Review 2128 : Ecr.l’Inf – Belluaires – English

If you know Voltaire, you’re probably familiar with the expression Ecr.l’Inf.

Meaning « Let’s crush the infamous », it also inspired Krys Denhez (vocals, Ophe, Neo Inferno, ex-Demande à la Poussière), Rémi Serafino (drums, Igorrr, ex-Hyrgal, ex-Svart Crown), Jiu Gebenholtz (bass, ex-No Return), Dorian Lairson (guitar, Jarell) and Jean Lassalle (keyboards, Jarell) to create Belluaires, an album distributed by Source Atone Records and My Kingdom Music.

I’ll be honest with you: to me, philosophy is an abstract concept, which I sometimes understand, but about which I know very little. It’s never really interested me, and I’ve never cultivated myself more than necessary, so we’ll focus here on the musical aspect of this album.

The vindictive French vocals are extremely present from Le Désespoir du Prophète onwards, an as intense as chaotic opening track which nevertheless mellows at times and then descends into fury once more. Intense and heady melodies take us to Tribunal de l’Âme, where the band cloak themselves in a veil of suffocating despair before adopting more aggressive jerky patterns, but the atmosphere becomes even heavier as it progresses, slowing at times to let keyboards develop a brighter touch before La Danse des Crânes draws us into its majestic ballet. Confusion reigns in the riffs sometimes revealing strangely catchy tones, especially thanks to that unexpected accordion that leads us to the quietude of Missive, which is gradually tinged by darkness before surrendering to the darkness that will definitively haunt its progression to nothingness. Le Royaume du Vide reveals some noisy Industrial influences that revive a melancholic Black Metal that ignites to mercilessly trample us under the ominous orchestrations, which again take control of the sound to soften it, then become menacing on Mon Ultime Projection, a track where the raw roots stand out the most, while retaining the touch of madness. Keyboards bring an impressive theatrical aspect to some passages, letting rage explode in a highly contrasting atmosphere, followed by a final where the vocalist remains alone to lead us to Valetaille, where the misty sounds of the beginning are replaced by a vast ocean of intimidating visceral violence where the solemn aspect meets the bellicose one until Feu Pâle brings the album to a close with an anguished, noisy final section.

The name Belluaires undoubtedly implies violence, and it’s in a chaotic, incredibly dark landscape that Ecr.l’Inf describes it to us through its unhealthy riffs and apocalyptic ambience. The rare touches of tranquility are life-saving.


Version Française ?

A few questions to Krys and Dorian, respectively singer and guitarist of the project Ecr.L’inf./div>

Hello, and thank you for your time! How would you introduce the band Ecr.l’Inf without using the usual musical style labels?
Krys (vocals): Ecr.l’inf is resolutely Black Metal in its approach, it’s a personal vision of this style that we wanted to present in this album. The codes of the style are in the guitar riffing and the synth arrangements, but we’ve opted for a more comprehensible vocal style to give the lyrics a real place in our music. Singing with less saturation and positioning the vocals further forward in the recording than is usually the case in Black Metal. It’s a style we’re particularly fond of, and it gave us a lot of scope to create this album.
Dorian (guitar): Indeed, the main value we wanted to emphasize, and which has been the guiding principle throughout the project, is sincerity. So, singing in French was an obvious choice. Transmitting our message in any other language would have degraded the nuances and intelligibility we were looking for. In the demos, Black Metal vocals coexisted with less saturated but more powerful vocals. In the end, we opted for only the most intelligible vocals. It sounds wonderful and fits in perfectly with my style of composition.

The name Ecr.l’Inf stands for “Écrasons l’infâme” (“crush the loathsome thing” in French), a phrase originally used by the philosopher Voltaire. How do you relate it to the band’s current music?
Krys: You can relate it to quite a few things. First of all, the formula is strong, and reflects what we think of dogmas, of authorities imposing a vision on others. It also ties in with a brief, highly evocative name, which has an enormous point in terms of literary reference. So we chose to draw on the power of symbolism to really forge the album. In turn, the lyrics evoke elements linked to the anti-religious vision, imposed by doctrines that enslave people. In addition, we also talk about the inner struggle against what is infamous, vulgar, violent and sometimes ridiculous in every human being. We can find ourselves in one of these positions at any given time. So we draw on our inner strength to crush the infamous.
Dorian: Yes, what Voltaire described as infamous, these dogmas or limiting beliefs, we look for inside ourselves. It’s very easy to denounce them and detect them on the outside, but it becomes a lifelong struggle to bring our awareness to bear on our unconsciousness. A veritable labyrinth from which we draw our inspiration.

