Misanthrope - 1666... Theatre Bizarre review



Reviewer:
9.0

11 users:
7.82
Band: Misanthrope
Album: 1666... Theatre Bizarre
Release date: November 1995


01. Gargantuan Decline
02. Courtisane Syphilitique
03. 1666... Theatre Bizarre
04. L'Autre Hiver
05. Pirouetting Through The Gloom
06. Aphrodite Marine
07. Medieval Embroidery
08. Mylène
09. Trumpets Of Hypochondria
10. Schattengesang
11. La Dernière Pierre


The band prepares its instruments. It sure sounds like classical music... But after two minutes you get into Misanthrope's third album, and you get it - it's a 1995 progressive death metal album.

I'm sure there was prog death in the mid 90's (well - Cynic comes to mind with their terrific Focus album, but I think there were very few band to play this type of music), but nothing sounded like Misanthrope, and the first song "Gargantuan Decline" shows all the talent this band has; top musicianship, bold bass lines, extreme tempo changes (from slow paced romantic solo to extreme double bass death metal with orchestra sampling, complex song structures (no chorus/stanza repeat) - but also its main drawback, which is singing in French. The orchestra samples feel overused and a little unnatural sometimes, but the songs as a whole sound like nothing you heard before (well, in 1995).

Misanthrope's sound is original and I guess it derives from the band's desire to sing about French culture themes. The band is named after Molière's comedy play, Le Misanthrope Ou L'Atrabilaire Amoureux, which premiered on June 4th, 1666 - hence the name of the album - and the music on this album feels influenced from that era.

Sadly, I don't speak French and can't assess the quality of the lyrics, but based on the names of the songs, well, I wish I could speak French... I wish someone who speaks French will review it too, since info in English about the band and album is hard to find.

Back to the music, song number 2, "Courtisane Syphilitique", starts with a few seconds of harp music and then turns to death metal, but after another minute it slows down almost to a halt, to what sounds as a sad cry - and the prog death rollercoaster goes on.

I think this album is really innovative and fresh with a unique sound that both death and prog fans can relate to. While Misanthrope's first two albums sound raw to me, 1666... Theatre Bizarre is where their sound is shaped and it can be felt on their next albums.

My favorite songs are, well, all the songs on this album. Every song here can be the album opener or closer, no fillers just thrillers . But if I had to choose, it would be "Gargantuan Decline", "Courtisane Syphilitique", "1666... Theatre Bizarre", the dreamy "Aphrodite Marine", "Medieval Embroidery" and "Schattengesang" - and I named these only because I had to...


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 8

Written by cynicoren | 04.09.2019


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 9 users
05.09.2019 - 08:37
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
"The orchestra samples feel overused and a little unnatural sometimes"

That's my biggest takeaway from this album and unfortunately, in spite of particular reasons for liking it as you stated in your review, I never connected with the music. I can appreciate the ingenuity and individual talent of the band members, but as a whole, the album feels disjointed and a little chaotic. It's like they came together with good ideas without knowing how to execute them.

Difficult to rate an album like this because on one hand you can easily acknowledge what's great about it, but just as easily you can strip it down for its obvious faults.
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05.09.2019 - 17:37
cynicoren
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.09.2019 at 08:37

"The orchestra samples feel overused and a little unnatural sometimes"

That's my biggest takeaway from this album and unfortunately, in spite of particular reasons for liking it as you stated in your review, I never connected with the music. I can appreciate the ingenuity and individual talent of the band members, but as a whole, the album feels disjointed and a little chaotic. It's like they came together with good ideas without knowing how to execute them.

Difficult to rate an album like this because on one hand you can easily acknowledge what's great about it, but just as easily you can strip it down for its obvious faults.


I get you.
While entertaining today, it was not a love from first note. When I first heard it, I was they were trying too hard (like people describe first listen to Dream Theater), but in time, it really grew on me, and they improved their sound.
I can't understand why this band didn't become more known in the metal crowd, and that's why I wrote the review.
It's a love it or leave it thing, I guess, same as people feel about Macabre. To me, Sinister Slaughter is a masterpiece, but I understand why people can hate it.
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06.09.2019 - 06:35
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by cynicoren on 05.09.2019 at 17:37
I can't understand why this band didn't become more known in the metal crowd, and that's why I wrote the review.

Well if it helps shed light on their existence to even one person, then you've done your duty. Your review score may not reflect my personal opinion, but you describe it perfectly in a way that anyone reading can tell from the outset whether they'd enjoy it or not. Good job.
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I have no memory of this place.
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