In the first two minutes of The Legend Of Gévaudan you'll hear a 30-second harp piece playing angelic arpeggios, then for 30 seconds the heavy metal set breaks in punctuated by a church organ, then it settles into solid progressive metal with big guitar passages, crunchy rhythms and riffs, and rich keyboard overlays. And you'll be sitting up in your seat and saying Damn this is cool - what the hell is it?
Keep listening – it's a concept EP based on a French tale set in the 18th century. There is a small orchestra and a choir, the story is narrated by one "Sir Leino Legenda" (a fake name, we gather), and several guest artists sing character parts. Sound familiar? The first thing that comes to mind is Ayreon's grand epics.
The story describes the life of Jean luc de Monét – and we didn't lose the fact that the character shares the band leader's last name. It is a complicated story, based partly in reality, partly in an otherworldly occult, and partly in the paranoid schizophrenia in the mind of the main character. In the end Jean Luc is locked up in a dark mental institution, in a catatonic state, and eventually enters a state of mental death. Very strange, very dark, and a story that can be appreciated at various levels.
The song structures are reasonably complex and there's no question that despite the heaviness of the music, this is progressive metal. Listen for the recurring themes, the constantly shifting tempo, and the passages with a clear classical influence which brings an interesting texture and musical credibility to the record. The instrumentation is very good, and de Monét's guitars are the defining sound on this album. And those orchestra and choir sounds are used sensibly and with tasteful restraint. The vocals are … competent. The guest artists' performances frankly outshine those of Karri de Monét, Tacere's lead singer, guitarist, story writer, songwriter, producer, cover artist and band leader. The occasional death-like grunting is not a distraction and fits into the piece rather well.
There's one problem with this piece: The narration is delivered in a strange half-whisper that is probably meant to sound sinister, and the language is thickly accented. The result is a disappointingly unconvincing narrative that does not meet the standard of the instrumentation or the songwriting.
Finland's Tacere has yet to release a full-length CD, and this one was self-financed and self-released. When they finally get a full CD together, and if they can address the vocals and find a different narrator, the result will probably be a metal epic that will stand shoulder to shoulder with Ayreon. Meantime, let's hope a big label or distributor picks them up. This band deserves it, and you have to give Karri full marks for the courage and ambition that it took to create this EP.
1. Overture - The land of eternal shadows
2. Set me Free
4. The hours of passion and despair
5. An open heart
6. The equilibrium of Unlife
7. Finale - The Consolidation