Belluaires, your first album, is about to be released. How do you feel about it? Have you had any feedback on it yet?
Dorian: At the beginning of the project, I was alone. Today, when I look back at how far we’ve come, it’s abysmal. Krys joined me to (re)form this exhilarating and passionate duo, and then the project managed, of its own accord, to federate the other members of the group (Jiu-bass, Remi-drums, and Jean-clavier). The 1st feedback on the demos was super positive, especially from our partners (labels, publishers, promotion agencies, etc.) who were very enthusiastic about the project. Sometimes I feel as if my baby has been stolen, but it had to grow up, so I’m the happiest person today. The big gap came when we left the studio with the mastering in hand. The first people who heard it encouraged us a lot to give this album the place it deserves.
Krys: As with every album release, it’s both exhilarating and sometimes frightening, because you’re releasing to the world a part of yourself that you’ve fixed in the studio. The initial feedback has been pretty positive, particularly on different aspects, whether it’s the lyrics that resonate with different people or the one that touches me the most. Then there’s Dorian‘s work on the visuals, and the great feedback on the DIY video we shot in the forest. We really wanted to do everything ourselves to control all aspects of the band. The feedback from our various partners has also been unanimous around the album, from My Kingdom Music, Source Atone records (unreleased CD LP T shirt), Remparts production for the cassette format and Malpermesita records & Bookstore for the book release around Ecr. Linf texts.

How would you sum up Belluaires in three words?
Dorian: Resilience, Violence and Wisdom.
Krys: Sincerity, Strength, Emotions.

How did Belluaires’ composition happen? Do you already see things that could evolve over time, in hindsight?
Dorian: Given our b***ard lives, I don’t see how we could have done more. There’s a lot of personal work on both sides. We haven’t yet had the time to take stock of it all. But, of course, this project has already grown a lot, and in any evolution, things are adjusted and refined.
Krys: At this stage, I think the album is excellent in this format. It’s hard to stand back, but I invite you to ask me again in a while.

You chose to unveil the tracks Tribunal De L’âme and Le Désespoir Du Prophète in advance. Why did you choose them rather than others?
Dorian: Why not (laughs)? We wanted to set the tone. These 2 tracks are fairly representative of the album as a whole, both in terms of diversity and power. Secondly, the themes dealt with in these 2 tracks encompass the others mentioned in the other titles. To present Ecr.Linf‘s universe, this seemed the right thing to do, so there was no need to discuss it.
Krys: For their differences in terms of composition and their individual strengths. Le Tribunal de l’âme is a very evocative title that encompasses a number of possible readings. The title evokes the permanent judgment we can have of ourselves, and also how to protect ourselves from the things we sometimes tell others about ourselves, which are then used to harm you. The text on the prophet is a vision of an inner spirituality, unique to each individual. It’s also about the complexity of other people’s interpretations of preaching or ideas of peace that have been misinterpreted by the church or other religions. 

Although rooted in Black Metal, the band’s sound is very diverse, depending on the track. What are the band’s influences on Belluaires?
Krys: The influences are diverse: Mayhem, Sombre Heritage, Sorciers des Glaces.
Dorian: My acoustic guitar, meditation and the facts of life.

As I mentioned earlier, Ecr.l’Inf is reminiscent of a philosopher’s formulation. How did the philosophical dimension help you bring your music to life?
Krys: It was at the heart of the project. We spent a lot of time talking about the lyrics and concepts. We play with symbols at different times, precisely to hook the listener in and get them to question themselves at times, just as we do. But the healing of the soul comes from a personal act, not just from those around us. We didn’t want to release an album devoid of meaning, which spoke of themes we’d already mentioned a thousand times, such as betrayal, I’ve got a boo-boo in my heart or I’ve been bad, I’ve been made to understand it and now I’m hateful. In short, Ecr. Linf is to offer our vision of the themes we tackle, with the weight you point out, forcing us to try and give consistency and strength to our lyrics. It’s a challenge I love, as I’ve always had a very strong relationship with writing.
Dorian: Since our reunion, Krys and I have talked a lot about philosophy and spirituality in general. It was only natural that we should deliver a message along these lines. We want to speak to the soul. Philosophy is an indispensable tool for uplifting souls. 

I know it’s a difficult question, but do you have a favorite track on this album? Or the one that seemed the most natural to compose?
Krys: To me, the hardest track to record was Missive. It’s the track that’s the most different from the others, with a particular strength in the studio, I even lit candles because this track evokes a friend who died some time ago and who particularly touched me. His departure was a great loss. If you want to know something in confidence, during the pre-production phase, I sometimes broke down in tears when I was doing vocals.
Dorian: I can listen to Le Désespoir du Prophète hundreds of times, and the composition coupled with the strength of the vocals and lyrics make it a track I’d dreamed of composing. The final sends shivers down my spine.

