Prepare yourselves for an extraordinary 43-minute trip, because that’s what you’ll find in Broken Speech, the extravagant debut album by the French band Owl Cave that we’re premiering today in advance of its release later this month by the new French label Time Tombs Productions.
For those who need genre references, this creation is very difficult to pigeonhole in such ways. Over the course of its twisting and turning path, you can pick out ingredients of dissonant and avant-garde black metal, industrial, electronica, and prog, among others.
It incorporates widely varying but relentlessly visceral rhythms and an equally wide and richly textured array of hallucinatory emanations that are both entrancing and unnerving; in those ways it’s both earthbound and completely unearthly. It’s often monumentally heavy, and continuously capable of seizing control of your reptile brain, but equally capable of uncomfortably twisting your mind inside-out or placing it under the power of spells, some of them seductive and some of them harrowing.
Over the course of the album a few moments of silence fall, which in a more conventional record would signify the end of one track and the beginning of another, but this performance is best taken in as a continuous flow that happens to include branching paths.
In its opening phase, your ears will be greeted by heavy, grim, distorted chords and an equally heavy drum punch, overlaid by shimmering tones that wail like apparitions. Those sounds abruptly vanish, replaced by an eerie collage of ambient sounds and moaning low frequencies that only deepen the spectral radiations of the music. That experience is again abruptly replaced — but this time by riotous drum blasting, crashing chords, and sensations of boiling derangement. The music methodically hammers, but the dense, crazed maelstrom around those widely spaced blows is unabated.
Broken Speech continues to morph in a multitude of ways, returning to realms of ghostly ambient mist over deep humming drones; cracking the neck with syncopated back-beats and slow, slashing fretwork; erupting again in paroxysms of violence, or seething, simmering, and searing, coiling the tension and stoking fear; pounding like an industrial assembly line beneath swirls of astral eeriness; providing renewed doses of gravel-chewing, undulating bass lines and vertebrae-snapping rock beats, as well as towering tribal percussion with a primeval allure.
The music also rings like crystalline bells; ejects bits of quivering, warbling, and blurting electronics or generates convulsive, EBM-like pulses; spins like a whirlpool that radiates unearthly shine but with a hungry black void in its depths; rakes the mind with abrasive, near-atonal cruelty or produces episodes of shrill, screaming mania; inflicts pile-driving crush-fests with a titanic impact; infiltrates dismal, slithering melodies; and ultimately creates sounds of apocalyptic tumult.
Within this ever-changing kaleidoscope of sound, distant distorted voices occasionally surface, seeming to converse, mutter, gibber in madness, or keen like ghosts. The song further includes wild, semi-chanted singing; bestial proclamations, and roaring chants.
And honestly, even all those preceding impressions don’t constitute a complete catalogue of what you’ll experience. But you definitely should experience all of it without pause. It’s a tour de force of elaborate conception and meticulous execution — three years in the making — and one whose manifold dimensions provide continuing discoveries and rewards as you listen again and again.
Owl Cave‘s sole creator, S, has given thanks to Studio Saint-Loup, a small recording and engineering music studio located near Paris (all the drums were performed by Jason Belial Mathieu and recorded there by Jipouille De St Loup), to sound engineer Thomas Le Roux, who mixed the album, and to Deviant Lab / Thibault Chaumont, who mastered it.
S. has also extended thanks to painter, sculptor, and visual artist Laura-Lee Soleman; graphic designer, illustrator and silk-screen printer Paul Naassan (Ëmga Laï Grafik), and the visual and musical artist Dehn Sora.
le fétichiste en moi veut le disque vinyle plat MARBLED GREEN / BLACK…!
s’il vous plait monsieur ; )