Review 921 : Cân Bardd – Devoured by the Oak – English

It’s already time for Cân Bardd’s third album.

Created in Switzerland in 2016 by Malo Civelli (guitar/bass/vocals/keyboards, ex-Kaatarakt) and Dylan Watson (drums, Kassogtha, ex-Kaatarakt, ex-AM:PM), the band quickly signs with Northern Silence Productions, with whom they release an album in 2018, then a second one in 2019, and now Devoured by the Oak in 2021.

The band is accompanied on stage since 2019 by Nicolas Bise (guitar/vocals, Norvhar, ex-AM:PM) and Matthieu Favre (guitar, Norvhar, ex-Anachronism), who participated in the album’s choirs, with Romarick Gendre et Yoann Giacomelli (ex-Kaatarakt).

The album begins in softness with Echoes of the Moss, a composition that makes the band’s sound come slowly, accompanied by far female vocals, then Une couronne de branches unveils a majestic oppression in company of Vladimir Cochet’s acoustic guitar (Mirrorthrone, Weeping Birth). Rage suddenly sets fire to the rhythmic while keeping this impressive and ice-cold slowness, walking with howlings and choirs. Respites rhythm this flood of blackness and create a contrast between the two faces of their music, then Devoured by the Oak Pt.I comes next with a mysterious sound. Clean vocals and instrumental parts quietly surround us while growing until saturation comes, as well as this epic explosion. Blackness and beauty melt together on this haunting march, like on Devoured by the Oak Pt.II and its ambient furor. The song is definitely more raw and weighing than the previous one, creating an interesting and addictive contrast which picks into Post-Black to add to the airy and Pagan influences, then the sound stops to let place to Crépuscule and its melancholy. The long track is very luminous, and even when saturation strikes, we feel those soft roots lingering and sometimes come over to offer regular respites, then Spleen by the Pond shrouds us again with a worrying blackness. The ambient sound gives birth to intense darkness which will explode over Autumn Shore, a very seizing song. The alternating between quiet parts and abrasive saturation is still very effective, and it allows the band to easily captivate us by adding majestic keyboards, then the album ends with Blomsterkransen. On this final track, the band welcomes Lambert Segura (Saor) on violin and Linnéa Lindqvist on vocals to offer us this final touch of quietness while exploiting its Folk roots, and the sound slowly fades away.

With this new album, Cân Bardd gives a more progressive dimension to its Atmospheric and epic Black/Folk. Whether blackness is still here, Devoured by the Oak skillfully melts it to an appeasing quietness, creating a strong contrast between the two parts of their universe, permanently overlapping.


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