Published on Thursday, 09 June 2016 01:11
Album title: Lïan
Release date: 17 June 2016
Label: Blood Music
04. Sïen Lïan
05. Little Bird
10. Laid In Earth
Rïcïnn is one of the more interesting and unusual projects I have come across recently. Not knowing the backstory of Rïcïnn, I immediately recognized her vocals from Hallelujah by Igorrr. Anyone who knows of Igorrr knows that his songs are not something you would forget easily. But I remember that first time I heard the Hallelujah album, Rïcïnn stood out with her almost chaotic operatic vocal style, tearing through the mix. It was something I would fondly remember and return to in the following years after that epic release. So now, four years later, Rïcïnn again enters my purview. This time backed by a full band, she unleashes her talents with the fury of a storm.
Lïan is her debut as Rïcïnn the band. It seems that through the years of contributing to multiple musical projects, she has had this album brewing deep inside her core. The vocals on Lïan have been collected and daringly pieced together from takes in the span of more than seven years. The beauty of this revelation is that the whole album feels fresh and new. There is not a moment where I would think of this as a piece-meal collection. This effect was exacted, in no small part, by the talents of Stélian Derenne, of Ele Ypsis, who was brought on board to mix this collection of Rïcïnn vocal-takes in with her band, which consists of: Laurent Lunoir of Öxxö Xööx on guitar, and offering the growling male-backing vocals to counter-balance the haunting yet beautiful vocals of Rïcïnn. The band is shored up with Vincent Beaufort on drums, Anthony Miranda on bass, along with Marie Leclerc and Guillaume Pruvost bringing the neo-classical aspects to life on accordion and cello, respectively.
There is clearly a darkness to Lïan. The album can move effortlessly between something that is very much a metal experience and then into a neo-classical neo-baroque fantasy. The sense of dark fantasy is glowingly present throughout the album, especially on tracks like "Little Bird" and "Laid in Earth", which become almost operatic. One could close their eyes and visualize some dark fantasy scene playing out in front of them. This becomes all the more enjoyable when taking into account the often lack of coherent lyrics on Lïan. Rïcïnn ignores the need for lyrics and follows her gut instinct, her talent being her beautiful vocals and the ranges and dynamics with which she presents them. She has often throughout the album opted to disregard lyrics all together, instead pushing her vocal chords to their very limits, using her voice as an instrument in the most literal sense. When the tempo is slow and the cello takes the lead, Rïcïnn can quietly coo her way forward, yet when the drums and distorted guitars kick in her voice conveys a vicious whirlwind of emotion.
Don't listen to Lïan expecting your usual symphonic metal. This is anything but average. At times, I will have to say that the male vocals will slightly break my enchantment, but Laurent Lunoir's vocals are certainly not detrimental to the overall experience, more often than not I find them perfectly balanced with the hauntingly beautiful voice of Rïcïnn. There are plenty of dynamics to the album and when her vocals are intelligible as on "Orchid" the mystery slowly comes to life and gives just enough direction to guide the listener down the intended path. I can recommend this album to a wide variety of listeners, there is really something for everyone here, dark brooding moments will give way to something significantly more metal-driven and yet moments later, we have returned to the opera. This unique combination of styles is really executed well, a credit to everyone involved in the project from Laure Le Prunenec's vocals (Rïcïnn) to Stélian Derenne's masterful manipulation of the mix. This is something you will just have to experience for yourself to fully understand.
Review written by: Michael