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Angellore : Errances

There are a lot of details to explore in Angellore's Gothic Doom.

Regular visitors to the doom-metal forum may already know something of the history and motivation behind this album, the full-length debut from French Gothic Doomsters Angellore thanks to the postings of keyboard player/vocalist Walran (Forum). Citing influences such as Saturnus, Draconian and Empyrium and taking their name from an early Tristania track, it's fairly obvious where their musical sympathies lie. A split-demo and a couple of self-released EPs preceded 'Errances', spread between 2007 and late 2009, when work on this album began in earnest.

With such a long time between the start of recording and the production of the finished item - at time of writing, still in preorder rather than general release - one might expect considerable polish to have been applied. That's an impression borne out by the quietly tasteful CD package, with its moody blue-tinted tombs-and-angel-statues motifs which provide further pointers - should any be needed - as to the content. Not coincidentally, it's also borne out by the top-notch production: a sparkling, clear mix that gives crisp definition to all the details of the music.

And there are a lot of details to explore: the three-piece band, along with guest violinist Catherine Arquez, like to present complex, ever-changing, ever-evolving compositions which effortlessly pass the melodic lead back and forth between guitar, keyboard, violin and voices. The underlying tempos are, largely, unhurried and dignified ones that allow plenty of space in which the instruments can develop, and against which the pacier sections have a chance to really contrast and shine. 'Errances' ('wanderings'): in a philosophical sense, perhaps, but certainly not in the careful, purposeful and intelligent crafting of these seven tracks.

That shouldn't be taken to imply any sort of sterility or soullessness, however: this is music from the heart, just as much as any raw and spontaneous outpouring would be, laden with exquisitely melancholy passion. In part, that's due to the sheer variety of the singing: both Walran and guitarist/bassist Rosarius contribute clean and extreme voices, covering, between them, almost every conceivable mood. Taking in a range from deep, rasping growls to gently-spoken parts to pure, soaring, clean vocals - whether working separately or together in harmony or contrast - this expressiveness is one of the great strengths of the album. Clearly, the two leaders of, and composers for, the band have a deep and enviable synergy in their respective muses.

Backing the vocal interplay, the music follows a similarly varied pattern that really pulls in all the various possibilities of the line-up, from sad, simple, unaccompanied piano passages to dynamic, fast rock-guitar-driven sections. The violin has an almost folky feel to it as it weaves extra strands of emotive lament into that tapestry, while drummer Ronnie adds a well-judged mixture of timekeeping anchor and percussive flourish to proceedings. By turns reminiscent of all the influences listed above, but also of the verve of Dark The Suns, the Gothic theatre of Morten Veland's Tristania/Sirenia projects and the dark visions of early Swallow The Sun, Angellore still manage to stamp their own personality on what is quite familiar territory: very much conjuring memories of the heyday of that Atmospheric Gothic Doom period either side of the turn of the millennium, but still distinguished in their own right.

In case there's still any doubt: I love this album. From being captivated by the original sample track, 'Dans Les Vallées Éternelles', it was a delight to discover that it was completely representative of the full release of 'Errances'. And to find a band who can breathe some new life into the heritage of one of my favourite genres. Just buy this: it's quite, quite beautiful.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Dans Les Vallées Éternelles
2. Tears Of Snow
3. I Am The Agony
4. Weeping Ghost
5. Errance
6. ...Where Roses Never Die...
7. Shades Of Sorrow

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Angellore bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-02-06 by Mike Liassides
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