(Mortis Humanae Productions)
'Vésanie' is the second release from Parisian black/death Metal quintet Azziard.
The album continues in the vein of their 2009 debut full length, the World War 1 themed '1916', taking that subject further on, as the title, 'Vésanie' comes from an old French word for insanity, or psychosis and this release examines the story of a soldier's descent into madness after serving on the front lines in World War 1, with lyrical themes encompassing war and war based propaganda, desertion and the mentally broken as a result of the conflict.
Despite the historical leaning there is also a correlation with current times, our issues of conflict and warfare particularly the mental health of combatants as well as modern political propaganda.
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The band is predominantly made up from seasoned musicians, consisting of members from two other French bands, blackened folk Metallers Valland and black Metal band The Negation and as a result the musicianship and composition across this release is first rate.
As albums go, 'Vésanie' is a solid, no frills release, nothing ground breaking but it doesn't need to be, as the quality of the end result speaks for itself.
The drum work is superb across the album and there is an intense and unrelenting rage to the sound partly emanating from the deep, vitriolic, gargling vocals that rip through you and the use of French lyrics adds to the compositions, as they are well suited for black Metal.
The particular blend of merciless blast beats, blackened death Metal riffs, used by Azziard also adds a refreshingly savage slant on their approach to black/death Metal, making it both varied and atmospheric.
Across the eight tracks I noticed many subtle influences from a lot of European black metal greats, almost like a respectful nod to them. Choosing a favourite across these tracks is impossible, all are equally as listenable and enjoyable, opening with 'Allégorie' which has superb opening build haunting riffs, pounding rhythms and no vocals until the final minute.
Most tracks are mid tempo and intense and 'Disjonction' has noteworthy guitar work ripping through the middle of the track before a brief drop away. 'Dialyse' and 'Ekphrasis' start slowly but soon builds in tempo and there is also a reflective drop away to the close of the otherwise intense and hypnotic 'Sur la Toile'. Also deserving a mention is the highly effective military beat to the drum work on 'Dans Ma Chair'.
Recorded and mixed at Hybreed Studio, 'Vésanie' is well created, well produced and a compelling listen from start to finish.