Le Grand Guignol “The Great Maddening” (2007)

This fancy promo, carrying misplaced Kris Vervimp-cover artwork, was sent to me a coupe of weeks ago, and it immediately clinged to my mind. Apparently this Luxembourgian band was up until last year known as Vindsval, and it was under that name this album’s 1999 predecessor “Imperium Grotesque” was released. Now in 2007, they unleash “The Great Maddening”, after reaching a new spiritual level of conceptual insight and thus changing the orchestra’s name. The info sheet (extra-fancy!) claims that the band shares their name with a French genre-theatre about a hundred years ago. Being aware of the climate of entertainment during that period and in that region (think Moulin Rouge – yes, the movie – but darker, without Nicole Kidman), you can probably guess at the esthetic approach of L.G.G. (The official website translate the name as “the Big Buffoon”)

Anyhow! Consider for a minute or six these following madmen’s general output and esthetics during the end of the last century: Rhapsody, Devil Doll, Covenant (the Norwegians, with Sverd & Astennu) and Bal-Sagoth. Add to that a sprinkle of Arcturus heading of to a masquerade, Anna-Varney of Sopor Aeternus feeling kinda cheery reading Poe when recording the Sarabande albums plus Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth going to see “The Return of the King” at the movies, holding hands and kissing with Blind Guardian as an apron. Seriously pompous marches, circusesque (new word!) buffonery, overly theatrical vocals (shouting screaming crying howling et c)… Solemn brass sections, female quasi-opera vocals, spaced-out synths, folky and neoclassical guitar riffs and leads, symphonic keyboard string sections… Nothing new per se, besides the fact that this kind of music isn’t made anymore. It’s too dark and growly to be power/fantasy/whatever metal, and way too cheery and pompous to be black/death/et c metal. So devoid of distance, so exuberant and silly, I just can’t help but loving it. They combine all the bands I loved when I was like 15-16 years old (OK, not all of them, and I wasn’t that fond of Rhapsody and Blind Guardian, but you get the point), all bands people couldn’t help but laugh at. The performance here is terribly solid and skillful, actually loosing the imperfections that made the abovementioned bands so impeccable. This is more of a mirror without that much personality – very beautiful and florid, but equally easy to forget about. And it is slightly too long, even though at least three of these eleven tracks are instrumentals. Cake upon cake, as we would say in Sweden.

But, if you’re into any of the mentioned bands (as I know you are!), you should check this out. If I had heard this 6 years ago, I probably would have ejaculated all over the soundsystem. And some additional kudos for the following…

-Silly Frenchy pronunciation is always good entertainment (perfect English is nice but not fun).

-Great and suggestive song titles, it’s just a shame I didn’t get the lyrics as they seem to be quite important for the Great Maddening Experience.

-Marvellous orchestrations (who needs an orchestra when you have midi? It’s as cheesy as it comes, and bloody fantastic).

-And finally, powerful vocal performance – he actually carries all the strengths of the bands above (except that German goth-transvestite…).


(…and I apologize deeply to the band that I describe them from the context of other earlier bands and artists. No creative creations deserve that, but that’s as far as my imagination goes this week.)



Release:  24.08.2007
Label:  Maddening Media
Avantgenre:  Fin-De-Siècle Metal Grotesquery
Duration:  55:05
Origin:  Luxembourg
Official site:  http://www.legrandguignol.com
Review online since:  09.09.2007 / 20:53:39


1. Cirqvs L.
2. Degenesis (Amor & Seuche)
3. Dimension: Canvas
4. Mens Insana In Corpore Insano
5. Madness And Her Thousand Young
6. The Healing Process
7. Finis Coronat Opus
8. I, Who Brought Forth Myself
9. Alsuntia
10. Lucilinburhuc
11. In, Beyond Of Through


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