – Guitars, arrangements
Maxime Rami – Bass
Nathanaël Buis = Drums, Loops
Record Label: Sonicbond
Country of Origin: France
Date of Release: 2nd February 2018