Hardcore and metal, it has been done before. Remember Morbid Angel's 'Illud Divinum Insanus', the most hated metal album since St. Anger? I'll tell you a secret, I like that album a lot. I like crossovers and I like originality. The quintet from Grenoble, France, is extremely original and somewhat comparable to Samael or The Kovenant because of the electronics. Yet, Pavillon Rouge takes this mix to the extreme, resulting in a smashing sonic trip.
The strange thing is, Pavillon Rouge really is a full-blown black metal band with all the necessary ingredients to write a decent album. Besides the basic elements such as ferocious guitars, haunted screams and blast beats, they use electronics to enhance a bombastic atmosphere and analog electronic beats for a tremendous clubbing effect. The result is stunning.
The album opens with the same sense of bombast as most present day black metal bands incorporate. In that aspect, this quintet really consists of decent musicians who know a thing or two about songwriting. Yet, the elements they bring into the mix are very surprising and extremely refreshing. Besides the dance-elements (which will undoubtedly piss off a lot of people), there's the dark atmosphere of eighties new wave and industrial. Yet, above all, 'Prisme Vers l'Odyssée' is an excellent black metal song.
There's lot of analog hardcore beats present on this album and the way they are used it pretty damn cool. Often they turn into very sick blast beats, reinforcing the extreme nature of the guitars and vocals. 'Mars Stella Patria' is the very first black metal song ever that managed to get me dancing. Maybe it's safe to compare this with a blend of Dimmu Borgir and Combichrist and although it sounds strange, this mix really works.
'Aurore et Nemesis' is another song that reminds me of Samael. The tempo is a lot slower and the songs drives on pounding electronic drums, a bit like early Suicide Commando used. After a while, however, it turns into some fierce blackened Thunderdome stuff. Both dancing and headbanging are possible, and quite inevitable actually. 'Droge Macht Frei' even incorporates some hard rock guitar solos over this industrial mix, raising the level of variation on this album.
Pavillon Rouge is arguably one of the most original bands in the black metal scene today. Knowing that there's a lot of narrow minded metalheads out there (and no offence to them, different people have different taste) who will frown upon this, the music on 'Legio Axis Ka' is quite gutsy and might take some time getting used to. However, I dare you to sit still to a song like 'Kosmos Ethikos', which even has a Blutengel-feel to it.
This is blackened clubbing to the extreme and I recommend checking it out if you're in for something new, daring, original and innovative. To end this review, 'Notre Paradise', you got to listen to this song. I won't tell you why but it's absolutely brillaint what they did with the original song. You'll be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.