Cepheide is a French one-man band that I have had the pleasure of following nearly since its inception back in 2013 in Paris – I missed the debut Demo, but managed to get my hands on his first EP. Then his first Full-length and then the split he did with Time Lurker. All of which I loved, and all of which are on our site. Now, two years after the last time I had the pleasure of giving a new Cepheide record a spin, the second Full-Length release finally reached my greedy, waiting fingers.
Les Échappées is the name of Gaetans newest creation, a six-piece of intense auditory assault upon your ears. As is to be expected, Cepheide is sticking to its Atmospheric Black Metal roots, focusing upon the sound of the band as a whole, as opposed to relying on riffs and solos (of which I noticed none). This is by far my preferred style of music, where every small cog and note serves no purpose on its own, but instead is solely designed to add to the whole – Which is where you get tracks such as ”Les Sang” (meaning ‘The Blood’), a seven-and-a-half minutes long soundscape that is slowly, efficiently and relentlessly building up ambience, power and malice throughout; Only to casually and almost nonchalantly fade to silence in order to leave the scene ready for the next contender on the record.
Now, I already showed my true colours by admitting to being a big fan of Gaetan and his different projects – And Cepheide is definitely my favourite of his by a not inconsiderable margin. Hence I am by no means unbiased in reviewing this record – Which I venture is not a problem if you are, like me, inclined towards the Black Metal scene of France, the Atmospheric branch of it in particular. And I dare claim that Les Éshappées, to me at least, represents Cepheide at its (so far) peak. It is slightly longer than its Full-length predecessor, containing one more track and adding up to nearly forty-three minutes of playtime, which is two minutes more than what came before it – Yet the music is tighter, more visceral, intensely gnawing at your bones as the crescendo builds and just plain invites itself to be played over and over. But then again this is to be expected from a talented multiartist such as Gaetan. And the fact that he is capable of managing every single aspect of his release by himself only ensures that his vision will be as close to reality as possible. And honestly, that is the highest praise I can give this record.
Recommended for fans of Austere (up to a point), early Wolves In The Throne Room and Paramnesia.