The Czech eclectoprogdeathmetal orchestra FORGOTTEN SILENCE seem to have flown far below the radar of most listeners for far too long. Since 1994, these visionaries have released a total of six albums and a row of splits and EPs, but it seem as if they have never been able to penetrate the minds of non-Czech enthusiasts, at least not in any wider sense. Personally, I encountered them by chance some six years ago, purchasing their sophomore album “Thots” (1996). A compelling and multilayered album, with some pretty nifty tunes and intelligent arrangements. So it was with enthusiasm I received this sixth offering, “La Grande Bouffe”. After traversing the Orient over a couple of albums, it seems that the ever itinerant FORGOTTEN SILENCE have returned to the European continent, musically and thematically. The omnipresent multicultural strain in their music still have flavours of the Middle East left, but European music and food traditions form a central aspect of La Grande Bouffe.
After enjoying the great art work (it’s an orange or tangerine, cut in half and left to dry), the first impression is the number of tracks. The album is structured so that each “proper” song is adjoined by a cosy interlude, with lounge-jazzy guitars and French restaurant samples (perhaps from the eponymous movie), that add breathing space and a pleasant dynamism to the whole album. This is welcome, as the main songs make for quite intense listening, and these “bouffe tracks” expand and add flavour to the general thematic atmosphere of the album.
The first (proper) track is unfortunately an immediate turn-off. Building mainly on the slick urban style and atmosphere of progressive metal that was originated by Dream Theater, which I have never been able to relate to, it ultimately clings to your mind anyway. It’s well written and has decent riffs, so if just the horrible clean vocals would’ve been left out, I’d enjoy it quite a lot (though reluctantly). However, with the following progression of the album, the opener almost sounds like a bit of a joke.
Moving onwards through the buffé, the second track changes course completely, wreaking out a storm of complex death metal blasts and cuts. This is the proper style of FORGOTTEN SILENCE that is retained throughout most of the album; the depth and heaviness of North American death metal infused and expanded with various influences in a downright playful manner. You don’t know where it’s taking you, but it’s never annoying and trying to prove anything; the songs move very fluently and naturally between the various segments. The third track (I’m not counting the bouffe tracks now) changes the course even more completely. A spiritual offspring of Atheist’s Samba Briza – a 5+ min journey into Latin-styled acoustic guitars and bass, heavily rhythmic piano; a melange of heavy rhythmic riffs and downright pretty melodies. Actually my favourite track off the album, it sounds like having dinner in the beautiful sunset somewhere in southern Europe, with people dancing in the background. To death metal. It’s stunning, really.
Progressive in the true sense of the word, FORGOTTEN SILENCE fortunately stays clear of the worst of the prog epithet’s many pitfalls, the masturbatory and narcissistic attitudes towards soloing. The album as a whole shows that this band comes more from an extreme metal perspective, where heavy riffs and creative atmospheres are much more important than showing off your chops and skillz. FORGOTTEN SILENCE specifically seem to have always used their eclecticism and technicality for the sake of creating ambiances and moods. Adding Oriental, Latin and jazz influences to technical death metal could make the worst kind of mess, but they steer smoothly past the anticipated musical train-wreck to carve out something quite spectacular, and most of all something deeply honest. It’s something as outlandish as a progressive metal album that invites you to join the party.
Throughout the bouffe, the harmonies and melodies intertwine with a lyrical ingenuity, driven in particular by the pianist’s versatile and ambitious playing. He’s all over the place, not very far from Sverd’s work in Arcturus (but in a death metal+restaurant context, rather than black metal+observatory) or Lazare’s in Age of Silence. He’s a joy to listen to, many times lifting the album to a higher level all by himself. In all, an excellent album that no-one remotely interested in various combinations of “progressive” and “metal” should miss out on.
Release: May 17th 2012
Label: Shindy Productions
Avantgenre: Eclectoprogressive Death Metal
Origin: Czech Republic
Official site: None
Review online since: 18.10.2012 / 20:29:32
1. Bouffe á Table!
2. Translucide (Brighton II.)
3. Bouffe Restarant De Luxe
5. Bouffe Piano
6. Les Collines De Senyaan Pt.III
7. Bouffe Vingt Et Une Heure Cinquante Sept
8. FERMETURE De La Bouche
9. Bouffe Acoustiquement
10. DICHROISME (two-rooms World)
11. Bouffe Hyéne
12. The Black Rider 4K8 (Chanson Pour La Station De Service)
13. Bouffe Montmartre
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