AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): K.L.L.K. — “LE BRASIER DES MONDES”
Le Brasier des Mondes is the debut album of the French band K.L.L.K. It will be released on March 3 by Caligari Records on both tape and CD, with different artwork for each (the CD art is above, the tape art is below). Today we have for you all the music on the album, presented as a continuous stream without breaks between the tracks, which is undoubtedly the best way to hear it — because it’s a completely immersive, mind-altering, and unsettling experience whose power is at its zenith when heard straight through from beginning to end.
The band’s last release was the 2015 EP Between the First Heliocentric Wind and the Great Devourer of Light, which itself followed a pair of demos and a compilation. Unfortunately I can’t compare the album to those previous works because I haven’t yet heard them. So the following words provide an introduction to Le Brasier des Mondes, standing alone. This is how the band describe the conceptual basis for the album:
‘The work that we have introduced is called Le Brasier des Mondes -– “The Blaze of the Worlds” in English — and represents the content of a conceptual output based on cosmic cycles and their earthly interpretations. First pulse, life and death. Inspired by the ancient Vedic cosmology, indo-europeanism, by the writings of authors like Mircea Eliade and Julius Evola and archaic rituals.’
The musical result of these inspirations is an eclectic mix, with a backbone of atmospheric black metal but also incorporating elements of doom and dark ambient music along with sounds that give parts of the album the feeling of a ritual. Le Brasier des Mondes is an unearthly journey, a changing trip for the mind that traverses shadow realms of primordial terror, looming death, and spectral hauntings, as well as mystical ventures into astral planes.
The album includes three long songs, each of them beginning with the word “Celebration“. Before, after, and in between those three tracks are shorter, and mainly voiceless, pieces: “Equinoxe I” opens the album; “Solstice I” separates the first long track from the second one; “Equinoxe II” provides an interlude before the third one; and “Solstice II” closes the album.
“Equinoxe I” is a paranormal experience, haunting and poisonous, something like the sound of poltergeists gasping and howling over the reverberation of distorted guitars and the flickering of high tones. “Solstice I” is a layering of spacey electronica that also pulsates and thrums, and periodically seems to catch… and then continue… broken by widely space melodic notes, waves of static vibration, and a voice that seems to be giving a speech. “Equinoxe II” is an eerie and disorienting interlude, populated by an unsettling skittering that sounds almost like a mechanical voice struggling to express itself without words and by chiming tones that resemble a xylophone. At the album’s end, “Solstice II” delivers a glimmering, hissing drift of cosmic ambience, with something like the distorted warble of a wordless voice arriving near the conclusion.
These relatively shorter compositions are quite different from Celebrations I, II, and III, and I’m not sure how many people would listen to them standing alone, but in context they have the effect of laying the groundwork for the album’s dark and otherworldly atmosphere and then building upon and deepening the unearthly and near-hallucinatory aura of the main songs.
But the three main songs are the meat of the matter, and they provide a lot to chew on. They tend to build gradually, with ebbs and flows in intensity as they unfold and work their sorcery on your mind.
Deep, distorted doom chords, slow and moaning, launch “Celebration I – Le Souffle Primordial“, joined by the rumble and boom of the drums and ghastly echoing howls. The guitars begin to buzz, with a double-bass roll kicking in and cymbals sizzling like a brand against flesh, turning the music in an oppressive and pestilential direction. As the vocals become inflamed cries, the vibration of a cascading, melancholy melody begin to flow, and then it writhes like a serpent. The shimmer of a gong, the tumble of drums, and reverberating chords provide an interlude, and after the music begins to drive hard again, a high, rippling guitar melody springs to vibrant life.
Ringing guitar notes and a soaring wordless voice give “Celebration II – L’evell du Ble D’or” a beautiful but haunting start. The music ignites in a torrent of percussion, rapidly pulsing bass, a warm swirling riff, and scorching acrid howls, though the music returns to a slow, somber, and even self-reflective mood. The song provides another surge of grim intensity, with the overall effect being depressive but… like everything on the album… immersive.
At more than 11 minutes, “Celebration III – Le Brasiers des Mondes”, is the longest “celebration” on the album that shares its name. It’s another multifaceted experience, one that’s by turns haunting, hallucinatory, ritualistic, grief-stricken, fiery, and ultimately slow, stately, and majestic — though even then, the shadow of death hangs over it. And along with the ghastliness of the vocalist’s howls, the song includes deep, solemn, choral-styled vocals, as if providing accompaniment at a funeral mass, and echoing guitars that resemble the wailing of grief-stricken specters.
Le Brasier des Mondes was mastered by Loïc Autokrator from N.K.V.D / Autokrator. The CD art is a piece called “Cavalcare la Tigre / Chevaucher le Tigre” by Carl Neomalthusian (Astralotype Art). The cover art for the tape edition was created by DPHN. The track list is as follows:
01 – Equinoxe I
02 – Celebration I – Le Souffle Primordial
03 – Solstice I
04 – Celebration II – L’eveil du Ble D’or
05 – Equinoxe II
06 – Celebration III – Le Brasiers des Mondes
07 – Solstice II
To order the album, visit these locations:
Mentioning N.K.V.D. is like catnip to me.
Equinoxe I is a tense and frightening track, but there’s no way you can “look away” from it. Brilliant opener. The space between the closing of Equinoxe I and the beginning of Celebration I was like taking a trust-fall in the dark: there no way to predict what was about to happen.
This is very cold, and very wistful. Almost ethereal.
Many thanks for, your review and your interest, Islander, really nice words.
Thank you for leaving this comment! And thank you for your amazing artwork on this great album.
sounds pretty interesting for sure
About 4 minutes in and already added to my wishlist. I love the cover art on the CD.