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(61:50, Great Winds @ Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Scissor Me 0:47 2. Houx-Wardiougue 3:53 3. Plus de Pates 0:14 4. Foolish Grenade Amplifier 3:41 5. Beyond Free Zeuhl 2:43 6. Encore plus De Pactes 0:18 7. Tone Box Pie-4 8:42 8. Le Chant de la Carpe 2:20 9. Adverse Anxiety & the Cheetah 5:46 10. South Mountains 4:20 11. Ready Steady Go 0:26 12. Mes Choux Gars 5:17 13. Badaboom on the World 8:34 14. Missing Him 1:15 15. Obliques Strategies 10:26 16. Pourquoi 3:07 LINEUP: Fred Maurin – guitar Alexandre Tomaszewski – bass Sylvain Cathala – saxophone Sylvain Bardiau – trumpets Rafael Koerner – drums
Prolusion. “Incorporated” is most likely the debut release by CARTEL CARNAGE, from France. As the CD arrived without a press kit, I tried to find any information on the group’s history on the Internet, its website included, but failed. Now I’d like to warn readers that I fear I can’t be fully precise in this review, because music like this shows all of its subtleties only after many listens.
Analysis. Well, with a lineup of guitar, bass, drums, saxophone and trumpet (or, rather, multi-brasses, as some of them are obviously overdubbed), Cartel Carnage offers us some of the most unusual and insane avant-garde rock-meets-jazz metal pieces of the day. Four of the sixteen tracks on the disc, Houx-Wardiougue, South Mountains, Foolish Grenade Amplifier and Mes Choux Gars, all seem to have a feel similar to albums as different as Celtic Frost’s “To Megatherium”, “Unrest” by Henry Cow, John Zorn’s “Naked City/Painkiller” and “Red” by King Crimson. In short, all of these are angular-written pieces of music with a fair share of free improvisation (courtesy of the brass players) to go along with the whole, which is in turn basically heavy, with the doom metal-like type of structure on the last two of them the influence of the former band dominating over the others. Beyond Free Zeuhl has a certain common ground with both of those, but in arrangement it is much closer to Black Sabbath’s ‘Breakout’, the first-ever jazz-metal composition, from the band’s (highly underrated) album-masterpiece “Never Say Die”. To be fair, however, I must note that for those familiar with the cited groups comparisons wouldn’t be out of order, but wouldn’t paint the entire picture either, as Cartel Carnage definitely has their own approach to the style(s). Obliques Strategies and Badaboom on the World are probably the most cohesive tracks here, as – beside the above ones – both of them contain moves that are done in the classic jazz-fusion manner and also ones suggesting avant-tinged guitar Art-Rock rather than anything else. The other tracks are much less impressive, though: none of those will entice progressive rock fans and aren’t my personal cups of tea either. Tone Box Pie-4 at least combines spontaneously created stuff with conventional, swing-based Jazz Rock, whilst on each of the cuts, Scissor Me, Plus de Pates, Encore Plus de Pactes, Ready Steady Go and Missing Him, the band avoids any semblance of harmony, veering into territories of total musical anarchy. Finally, Pourquoi and Le Chant de la Carpe are both kind of guitar soundscapes, the latter piece featuring a male who whines all over it in a very annoying way.
Conclusion. Rather much of the music here suggests that Cartel Carnage is one of the few contemporary bands that owe a serious debt to the original RIO and avant-garde jazz-metal outfits, at times creating what comes across as modern RIO for metal band and brass accompaniment, i.e. MIO, only by taking most of the traditional rules and throwing them out of the window. All in all, this is a recommended album, as only one fourth of it contains totally chaotic ‘music’.
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