What does the artwork represent, and how did you go about creating it?
Krys: The artwork represents an ancient coin, with a gladiator fighting a wild beast. This image is very evocative, because it symbolizes the life of everyone. Living is a constant struggle for survival. You can only see one side of the coin on the artwork, but there’s still a strong enigma: we don’t have the other side of the coin, which in my opinion is the positive outcome of the album at this stage. Because once you’ve crushed the infamous, there’s nothing left.
Dorian: It’s the marriage of reason and savagery that we all have to make intimately.

You’ve signed with My Kingdom Music and Source Atone Records for the release of Belluaires. How is the collaboration with these labels going?
Krys: It’s simple, My Kingdom Music is the 1st label to release the album, because Francesco liked the album when we gave it to him to listen to, and then Arnaud from Source Atone records also wanted to be part of the adventure, because My Kingdom Music artists don’t have distribution in France via Season Of Mist like Source Atone records does, but they have an important strike force for the rest of the world, so it’s beneficial for everyone. Personally, as I’m on the label, I didn’t manage this release in any way, because I didn’t want to mix my different hats, and I deliberately stayed away from the label role. We’re also lucky enough to be able to release a limited edition cassette of the album via Remparts productions, and as mentioned above, a book based on the album’s lyrics will be released in April 2024 by Malpermesita records & Bookstore with distribution via Editions Flammes Noires. It’s the sum of our strengths that helps to develop great initiatives, and at every stage all stakeholders are able to find their way around.
Dorian: Nothing to add, except that I’m always amazed at the number of cheerful people and partners working on this project.

What are your plans for the future of Ecr.l’Inf? The only trace of a live show to date remains the announcement made for the ATONE MASS MMXXIV’s Warm Up, do you have any plans to perform live?
Dorian: Yes, we’re going to do it, but not immediately. Remi, our drummer, in addition to being geographically distant, has just joined Igorrr permanently. His time isn’t extensible, so we’re in the middle of auditioning a replacement to perform, hopefully towards the end of the year. We want to think about the show, imagine it and work on it before anything else.
Krys: Ecr. Linf is about taking the time to do things. We’re taking the time to get every phase of the band’s life right, whether it’s imaging, communication or the concerts we’re talking about right now, but we haven’t set any dates yet. But this should be communicated in a few months’ time. Our participation in the Warm Up was mainly to open the evening in front of two good bands from Source Atone records, Saar and Maudits.

How do you visualize an Ecr.l’Inf concert from your point of view?
Dorian: We’ve come up with a few scenically interesting tracks that we now need to synthesize into a dynamic that honors the spirit of the album.
Krys: Personally, it’s too early to say.

Are there any musicians or artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Krys: Yes, I’d be happy to work with Dehn Sora, Ulver, Decline of the I and many others on split projects or collaborations.
Dorian: We’ve already done a few guests (projects that will be released in the coming months). We’ve got a lot of friends in the scene, and first and foremost, they’re the ones I’d like to share the bill with.

Do you think you’ve improved as a musician with this album?
Krys: Every studio experience tends to improve you, or bring new facets to what you’re offering, so you can’t always do the same thing or ape other people. In fact, the idea is to try to bring a real identity to the project, and so it’s important to renew your approach. I don’t sing in Ecr. Linf as I have in the past, but there are projects that transcend what we can offer.
Dorian: Not as a musician. But as a songwriter, certainly a little. He has several ways of approaching music. Either through technique, as can be done in conservatories (the word is to be vomited out, by the way), which consists of deciphering and playing pre-existing works, or through expression, which is what I’ve been doing since the beginning of my practice. Of course, the best thing is to link technique to expression, but I’m talking more about a posture of mind. Do you have a personal message to deliver or not? As a messenger, I’ve improved. My technique is less certain (laughs).  

What bands do you dream of playing with? I’ll leave it to you to imagine a Belluaires release date with Ecr.L’inf opening, and three other bands.
Dorian: Gorgoroth, Behemoth, Mayhem. After that, for a release party, it would be fabulous to share a show with bands we know well.
Krys: Well, if we had the chance, I’d try to play with bands on the verge of development, with a sincerity and a desire to develop live something other than what they’ve recorded on an album, because live music should be a journey. It would be great to play with : Merrimack, Stille Volk, Sombre Heritage as possible headliners. Berial, A Terre, Korsakov, Sunstare, Alta Rossa as a band to accompany us on the bill.

Last question: what dish would you compare Ecr.L’inf‘s music to?
Dorian: A delicious slice of well-baked farmhouse bread, spread with a dab of salted butter. The crunchiness reminds us of the obstacles we have to chew and digest before discovering this second, much softer texture, but with its hint of salt to keep us on our toes.
Krys: I’d say a good boeuf bourguignon shared between friends, with frank and sincere discussions.

That was my last question, so I’d like to thank you for your availability, final words are yours!
Krys: Thank you for your support on stage and your interesting questions.
Dorian: We’d like to thank you and our first fans for their unfailing support and for accompanying us on this musical journey. Stay true to yourselves, always question, and above all, keep challenging the established norms.

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