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Wormfood - L'Envers (2016) - Review

Band: Wormfood
Album title: L'Envers
Release date: 20th May 2016
Label: Apathia Records

01. Prologue
02. Serviteur du Roi
03. Ordre de Mobilisation Générale
04. Mangevers
05. Gone On The Hoist (G.O.T.H.)
06. Collectionneur de Poupées
07. Géhenne
08. Poisonne

Five years after their rather overlooked album Posthume and right in time for their 15th anniversary the French ensemble Wormfood returns with their fifth album entitled L’Envers. If the band in their former years went through many line-up changes and even if the only original member is vocalist/guitarist Emmanuel "El Worm" Lévy, the line-up on the new album is the same since 2009 on, when the band went through the last major change. Members of Wormfood are known also from bands like are Erdh, Melted Space, Öxxö Xööx, Régiment and Abstrusa Unde to name a few, but with those aside Wormfood must be considered without any doubt as a powerhouse of French dark metal scene and on L'Envers they not only justify it, they did an album that could be a highlight of this years gothic metal scene in general. 

The band did quite a change in their sound if compared to Posthume, the avantgarde elements are still there, but not so evident, also the album doesn't sound so very depressive and is more compact and consistent, as well flamboyant, but overall it's so very theatrical and most of all decadent, with almost entirely francophone orientation. Emmanuel and co. did without any doubt their best album to date, which in its essence has more connections with their in 2005 released album, France, than the last one, but still, the band has matured so much from then that this is simply another level of performance and compositional technique. The sound of Wormfood is based on gothic and doom metal, but as well there are some classical, symphonic and some almost sludgy parts. Above all they are quite original in what they are doing and the only bands that come in mind here and there are the legendary Type O Negative and conditionally Carnival In Coil, Black Sabbath and Laibach, so it's nothing strange that we see as a guest on one of the songs Paul Bento, who in the past played sitar on almost every album of Type O Negative, but he is known also as ex member of Carnivore and is now a guitarist in sludge/rock/metal band Wrench.

L'Envers is more than anything kind of a perverse and obscure horror stage play transformed into sound. It works as an integrity, songs are well connected between each other, with only one exception, also the only one with lyrics in English, "Gone On The Hoist (G.O.T.H.)", where before mentioned Paul Bento plays sitar, plus Axel Wursthorn (ex-Carnival In Coal, The Lovotics) is guesting on hammond organ, and yes, this one really sounds like a hidden and forgotten track of Type O Negative. The whole decadent and quite cinematic ambiance of this album does suck you in and even if you are like me that doesn't know a word of French language, believe me that you won't be dissapointed, it adds a mysterious feeling and there's nothing more appropriate than this to create this kind of unique dramatic gloominess. The sound is very rich, it has kind of a bewithching depth, guitars are rather backened but riffs are dense, while the bass guitar and drums play a strong part. The keys are just great and so the gothy atmosphere is really impressive and it adds more than just another dimension. Not to mention Emmanuel's vocals; deep, dark, romantic and dramatic, often half spoken half sangt,... absolutely impressive. 

There are many captivating catchy hooks and melodies on this album, but it's because of a rather avantgardish compositional structure of the songs that it doesn't really flourish out, it keeps everything a bit psychedelic and the listener is left in a kind of a suspension almost until the very end when the band offers such a captivating refrain in the "Poisonne". L'Envers is a wicked album, with a nice pathos, it's magical and I find it really hard to expose any of the tracks, but the epic, rather blackened gothy doom of "Ordre de Mobilisation Générale" is out of this world, musically, vocally and compositionally. L'Envers is an album not to be missed out, there's so much going on in those soundscapes, it offers an amazing emotive darkened sonic journey that will open up an imaginary world of the perverse and the most remote Parisian theatre. It's hard to properly describe all the feelings that pop out during the experience provided by L'Envers, so it's up to you to explore it further. In the end of this review all I can say is that from my part this is a highly recommended release!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10