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Ravage

Posted by Westwind on 23 janvier 2011 – 23 h 36 min

Reviews


Noise Magazine

Coup de projo sur ce petit label de Brest à la forte identité (soutien au Mouvement pour l’Extinction Volontaire de l’Humanité) avec quatre de ses dernières productions.

On commence par le double album du patron, Kris G. de Westwind, et son Ravage qui démange les écoutilles et rend le cerveau captif. A la croisée d’un western gothique, d’un film de vampire by Tarkovski et d’un giallo by Ed Wood (« The Machupo Ballad »), les pistes du premier CD, Doomsday Songs, défilent entre ambient cadenassé à fond de cale, drone de supertanker intergalactique et circoncision de granit sur une table d’opération. Le voyage offre de beaux paysages où règnent la désolation glacée et les ruines dévastées dans une ambiance proche de Menace Ruine ou Methadrone (« Al Dajjal », « The Ebola March »), entre paganisme de fin du monde et cérémonial contemplatif. L’ennui précède la sidération qui laisse place à une morne inquiétude hypnagogique avant de sombrer dans un lent engourdissement, le crâne qui résonne comme une caverne balayée par un orgue messianique qui finira au fond de la cascade comme l’or dans le Ruffian. Il renaîtra de sa noyade sur le second CD, Requiem For Collapsing Cities, qui navigue sous la pluie entre passage à la KTL, drone celtique, litanie de cornemuse sur nappes carpenteriennes, tambours va-t-en-guerre, ambient champ de cadavres, relecture de l’Exorciste (et du fameux « We’ll Meet Again » de Vera Lynn en bonus), tribalisme post-druidique et zombie dancefloor. Attention, l’orgue un peu trop présent pourra donner des envies de massacre aux femmes enceintes et aux enfants en bas âge.


Judas Kiss

Written by Michael Cunningham
Two CDs see the anti-Gospel according to Westwind unleashed on a human-heavy Earth.

The undercurrent of self-destruction is again notable amongst the stark, modified, images within the accompanying eight page booklet. Westwind regulate events along the cd’s. On CD One, entitled Doomsday Songs, there is a clamour of tracks evoking false messiahs, Judgement Day and an age of demonic gods – the gathered, usual suspects from the apocrypha are in attendance and eager to wipe humanity into the deepest, darkest hells. ‘Rise’, the opener, is more an ambient introduction to doom that begins to temper the steel of later blades. Indeed sustained and deep ambiences throb and hum through most of the tracks on Doomsday Songs with the likes of ‘The Machupo Ballard’ more a pathogenic love song, country of origin cleverly hinted at in the subsequent arrangement. ‘The Great Conflagration’ disturbs while ‘The Ebola March’ and ‘Chant of Uriel’ really open up creatively through clean percussions, choral layers, synth-loops as the music begins to bloom like blood ebbing from diseased bodies. Samples of storm effects, raging winds, rains etc slices in part into the awaiting CD Two: Requiems for Collapsing Cities, but before that the track descends into silence before picking up again (after 10 minutes) with synth, vocals and graduated percussions. Yet, it is on CD Two where the real strengths of this release lie. Harsh looping electronica flays through  »Acharit Hayamin’ (final days), sharply followed by the grand, choral strains of ‘Chant of Ezrael’. ‘Scorched Earth’ has traces of Regard Extreme, even early Blood Axis, in parts and while ‘Destruction Time Again’ evokes Death in June and LJDLP’s Die Wiesse Rose, this does not detract from the power of the music, rather it adds a natural heritage. ‘All is well in the Bunker’ succeeds in manufacturing a sense of confinement through floored-rumbles, dead frequency looping held together by a synth phrase that speaks of an inevitable fate, hiding in the dark, concrete corners under flickering strobe lights. The title track is left to close proceedings with a bombast of swelling percussion, synths, sustained frequencies and drones until giving way to a silent pause which extends to a spoken vocal and restrained beat. Then a distorted ‘We’ll Meet Again’ ebbs from the speakers as a hellish carnival of insanity gleefully parades along the paths of destruction and horror. An essential chapter in the documentation of our end times.


Gothtronic

The third release from Steelwork Maschine which I got sees again an unknown band for me in Westwind. Since Steelwork Maschine is such a very nice label, they again treat us with a double-album.

As the very nice digi-pack already indicates, we are entering the ravaged world. The first cd is called ‘Doomsday Songs’ so this should give you even more ideas where this release could be heading towards. ‘Rise’ has a very ominous sound to it. Many vocals are heard to induce a kind of schizophrenia to the listener. Also some deformed organ sounds make this a very disconcerting song. ‘The Machupo Ballad’ shifts gears completely with a strange melodic song that is at the same time happy and sad. ‘Al-Dajjal’ is a very long piece of almost 15 minutes. It starts with stretched synth structures before it transforms into a kind of melodic Arabic song with the aid of organ sounds. ‘Kali Yuga’ is a very corrosive industrial soundscape with lots of noisy elements. ‘The Ebola March’ starts with some ominous synth work that is of a very mystical quality. It eventually transforms into a kind a martial song.

The second cd is called ‘Requiems For Collapsing Cities’ and starts with ‘Acharit Hayamim’. The song begins with some sampled rain sounds before thick layers of guitar feedback turn up. Eventually to fade out and we are left into the rain again. ‘Chant Of Ezrael’ is a very nice melodic song which has requiem written all over it. ‘The Mamburg Requiem’ is a very dark and beautiful piano and strings piece. ‘Destruction Time Again’ is based on some ominous organ sounds. Eventually more saturated sounds turn up to make for an intense orchestral conclusion. ‘Alles Ist Grün’ is a combination of electro-industrial and martial elements. A very nice song! ‘All Is Well In The Bunker’ is a very sad organ song, given the title, we are doomed to live our live into the underground bunkers, because we have destroyed the worlds for our needs.

This is again a nice release from Steelwork Maschine. Westwind combines in interesting ways very melancholic, often organ sound-based, songs with harder industrial and martial material. A nice release to pick up.

7.7/10


Chain DLK

Westwind’s 7th effort, the double disc set of ‘Ravage’ released earlier this year on Steelwork Maschine, is a monumentally epic narrative of the apocalypse that will leave you wanting more of its devastation when it’s over. At which point you may want to look into its limited edition companion EP entitled ‘Eliminate! Exterminate! Eradicate!’ (and this reviewer plans on doing exactly that).

‘Ravage’ is immersed in meanings much too deep to justly delve into here; but as the title of disc 1 suggests, ‘Doomsday Songs’ provides the soundtrack for a not only decaying, but dying earth. Evolving from sinister, pulsating synth drones layered in samples to viral carnivallian dirges to pseudo-theremin laden marches to droning feedback and noise to almost channeling ‘Fragile’ era NIN laced with Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, this disc doesn’t flow perfectly smooth, but then again, when Yawm Al-Qiyamah comes, I doubt that it will come smoothly, or with such a great soundtrack.

Disc 2, ‘Requiems for Collapsing Cities’ is rich with funeral marches, dirges and the aforementioned requiems. Pounding, martial law inspired percussion, drones and the ever throbbing basslines lay the groundwork for scattered guitars, synths, religious sampling and a variety of ethnic instrumentation which come together to pay homage to the remains of a once thriving earth. The overall tone of this disc is much more dark, brooding and hopeless than the first, and comes together with a bit more of a seamless flow. The tension gradually and continuously builds throughout the disc, making the listener almost feel the impending doom slowly overcome.

‘Ravage’ seems to very loosely follow a storyline, but more so pulls together many obscure references to apocalypse from a plethora of different religions and viewpoints as inspiration for this epic. These two discs, the first being a bit more experimental, the second being a bit more structured and dark, combine so many bits and pieces of different genres and styles that it nearly defies categorization, but I think it a safe bet to say that all of its elements congregate under the umbrella of martial industrial, with its tales of death, destruction, plague, etc and the musical groundwork to make you feel that the end of days may truly be upon us.

4.5/5


D-Side

Misanthrope reconnu, défenseur de l’organisation pour l’extinction volontaire de l’espèce humaine, le breton Westwind n’est pas, on s’en doute, particulièrement adepte de la joie de vivre, et son beau binôme de sorties est un nouveau pas franchi dans la désespérance froide. Car s’il publie peu, son dernier album remontant à 2004, Christophe Galès s’arrange toujours pour que ses œuvres soient foncièrement marquantes.

Ainsi, là où Tourmente s’intéressait aux ravages de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale sur la ville de Brest, Ravage embrasse un panorama bien plus vaste, puisque ce n’est rien moins que l’humanité qui est ici envisagée. et là où d’autres en auraient fait un simple prétexte à une indus archétypale, Westwind nous offre un double album dense et recherché, où les prophéties millénaristes chrétiennes croisent des références hindouistes, musulmanes ou judaïques, où des grondements de machines noient des tapis d’orgues funèbres, où l’on cite aussi bien Ennio Morricone que la musique rituelle, où les villes s’écroulent dans un silence de mort, depuis longtemps libérées de leurs habitants.


Dark Room

L’artista francese Christophe Gales, mente unica dietro al progetto Westwind e co-proprietario della Steelwork Maschine (etichetta piccola ma dalla valenza significativa nel panorama industriale, già fattasi notare per aver pubblicato i lavori di Neon Rain, Cheerleader 69 e Deuterror), manca dal mercato discografico dal 2006, anno d’uscita del 7″ split in compagnia di Weihan « 63 Days », ed in questo 2010 ormai inoltrato torna con ben due release: anzitutto questo corposo, attesissimo doppio album, frutto del lavoro svolto fra il 2004 e il 2007, edito in 900 esemplari (più 50 dell’edizione per collezionisti, comprensivi di EP 12″ e t-shirt) nel pregiato formato digifile dalla succitata label transalpina, e quasi in contemporanea il limitatissimo CDr « Eliminate! Exterminate! Eradicate! », rilasciato in sole 100 copie dall’affiliata Steelkraft Manufactory. Un ritorno estremamente significativo per un progetto che, sin dai primi vagiti ufficiali (il CDr « Everyone Can Be A Dictator » del ’99), ha piegato la materia industrial a proprio piacimento per dare corpo alle visioni evocate da un suono multiforme, mai statico e/o ripetitivo come quello di troppi colleghi incapaci di mettersi in discussione: Westwind ha sempre guardato oltre, riuscendo a coniugare melodia e rumore per giungere ad una forma artistica personale e di ampio respiro. E la nuova doppia release, che racchiude complessivamente quasi 150 minuti di musica divisi in 23 tracce, è la summa di una carriera ormai ultradecennale di tutto rispetto: « l’Apocalisse sta accadendo proprio ora, e questa è la colonna sonora per il collasso della civilizzazione » recitano le note ufficiali, e noi non possiamo che sposare tale descrizione, quadro apocalittico di un lavoro di impressionante potenza cinematica. Quasi 150 minuti divisi nei due dischetti (intitolati rispettivamente « Doomsday Songs » e « Requiems For Collapsing Cities »), nell’arco dei quali l’estro e la grande visione d’insieme dell’artista francese coniugano con una capacità descrittiva non comune abrasioni industriali, suoni vintage, campioni a tutto tondo, movenze sintetiche, temi ambientali inceneriti, maestosità neoclassica e fragore marziale: più articolato e complesso il primo dischetto, con momenti importanti come « Al-Dajjal » (14 minuti fra crescendo pulsanti, ritmi misurati ma tenaci e suoni di grande effetto) e « Chant Of Uriel » (ottimo il suo incedere sontuoso ed evocativo), più vicino ad un vero e proprio requiem per un mondo giunto alla sua fine il secondo, con episodi memorabili come la grigia « The Marburg Requiem » (dove è il piano a guidare le danze in modo tanto semplice quanto efficace), la stupenda « Scorched Earth » (magniloquente requiem che sfocia con grande classe nel neoclassico marziale più possente), la cupa « Satya Yuga » (capace di mutare in una solenne melodia accompagnata da un ritmo quasi magico), l’elettrico requiem sintetico « Destruction Time Again » (che nel suo svolgimento conduce nuovamente verso rocciosi lidi neoclassic/martial), la tremendamente inquietante « Pandemia » (sottile dark ambient con suoni da far gelare il sangue) e la pulsante e severa « Alles Ist Grün » (maestoso manifesto elettronico di una qualità tale che act più rivolti all’electro tout-court possono solo sognarsi di concepire). Un’opera molto lunga e non certo facile da assimilare, sempre ricca di sorprese nell’arco delle sue 23 tracce (le ghost-track presenti al fondo dei due dischetti, ad esempio, sono due gustose cover, rispettivamente « In A Lonely Place » dei Joy Division e « We’ll Meet Again », classico nato dalle penne di Hughie Charles e Ross Parker), tutte esemplificative dell’estro e della classe di un artista che possiede una visione d’insieme molto forte (ben completata dal mirabile lavoro grafico di Nicolas Crombez, autore delle stupende foto incluse), le giuste capacità per concretizzarla ed una comprovata esperienza sul campo, che ‘dettagli’ come una produzione ricca di sfumature gustosissime ed arrangiamenti a dir poco ammirevoli provano oltre ogni ragionevole dubbio. Un grande ritorno: con « Ravage » l’intera ‘grey area’ rialza la testa.

Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi


Ver Sacrum

Ravage vede il ritorno in pompa magna dei francesi Westwind, già fautori di diverse pregevoli uscite in ambito marziale. Il lungo lasso di tempo intercorso deve aver fatto molto bene ai nostri, dato che questo monumentale doppio CD segna una svolta nel loro percorso musicale, che ora si arricchisce di nuove e interessanti sfumature, e che con tutta probabilità finirà nella mia top ten del 2010. Tutto il disco è un gran bel sentire: « The Machupo Ballad », giocata su moog e musichette da frontiera desertica, è un brano che starebbe bene in qualche film horror messicano di qualche decennio fa, ed è un’ottima apertura. Le ottime « Al-Dajjal » e « Yawm Al-Qiyamah », come il titolo suggerisce, combinano atmosfere mediorientali a una base elettronica pesante e ipnotica, con la seconda che sterza verso il drone. Più canonicamente legate alle declinazioni elettronico-industriali sono brani come « The Great Conflagration », che insiste sulla vena horror, « Project Megiddo » o « Vatican As Jericho ». Ciò che caratterizza di più l’album è il suono dell’organo combinato all’elettronica pulsante e alle percussioni e che, unite alle atmosfere retro, creano un amalgama dal forte impatto. Ravage è, in definitiva, un gran bel disco da non farsi sfuggire. La devastazione a cui accenna il titolo, probabilmente, è quella del genere marziale, qui ricombinato in modi nuovi e originali.

http://versacrum.hyperborea.com/musica/recensioni/rec201004/index_html?query_start=21


Necroweb

Mit einem sehr atmosphärischen und fast ein wenig verstörenden Intro wird das Album « Ravage » der Franzosen Westwind eröffnet. Man lässt sich Zeit – um genau zu sein mehr als fünf Minuten – um den Hörer in dieses Doppelalbum einzuführen.

Bereits durch das Cover und besonders durch das Booklet ahnt man, worum es auf « Ravage » geht: Endzeitstimmung, Zerstörung und Krieg. Und genau in diese Welt versetzt uns der Opener « Rise » langsam aber zielstrebig und vor allem effektiv. Dezent platzierte Instrumente, welche von in den Hintergrund gerückten Vocals untermalt wurden, bilden dabei die Klangkulisse.

Deutlich relaxter geht es im zweiten Track « The Machupo Ballad » zu. Eine Akustikgitarre dominiert, die im weiteren Verlauf von geschickt arrangierten Drums unterstützt wurde. Wären nicht die elektronischen Störgeräusche, die ein wenig an alte Sci-Fi Sounds erinnern, könnte man meinen, ein anderes Album zu hören. Zusätzlich wird « The Machupo Ballad » gegen Ende immer aggressiver. Dieses passiert allerdings auf eine sehr intelligente, geradezu subtile Art und Weise. Sehr gelungen.

Mehr in Richtung Industrial geht der Titel « Kali Yuga ». Hier stehen ganz klar die elektronischen Elemente im Vordergrund. Von der ersten Sekunde an wird der Hörer von diversen Klängen und Geräuschen verwirrt, und es dauert eine Weile, bis man sich in « Kali Yuga » zurechtfindet. Hat man sich allerdings erst einmal auf diesen Song eingestellt, ist er durchaus spannend. Eine Meinung über « Kali Yuga » kann man sich allerdings erst nach einigen Durchläufen bilden.

Mit dem über 16 Minuten langen « Chant Of Uriel » endet die erste CD von Ravage. Erneut nehmen sich Westwind viel Zeit, den Hörer von dieser Scheibe zu verabschieden. Verabschieden deshalb, weil jede CD für sich ein abgeschlossenes Werk darstellt, welches als Album dann zusammengeführt wird. Im Mittelteil gibt es eine fünf minütige Ruhephase. Ich würde jedoch nicht behaupten, dass es sich dabei um einen Hidden Track handelt. « Chant Of Uriel » spielt noch einmal gekonnt mit allen Stimmungen, die uns bisher serviert wurden und kombiniert diese geschickt.

« Acharit Hayamim », der erste Song der zweiten Scheibe, dient wieder dazu, den Hörer auf das Kommende einzustimmen. Es wird eine reine Endzeitstimmung generiert, die auf einige Konsumenten regelrecht bedrückend wirken kann. Besonders interessant ist, dass « Acharit Hayamim » fast schon extrem beginnt und gegen Ende immer ruhiger wird.

« Chant Of Ezrael », der folgende Track, ist hingegen ein wenig freundlicher. Zwar wird auf die bedrückende Stimmung des Vorgängers aufgebaut, aber besonders die hellen Töne schaffen ein kleines bisschen Hoffnung.

Mit dem namensgebenden « Ravage » endet dieses Album. Auch hier handelt es sich wieder um ein Werk epischer Länge, das mehr als 18 Minuten andauert. Diese beinhalten abermals eine mehrminütige Ruhephase, nach der diese Scheibe mit verzerrtem Gesang beendet wird.

Insgesamt ist « Ravage » sicherlich nichts für Einsteiger in dieses Genre, ist es doch ein extrem anspruchsvolles, sehr oft verstörendes Werk, welchem man viel Zeit widmen sollte, um es komplett zu verstehen.
Daher gebe ich hier auch nur 7,5 Punkte. Ich denke, dabei handelt es sich selbst im Dark Ambient Bereich um ein Nischenprodukt, mit dem sich nicht jeder anfreunden kann. Mir persönlich – das sei an dieser Stelle angemerkt – gefällt « Ravage » jedoch gut.

7.5/10

http://www.necroweb.de/magazin/neues-album/westwind-ravage/


SIDELINE

After the « Tourmente II »-album released in 2004 it took nearly 6 years to achieve this new. This French project has always been very inspired for the writing of dark ambient music, but « Ravage » goes above all expectations. The cinematographic character of the songs is nearly present on all of the tracks. That’s a quite common element on all ambient releases although Westwind put the soundtrack style in a more elaborated form. Most of the tracks have been meticulously built up, driven by a progression in the sounds and constructed with an impressive palette of sounds. From the 1st disc the « Al-Dajjal »-cut is an attention grabber. This track evolves into a kind of trance-dub part injecting a psychedelic touch to the composition. Another noticeable track is « Vatican As Jericho ». This is into pure soundtrack style, but built up with impressive sounds. A few other tracks are more into the experimental vein (cf. « The Great Conflagration » and « Kali Yuga ») although quite soundtrack-like as well. The 2nd disc sounds a little bit different and especially in the use of sounds. Westwind here used organ sound on different songs. It injects an extra mysterious touch, which comes close to a kind of black mess on « Destruction Time Again ». This disc is also more industrial-minded while I even noticed some martial elements on a few tracks (cf. « Chant Of Ezrael » and « Scorched Earth »). The 2nd disc of « Ravage » sounds more conceptual, but I especially like the diversity in between both discs. « Ravage » is a fascinating piece of music appealing for a wider audience. Ambient, industrial, experimental and pure soundtrack elements can be found back the entire album long.
(DP:7/8)DP.


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