I was out at a show in Greenpoint this weekend when I ran into an extraordinarily talented friend of mine whose band was playing that evening. He regularly flits between the classical and extreme metal worlds, and makes it look easier than anyone else I've ever met. His band was playing the night, and in between the other sets, we talked for awhile about how much we'd both like to see extreme metal incorporate more classical influences—not so much the darkness and bombast (we've got that part covered) but more in terms of emotion, drama, and elegance. It's a tall order, to be sure, one that's generally met by histrionic symphonics and little else (unless we shift the conversation to opera, where bands like Eye of Nix follow in Diamanda Galas's tar-black footprints). However, I have hope in the next generation of extreme metal bands' ability to pull it off—largely because of Les Chants du Hasard .
This French project is an oddball even within the experimental black metal realm, where fucking around with weird noises and splicing unexpected genres is de rigueur. Les Chants du Hasard goes all in on neoclassical grandiosity, shunning traditional rock instrumentation like guitar, drums, and bass altogether in favor of orchestral instruments, coupled with the kind of unhinged, emotive howls that helped characterize 90s black metal genre-busters like Ved Buens Ende, Fleurety, and Arcturus. There's a lot of that wonky vintage vibe here, with sonic touchpoints ranging from Emperor, Windir, and Arcturus to more recent work from Dimmu Borgir and A Forest of Stars; the cross-generational influences make the end result seem even less of this world. The band's sole member, Hazard, also cites Sergej Prokofiev, Richard Strauss, and Modest Mussorgsky as his predominant non-metal influences on the project's self-titled debut, conjuring a sort of harshly demonic "Night on Bald Mountain."
In short, it's really fucking cool, and you should give it a shot. Listen to Les Chants du Hasard below, and purchase the album from I, Voidhanger come June 9 (with vinyl to follow later on Throne Records).
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