Horns - Horns

23 Dec 2021 - Gene

Jazz, Big-Band, Avante-Garde, Covers | Self-Released | Release date: 01 Dec 2021

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Metal: now with balls and brass!

One of a plethora of acclaimed composer, pianist, evidently metalhead, Simon Fache’s, kaleidoscopic ensemble projects, Horns collects 25 or so players in a dizzying mashup of Big–Band, Jazz and Metal. Over the course of 15 songs, in a mixture of originals and covers, the flamboyant purveyor of offbeat New-Classical applies his crew’s (a stalwart quiver of backup vocalists, and brass-blasters, all of whom are deplorably expensive to feed, Fache, hilariously, never passes up a chance to lament) honed chops to a range of metallic theatrics and compositional acrobatics to covers of everything from Judas Priest to Faith No More to Frank Sinatra, to name just a few. The entire affair is a bit like applying Devin Townsend to Postmodern Jukebox. Very strange but highly effective; with the added bonus of a few original compositions arranged by lead vocalist, Julien Jacquemond.

The album impresses with sheer instrumental mastery and a very capable vocal approach, but does it convince as a rock record? Survery says “yes,” actually, if you are into this kind of thing. If you are too stuffy for Metal, but might stoop to flirt with it, the Fache crew has just the thing for you. Or if you’re a metalhead with stage-bound guilty pleasures, help yourself. If you dig Fusion in the manic, often ferocious vein of Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum and Igorrr, then, boy, is this the album for you.

Unsurprising is the compositional excellence, but so too, all is in fairly good taste and avoids many of the self-indulgent pitfalls of an opulent melodrama. This is no Tiger Lillies album. All apologies, but seriously! Instead, this little album turns out to be a bit of a triumph of fusion, providing a window to the vistas of hodgepodge possibilities. This is what can happen when serious musicians take Metal seriously and Fache was just the right kind of sicko – with his Big-Band bravado – to pull it off.

Honestly, this album isn’t really my thing but I just couldn’t help having a blast with it. There is nary a bad track here. The cover arrangements are perfect, the originals passable as well, if not as readily recognizable. I love that you can tell they are doing it for the love of the game and for no other reason. And the fun is infectious. I know they are planning a second album and I am all for it. Now, normally I would push for more original arrangements next time, but in this case I feel like they have something that works very well the way it is. I actually want to see more covers, wilder, more unusual than ever before. Metal: now with balls and brass!