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"Outcast as a bastard / the kind of error we regret / … / hanged in a dry, tight and unflattering rope / … / a family photograph / the jammed horizon / a kid on the grill / poached and abused"
Expressionistic, sophisticated, evolved, overflowing, pitch-black. Just a few words, a desperate attempt to properly approach ANIMALE(S), the fifth full-length record of the French combo CELESTE from Lyon. While their former albums PESSIMISTE(S) (2006), NIHILISTE(S) (2008), MISANTHROPE(S) (2009) and MORTE(S) NEE(S) (2010) have all been finished in a few months, it took them all the last three years to craft this concept album. Unsurprisingly, the result of this long process is an opus which is so loaded and dense that it can bearly withstand its inner pressure.
"Your most despicable wanderings did not even mime the slightest detail of this scene / even this helping hand you reject, like the outstretched hands with which we strike you every day / … / can her tears release you / can your soul calm down for once"
The concept behind ANIMALE(S) is the bleak story of a boy and a girl, a kind of love story with a tragic ending. A story about how tough youth can be if parents discard their responsibilities. For once in metal-oriented music, a closer look at artwork and lyrics gives a new dimension to a record and is indispensible for a comprehensive and complete experience of this album.
"Cold, squeezed too much / rolled around by vagabonds in hostility / creased by strength and rocked / in a linen without trust / then dragged face downwards"
Musically, ANIMALE(S) sees CELESTE developing their metal and hardcore oriented sound in different directions. Their music was always characterised by the interaction of monumental melodies, dark riffs, violent drums and expressive lyrics, but on the new album all these ingrediences are more expressed. The last three years' time has carved out the contrasts in Celeste's music like a stream carves out a rugged canyon. The melodies are more melodic, but also more sparse. Many parts are much darker and more noisy than the past albums. The lyrics are as savage as they can be without being vulgar. At the same time, ANIMALE(S) features exceptional collaborations with artists such as the experimental musician Ben Chatwin from TALVHORROS -- also on Denovali Records - and the composers and sound designers Sabrina Duval and Jean Charles Bastion.
"Broken like the glass which seems to penetrate her / cold as the iron which is going to tear her up / like a frightened prey, crying under the yoke of hatred / … / to forgive this alive and obscene error / … / the shadow of his shadow raised in the mud and shit"
CELESTE truly managed to finish this album at the right moment, before the amount of concept, composition and artistic skill would have been too much for a single album. Exactly for this reason, ANIMALE(S) is a unique piece of art, a coherent album which does not allow for anything to be added without destroying it. Simply put, it is just perfect.