Weend'ô is a French four piece band founded by husband and wife, Terence N'Guyen and Laetitia Chaudemanche. This is the band's second studio album; the first, You Need To Know Yourself (see review) was released in 2011. The band self-released Time Of Awakening last year but were then signed to the new Sonicbond label on which it has been rereleased with a bonus track. They have also released a DVD, Fairytalacoustic (2013 see review).
The essence of Weend'ô, the name inspired by Terence and Laetitia's son Ewen, is pure enchantment. Heavy, verging on prog metal in places, but always melodic, the swirling sonics of Time Of Awakening are a joy from start to finish.
The gentle, haunting start of Part 1 is a portent of what is to come, the band launching into a rhythmic holding pattern courtesy of drummer/programmer, Nathanael Buss, that starts to build and expand as Laetitia's haunting voice is introduced and Terence delivers the first of several extraordinary guitar solos. Maxim Rami's booming bass, together with Buss's rock-solid drumming, provide the rock on which the subsequent vocal/keyboard/guitar dynamics can ascend. It ends with a gorgeous synth section that segues into Part 2, Laetitia's delicate vocals and piano passage moving into a beautiful rolling piano section that then changes to some meditative sound effects.
Acoustic guitar starts Part 3 before it breaks loose into an explosion of sonic sensations, Laetitia's voice soaring ever skywards, followed by a huge guitar break and then the song enters yet another music chamber, awash with synths and spine-tingling guitar.
Angel Dust starts heavy but then Laetitia begins weaving magical webs of words about her own private angel: “His black-winged robe shimmers and flies over our underground world.” Like her heavenly messenger, the song scales even greater heights through her extraordinary voice, probably one of the best in prog currently.
It's another gorgeous, shimmering song, Elea, which rounds off the collection with the beautiful opening line: “Your light's felt on us, Elea.” This track features backing vocals from Alan Reed, who Weend'ô supported on his UK mini-tour earlier this year, and Jeremie Mazan. Its spiritually charged lyrics and mighty rhythms take it into ethereal realms, further supplemented with other-worldly guitars and heavenly voices.
A radio edit of Angel Dust brings it all to a close.
Time Of Awakening will indeed awaken many listener's senses through its innate power and beauty. Weend'ô possess a unique power to create a universe of light, shade and atmosphere, which draws you in and keeps you totally enthralled throughout.
***** Alison Reijman
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2018