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Black Noodle Project, The: Code 2.0

Although it took me a long while to break down, the previous, 2017 album from The Black Noodle Project, Divided We Fall, did eventually reveal an inner core that captivated the heart in the most desolate of ways. The desolation still shines through on the band’s new release, Code 2.0, but for me, without the inner release and contrast previously offered up by this band. From many accounts, this is an album that finds this French band going back to their melancholy roots but as such, the results are, for me, just a little too relentless to stir the emotions beyond a remote appreciation and inner acknowledgment that the musicianship is of the highest standard. The three piece defining those efforts come in the shape of Anthony Létévé (bass), Fabrice Berger (drums) and Sébastien Bourdeix on guitars, keyboards and occasional bass and voice. And for the latter, voice and not vocals is a key distinction, because along with Sandrine Bourdeix, Clément Bourdeix and Léon Burghgraeve, the quartet offer up French word spoken sections across the album that both heighten the tension and, unfortunately for me, increase the remoteness.

Under normal circumstances I can appreciate and, usually, revel in bands using their native tongue to embellish, if not lead their work, but here, the spoken word sections are presented in a way that disconnects them from the post-prog meanderings in such a fashion that for me makes not understanding the words a true stumbling block. Admittedly, they are an occasional feature as we slide from the plaintive offerings on ‘Acte III” to the more melodic and accessible tones of “Acte IV”, but nonetheless, I can’t quite shake off the feeling that I’m missing out on a key element of this album and the intention behind it.

Musically the whole experience, even with a mix of deep, dank darkness and some more melodious moments, can become all too one dimensional and while there’s great care to alter the mood and atmosphere, I can’t help but feel that I’m grasping at thin air for the cohesion that should hold the whole thing together. Meticulously constructed as it is, Code 2.0 simply doesn’t speak to me and while I can admire the austere beauty and shimmering, simmering atmospheres that it creates, in the end, the lack of emotional connection is the breaking point between appreciation and enjoyment. I undoubtedly do the former here, but not the latter and ultimately that makes this album a tough journey.

Track Listing
1. Acte I
2. Acte II
3. Acte III
4. Acte IV
5. Acte V
6. Acte VI
7. Acte Final

Added: November 2nd 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Black Noodle Project on bandcamp
Hits: 212
Language: english

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