Solo musical projects present challenges, but also opportunities. Writing and performing songs without the collaboration of other musicians who might contribute ideas or at least be sounding boards for the principal songwriter, in addition to providing their own talents as performers, can create obstacles. Sometimes a solo artist’s ideas need improvement, or maybe need to be trashed altogether. And sometimes a solo artist’s performance talents fall short of what’s needed for even very good ideas to be expressed in ways that are appealing to listeners.
On the other hand, working alone provides complete creative freedom, and if the solo artist’s vocal and instrumental skills are up to the task, the results can more authentically represent the ideas (for better or worse) than trying to get multiple people to understand them and pull in the same direction.
Again for better or worse, complete creative freedom means that a solo artist’s music can twist and turn in different directions from one release to the next, because creative impulses don’t always follow a straight line or even a coherent progression. One person might stick with a defined style and hone it, but another might indulge more adventurous impulses.
Which is a long-winded way of bringing us to the latest EP by Maudiir, the solo project of the Montreal-based artist who goes by the initial F.
Photo Credit: bergZ
This new record, Soliloque, is the project’s third EP, following on the heels of 2020’s Le Temps Peste, which was released just before the pandemic began its scourge, and the lockdown-era La Part du Diable, released almost exactly one year later. While there were certain musical through-lines across those first two EPs, principally the influence of blackened thrash, they were also distinct from each other, with the latter bringing into play ’80s heavy metal influences alongside black metal and punk, while adding progressive flourishes.
As for the new EP, here’s how F. explains the music’s further evolution:
“Soliloque is a different EP than La Part du Diable, which was also different than Le Temps Peste. I like to think that the overall production is getting better with every release. I don’t want to repeat myself or focus on some kind of recipe.
“The overall sound of Soliloque is very different from La Part du Diable; different guitar, bass, and drum sounds. I also used less effect on the vocals, a more in-your-face approach. One song was recorded with a 7-string guitar, and I dabbled with some slide guitar on another… Trying new stuff.
“I particularly like the bass sound that cuts through really well. Being primarily a guitar player, I‘ve really come to enjoy giving a lot of space to the bass guitar in my music. It’s the instrument that I have the most pleasure recording.”
The song from Soliloque that we’re premiering today — “L’Éloge du Cuivre” — bears out those observations.
The song is well-calculated to get the listener’s pulse jumping right away. The drums infectiously pop. The riff (tuned to a mangling tone) comes in bursts, and so does the growling bass. Having accomplished that feat, things get more vicious as the guitar feverishly jitters and writhes, the words come in a torrent of rabid screams, and the drums hammer with a will.
Although the riffing continues to change, becoming more searing and deranged, and also more frantically jolting, the song’s mad rhythmic pulse remains vivid, continuing to punch and drive even when a head-spinning guitar solo seizes attention. Both the drumming and the mercurial bass maneuvers (which are pleasingly prominent) ensure that listeners’ limbs and heads will keep bobbing and pumping straight through the song’s furious finale.
F. explains: “‘L’Éloge du Cuivre’ is a very different song for Maudiir. I would describe it as Helmet/Prong meets ‘Spirit of Sulfur’ from the previous EP La Part du Diable. A result of experimenting with a 7-string guitar, I think it’s a very catchy song and I really love the instrumental thrash metal section.”
Soliloque includes four more songs and a total of more than 25 minutes of music, and it’s set for release on April 7th. In its lyrical themes F. rages about environmental issues. With respect to the song we’ve premiered, he says: “The song is mostly about the Fonderie Horne in northern Quebec, but also touches on any non-repenting polluting company.” Lyrically, it’s a caustic damnation of the ruin inflicted on people by cynical, greed-driven corporate pollution.
Note: Fonderie Horne is the location of a copper smelter (owned by a Swiss commodities giant) that has been accused of fouling the air with cancer-causing levels of arsenic. You can find a news report about the problems here.
Not only did F. write and perform everything, he also produced, mixed, and mastered it. It’s recommended for fans of Skeletonwitch, Darkthrone, Voivod, Ihsahn, and Carcass. For further info about the release, keep an eye on these locations: