After the split of Guillaume Fenoy s former band 4/3 De Trio and the death of their drummer, this French guitarist and composer has returned with a new band called Mandibulbe. In this band he assembled his old mate and bass player Romain Gayral to play together with two new members, Sébastien Touzeau on drums and second guitarist Sofiéne Yahiaoui. The result of their cooperation is the debut album Praxis.
Praxis is an almost entirely instrumental collage of improvised guitar jamming. The concept behind the album was creating music that can be listened to at different levels. The major influences I can think of are bands like King Crimson, Tool and a lot of Karma To Burn. Génération Addict is based on a guitar riff that follows the drums and bass groove. In part two the groove gets heavier with some great guitar escapades. Weird is the word for the opening melodies in the title track that follows, but the staccato metal guitar leads this track in the right direction. Initializing can be regarded as a soundscape the way Robert Fripp likes to play them. It's a nice interlude for the album. Even more King Crimson-ish is Rouleau Compresseur with heavy rhythms, strange noises of sometimes guitar, but mostly computer I guess, with a 'lovely annoying' end. Métaloïde - the title already indicates what to expect - has indeed a heavy base on which the groove's going on with whirling guitars and changing moods. This song - my personal favourite - has been divided in three separate sections, but comes out as one coherent piece of music. The album comes to an end with Net Intelligencia, a kind of French rap over heavy guitars. Some friends of the band provided the vocals varying from rap to ordinary shouting. Could this be French humor? I hope so, because the band made a better impression in the instrumental parts.
I think Praxis is not the album most progressive rock lovers will buy blindly. The songs have too much emphasis on the weird guitars, the heavy grooves and the complicated rhythms. For open-minded guitar lovers, this album is a real treat. By listening to it more often, the album will grow and you'll see, or better you hear the different levels in the songs.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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