Weend’ô - Time Of Awakening album review
Symphonic French prog metallers’ second long-player
When one of your band’s major assets is a voice as captivating as Laetitia Chaudemanche’s, you’re onto a winner from the start. But while her charismatic warble immediately brings comparisons to the symphonic likes of Nightwish or the dream pop of Bel Canto, the other elements to Weend’ô’s sound seem designed to contrast with her vocal, as well as complement it. It jars as often as it gels – the juddery jerk-prog of Angel Dust and some manic shredding seem to battle against Chaudemanche’s ghostly entreaties and drown them. But when based around powerful melodic sweeps such as the descending chord progression of Time Of Awakening Part 1, their heavy riffing can be lifted up by the vocal into a thrillingly dramatic rock symphony. Other moments of beauty include the hymnal harmonies and acoustic flora that introduce Elea Part I. When all the key elements of their sound coexist at full power, it’s a breathtaking feeling – the power chords, scattershot percussion and metallic licks of Time Of Awakening Part III against Chaudemanche’s hands-to-heaven contralto come over as a jilted bride weeping in a thunderstorm.