The first of three from our friends at Les Acteurs De L’ombre, or Ladlo Productions is Regarde Les Hommes Tomber with their S/T debut. This French five-piece offers up a potent mixture of post-black metal miasma and convulsive hard-core, threatening the boundaries of comfortable and easily categorized extreme music. While the cover art is a blatant rip-off of Doré’s The Confusion of Tongues, it does give me an idea of the mournful emotion embodied in the music. Dark, murky minor chords ring throughout with the hollow resonance of the snare and bass in the background. Vocals are edgy, lyrics are intelligent and the band is together on more than one level of musicianship. Pretty sure this is their debut so make sure to tell your friends if you like what you hear!

Pensées Noctures is a band that you may already be familiar with. Since 2009, this one-man French maniac has released four full-length albums, three of which were also on LADLO Productions. What I found on this newest album, ‘Nom D’une Pipe!’ was one of the widest varieties of twisted and demented melodies I have heard in some time. Wailing saxophones are coupled with bleating accordians and churning calliopes, all dancing and stumbling in a poorly lit circus tent that smells of dust, piss and wine. Eerie and unsettling in a way that is tough as hell to describe, I can’t help but think of that David Lynch movie where everyone is talking and walking backwards. The monstrous, carnival bark vocals set things over the edge just as the mood shifts again into a backbeat swing, breezy and warm like a beach beer party at sunset. Although the large booklet is entirely in French, the grotesque faces of the marionettes adorning the cover are more than enough to hint at the CD contents. Hard to imagine myself giving it another listen but worth the experience!

Nom d’une Pipe ! by PN Records
Lastly, we are cornered, backs to the wall, face to face with a dark, towering monstrosity. ‘Various Shades of Black’ is the sophomore album from Way to End, their first having been released with Debemur Mortii. Again, the French liner notes only serve to twist my uncultured tongue, but will you look at the artwork!?! The interior images produce more than one imaginative excursion with their dark lines and isolated, nude subject. Post-black metal atmosphere is again heard but here we find ourselves being hammered by bomb blasts, double bass rhythms and complex patterns that propel the fight ever onward. The band shifts quickly and with ease between dynamics, loud and aggressive attacks to soft and subtle whispers are abound in ‘Various…’. Most of the time, I prefer it when a band does one or the other rather than flip the ‘dynamics switch’ on and back off for dramatic effect but at least Way To End does it well. Having a drummer as expertly able as Decay certainly helps; without him skills on the drumkit, the songs would be a mere shadow of these recordings. Check out this release; the theremin is cool as fuck too!