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Weend’ô - Time Of Awakening album review

Symphonic French prog metallers’ second long-player

Weend’ô - Time Of Awakening album artwork

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.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock