03 Jan 2022 - Ben
Ambient, Post-Rock, Post-Metal | Release date: 05 Nov 2021
Paris’s accursed Maudits have released their second record – an EP of five songs – two brand new tracks and three reworked versions of earlier material - after the departure of their bassist. Diving deeper than their previous release, Angle Mort sees the band bring greater eloquence to their sound.
Bursting out of the embers of Parisian prog-metallers The Last Embrace, Maudits – French for damned or cursed – released their eponymous debut album in October 2020. Well-regarded by fans and critics alike, the band have spent the intervening period creating their follow-up record – Angle Mort.
The title track and album opener acts as a short Executive Summary - a condensed trip through a changing landscape. Starting with undulating layers of twinkling guitars and marching bass, we’re drawn to a different scene by a mathrock-y transition into a slightly more menacing part of the journey. Closing with drawn-out strings, you immediately understand where Maudits were in 2020 and the progress they have made through 2021.
With the departure of bassist “A”, the remaining members - “O” (anything to do with strings and effects) and “C” (anything to do with beats and samples) – seem to have found new focus and new musical language to express it. There are so many things going on through each of these songs - so many layers, so many passages, so many paragraphs – but it never seems overwhelming. It’s a record that easily stands multiple listens, delivering new elements each time.
Reaching the break halfway through “Verdoemd”, we’re taken from an almost nursey rhyme-like passage, with the drums building and the music becoming more insistent before all comes to an ambient rest. Then the sample kicks in, talking about art and success - comparing one person’s measure of success against someone else’s - all while the music builds into angular, anxious patterns in the background – getting closer and closer as the song concludes.
One of the reworked songs is “Résilience 2021”, funnily enough based on “Résilience” from the first album. Whereas the earlier version was a pounding, driving song, this new version feels spacious – giving the song and the instrumentation room to breathe. One could argue that resilience and the strength to overcome in 2020 meant something different to what it means in late 2021 and 2022. The world is changing – people are quitting their jobs to do what they want to do, people are reconnecting with friends, family and the world around them. Surviving and thriving in today’s world doesn’t mean what it meant ten, five or even two years ago and, to me, “Résilience 2021” reflects that.
The final song on the EP is “Epäselvä” – roughly translating to vague or unclear in Finnish. There’s nothing vague or unclear about the song – it’s a study in evolving melody, instrumentation, and style. Starting off with ambient drones, clicking, clacking and thumping of electronic and organic percussion, strings are introduced as insistent, almost wasp-like elements. As we progress through the song, the bass and percussion build and grow. Halfway through, the song rips away it’s mask and reveals itself to be an altogether different beast - one with big pointy teeth and an irate disposition.
Angle Mort is a fantastic example of post- music, where dynamics, scales, tones and tempo translate into language and emotion. By investing time and a pair of ears, you’re rewarded with an enveloping experience that transcends language and hits you square in the feels.