Friday, January 9, 2009

Best of 2008: #10. Aussitot Mort - Montuenga

Aussitot Mort are a French screamo band who sound something like a cross between Daitro and Isis, taking a very dense and heavy approach to their music that differentiates them from their more balleyhooed countrymen. Montuenga is Aussitot Mort's first full-length album, following up on the critical success of the group's demo and 6 Songs EP.

The album opens with the sludgy and forceful "Mort Mort Mort", which plods along at metallic levels of heaviness, introducing the listener to the Aussitot Mort philosophy that it's better to be loud than fast. The guitars trudge along with high authority, dominating the pace as the drummer wails away in the background. Also intriguing is the incorporation of a violin among the mass of the guitars, adding to the desolate feel of the song. "Une Heure Plus Tard" shakes off some of the heaviness of the former song, with the bass driving much of the action as the guitars smoothly and sharply dance in and out of the mix. This song shows a more accessible Aussitot Mort, and while the song still remains blindingly heavy at points, it also exhibits and emphasizes some stellar guitarwork that can be easily enjoyed. The next track, "..." serves mostly as a break in the album, not even being afforded the importance of a name. It is a minimalist song that features little more than a reverb-drenched guitar riff surrounded by ominous white noise. "Huit" follows, and it is a song very much reminiscent of "Une Heure Plus Tard". The song features some fantastically catchy guitar work, with the contrast between the spiraling, dissociative guitar licks and the more basal sounds that follow giving the feel of a drug-induced fervor and the eventual comedown.

"Le Kid de la Plage" starts with a delicate acoustic guitar and a high-pitched bell sound that occurs throughout most of the song, before rising in tone and intensity to more familiar levels. It then breaks, with the song being lead forward by the same forceful drumming patterns that occur throughout and some memorable group chanting. This is possibly the most experimental song on the album, especially during the outro, showing Aussitot Mort's progressive attitude through numerous guitar effects and the addition of new instruments into the mix. "On a qu'a se dire qu'on s'en" closes the album, showing the same metal-inspired heaviness and auspicious tinkering that is displayed throughout.

(An aside: I haven't talked much about the vocals on this album, and that is because Montuenga has much less emphasis on vocals than on the group's demo, occasionally resorting to straight-up instrumentals, which is apparently due to the fact that the band parted ways with their original vocalist some time after recording their demo. So, yeah. Just something I learned today.)

On their first album, Aussitot Mort take the lumbering density of post-metal, add in some spectacularly catchy and inventive guitar riffs with some powerfully frantic drumwork, and string it all together in impressive fashion. Montuenga is a fantastic and extremely promising album, managing to be heavy yet delicate at times, dense yet sparse, experimental yet accessible. If nothing else, this should place Aussitot Mort next to Daitro and Sed Non Satiata as one of the best and most progressive progenitors of European screamo. But hopefully, their eclectically heavy sound will help them find favour outside of that traditionally narrow niche, as an album like this deserves all the praise it can get.

Dear Diary: Today I successfully used the phrase "balleyhooed" in a sentence. I don't think I've ever been happier.


gobacktoyourmotherscunt said...

This is my favourite album of 2008. It took me a little while to warm to it, but once I did there was no looking back. I hear a little circa "The Satellite Years" Hopesfall in the mix as well.

cretin said...

I can kind of see the Hopesfall comparison (layered sound, occasional guitar wankery), but I think what Aussitot Mort does on this album is a lot more interesting instrumentally, if not as potentially relatable lyrically due to the language barrier.

Ape Mummy said...

Cretin, I'm really enjoying the Best of 2008. It's a lot more thought out than anything I'd post, plus I'm getting a lot of great ideas for ways to spend my hard-earned tax dollars.

Shame yer in Canada. I'd invite you down for the Ravens game next Sunday. One of my pals is a huge Steelers fan, so we're doing some massive partying next weekend. Punk rock, brats, single malts...the whole nine.

cretin said...

thanks! glad to see someone's enjoying it - I've been trying to update daily, but that may just be a tad ambitious considering I already went through my entire catalogue of pre-written posts.

s'a shame alright, because that sounds like a pretty good time you got going; football, good music and potential inebriation, all with bragging rights on the line. I'll have to try something similar with my more football-inclined friends (albeit sans bragging rights, with the notable exception of pestering a friend of mind who's a Colts fan about their playoff chokejob).

gobacktoyourmotherscunt said...

I was thinking mostly of the common reliance on delay and reverb. Oh, and I totally agree that Aussitot Mort is far more interesting instrumetally than Hopesfall, and quite probably lyrically as well (Hopefall aren't really setting the bar too high there). I much prefer the vocals on Montuenga to their earlier material as well.

cretin said...

i concur with the whole of that paragraph. consensus has been waged!