17 Jun 2022 - Thorsten
Post-Metal, Noise-Rock | Table Basse | Release date: 08 Apr 2022 | Favorite song: Envoûtante sève
Envoûtante sève (or “Bewitching Sap“ in English) is the title of a five-track debut by Swiss doom-psychedelic-noise-rock Kalkas from Lausanne, located in the Francophone part of the country. It has five supporters on Bandcamp today (June 17th, 2022) and that needs to change as more people need to find out about the band, their record and their anger at the people who cause our planet to rot away!
The band is motivated by the anger that pollution, climate change and the “laissez-faire”-attitude many people have about it. Interestingly, this anger is only seldom on display because the soundscapes the band are developing are not purely angry, even though it shines through a few times. But the music is pretty progressive without being proggy and it basically raises the question what Dredg’s masterpiece Leitmotif would have sounded like if they had listened to more Melvins and less Radiohead at the time? The music is somewhat bluesy – especially the guitar work in the opener ”Au milieu du feu, il est leur guide” (English: “In the middle of the fire, he is their guide”). A song that might have been on many Post-Metal records but the intensity with which Kalkas play their blues is amazing. Here the combination of Melvins and Dredg shine through a lot.
Other tracks, like the instrumental ”L’homme qui pleure” (“The crying man”) show a transfer from some Stones-like chord passages in the first half of this near-ten-minute-epic to some more open guitar lines which might remind the older ones among us of Dredg’s classic ”Traversing Through the Arctic Cold We Search for the Spirit of Yuta”, even though Kalkas do not use the stop-and-go structure that the Los Gatos foursome applied to often. Nevertheless, one should note, that Kalkas probably have never heard of Dredg and have thus come up with these mind-blowing songs on their own, this is not an imitation of sound.
Nevertheless, there is also a much more rowdy, upbeat side to this album in the shape of the second track ”Écorce tombante” (“Drooping bark”) which is a classic, heavy rock’n’roller with a lot of scratchy guitar parts, a lot of distortion and yes, simply, speed! Even when they slow it down at half-time the track is still the fastest on the whole album. And then – at the end the track changes into a moody vocal rendition over a simply fading track.
That is another noteworthy thing: the vocals which sound a lot like someone telling dark fairy-tales around a campfire to scare the young – tales of climate change, of old forests lost forever, of people not caring. Pierre Guanzini is gifted with one of those deep, growling voices that effortlessly silence the crowd and then bewitch it by telling them the truth. He uses his breathing to prolong the words in a way that is best possible with his native tongue French.
When listening to the title track, which is also the last track on the record and also nearly ten minutes long, it becomes obvious how low the band thinks of us as a human race. May one add “And righteously so”? The shrieking guitar solo underneath all the other noise is seeping through one’s ear-tunnels to wake us for the poisons seeping through our molested earth into our eco-system – ideologically this band is closer to Botanist than Pink Floyd.
What we are witnessing here is a band on a mission – thematically and sonically! If you like any incarnation of the bands dropped above – you are going to like this record. If not – give it a listen nonetheless! This band deserves much more attention!