02 Oct 2020 - Simon
Doom-Metal | Pelagic Records | Release date: 02 Oct 2020
Sometimes music can bring you to dark places even if it’s “sunny” music. But sometimes “dark” music can also help you get out of these places. Just like Briqueville’s latest record.
I will admit to having a bit of a crisis of confidence lately. I’ve always struggled with my self-confidence. For a long time whilst thinking of how to start this review, I was sat in front of my laptop with a virgin white page and the dreaded flashing curser, umm, flashing away. Then I pressed play on the album I was going to review, to refresh my memory, and the writing took a back seat to the mesmerizing sounds coming out of my speakers, which made me think about the power of music. In these strange times we find ourselves in, music is more important now than it has ever been in helping people through these tough weeks and months. It has an amazing capacity to elicit emotions which can even sometimes help turn around the worst of days.
Anyway, apologies for the laboured intro, but the album which helped me out of that particular mental pit I found myself in was the latest LP from Flanders, Belgium alumni BRIQUEVILLE, titled Quelle. This is the third album from the mysterious five piece (they even practice with their golden death masks on apparently!) All the songs the band have released to date follow on from each other. The first four acts from their debut album were “Akte I” to “Akte IV” then the second album contained “Akte V” to “Akte VII”.
The band play a meandering, often repetitive, mostly instrumental blend of post metal, atmospheric sludge, ambient soundscapes and much more in a churning brew of sound. Things kick off with “Akte VIII” which starts with ominous keyboards before adding layers of fuzzy guitars in an almost groovy style. “Akte IX” follows upping the ante with regards to heavy guitars immeasurably. It’s a purposeful juggernaut of a song which flattens all before it with it’s down tuned chugging guitars and aided admirably by some spooky electronic elements.
Post-Metal has always been about contrasts, the contrast between heavy and mellow, light and dark and the next song, the immense “Akte X” is one which showcases everything great about the genre. It is a near 15-minute slab of atmosphere. The song starts with eerie electronic ambience which would not sound out of place in a horror film. This is then slowly added to by delicately picked guitar notes and a gentle drum tap, the guitar gradually increases in intensity ending with fairly quick picking, this build up then suddenly falls away and a huge wall of chugging guitars is unleashed and it’s a glorious release of pent up emotion. It’s wonderful and is the standout track of the album.
The rest of the album follows the template laid out on the first half of the album, indeed if there is any criticism of this album it’s that the second half does not hold the attention in quite the same way as what proceeded it, which isn’t to say it’s not great because it is, it just it never reaches the gargantuan heights of the first half, although saying that, “Akte XII” is a towering slice of sludgy monolithic bombast with a palpable feeling of dread and is magnificent.
So, to sum up, this album has more electronic elements than the previous albums and this has added to its heft. Its a towering album of atmosphere punctuated by monolithic slabs of noise. It’s a heady recipe and one which this band have perfected with this release. It is a hypnotic, repetitive, atmospheric monstrous concoction of sounds which should appeal to anyone with a passing interest in heavy alternative music. Highly recommended.