There’s a place for 7 Weeks among the great beasts

What future is there after Dead Of Night? Was it a mere interlude, a step on the side to explore new directions before going back to the hot, dusty road leading to pure stoner rock? When the 7 Weeks-mobile took the path across the fields in 2010, it had probably not thought to leave such a mark on the landscape and to come back on the main drag with so much clay to shape jammed under the bumper.

What future is there after Dead Of Night? We were already wondering back in 2012, when we discovered this album, released on the sly at the end of 2011. First it was just a live experience that the band wanted to capture on a record – but it was only meant to remain a UFO in the band’s broader career, something on the fringe, destined only to the most curious listeners. In the end, it’s precisely curiosity that revealed a strong personality and the potential of a band that is so much more than Queens Of The Stone Age’s French twice-removed cousin.

“We’re not convinced this concept album will define the band’s artistic future”, we said at the time. Because a reviewer, impressed as he may be, is not here to tell a band to do this thing or that, on the pretext that this one experience seems to be a success. But we were no less eager to hear the effect this adventure would have on the band’s compositions, with the imminent release of their fourth record, Carnivora.

Judging from the beginning of the album, things haven’t changed much. Those who’ve missed D.o.N. and who would think the latest album was All Channels Off will resume the journey from the same marker, somewhere between the lands of Kyuss and the early albums of Queens Of The Stone Age. After a “Bones & Flowers” that leaves the car in third gear without reviving the engine too much, in order for the listener to enjoy the comfort of the seats, we finally rush along the highway under an “Acid Rain” – a song that could have been left over from the Songs For The Deaf sessions.

Then comes “Carnivora”, a cold creature whose introduction recalls the abyss of Ahab and that seems to come from god knows what marshy depths. But wait – we do know: 7 Weeks’ music has taken a dip in the Styx with Andy (the living-dead from Dead Of Night), learned to swim its murky waters and to polish its atmospheres, its effects and its own style. And after this first impression, the rest of the song is one hell of a steamy ride. That leaves the car at a marker called “Ghosts On The Seaside Road”, with yet another intro (say hi to depressive keyboards, diametrically opposed to the frenetic piano from “Hooked”, on B(l)ack Days, and very similar to the one in the coda of the Kyuss-like “Year Zero”) that streams down your back like green, icy water. Speaking of water, we end up drowned a few miles later with “Let Me Drown”, a pond exhaling psychedelic vapors and hosting distorted will-o’-the-wisp.

Regarding this song, Julien Bernard, the band’s frontman, confessed us in an interview that it wouldn’t exist if not for Dead Of Night. And in case you still doubted it, the Carnivora album itself wouldn’t exist under this form without this experience. The public success the band had with Dead Of Night did wonders for their writing and composition process, and helped them breakdown the barriers that were holding them back on the pure stoner rock road. But they weren’t about to do what had been done with Dead Of Night all over again, either. The goal was to adapt this experience to the band’s rock roots.

These roots are still visible on songs such as “Diary – Day 7”, “High In Heavenly Places”, or “You’re So Special”, that will make crowds jump when they perform it live. There are also punchy passages on “Carnivora” and “Let Me Drown”. From ambient to high-speed passages, all these elements will make you feel like you’re on a roller-coaster, climbing slowly at first to appreciate the ride and the emotions it’s about to bring, then going through all those strong sensations. It takes the listener to thus-far-unexplored landscapes, like the down-tuned folk-rock of “Shadow Rider”, which recalls a slower version of The Blasters’ “Dark Night” (a song you can hear in Robert Rodriguez’s movie “From Dusk Till Dawn”), before going back to the dry and dusty main road. The kind of road you discover in a car where you sweat buckets, enjoy a cigarette and scratch your three-day stubble.

Dead Of Night was in no way a breakdown album – it was too unique for that. And Carnivora even less so: it’s the one album that sums up six years of hard work, research, and pleasure at making music without trying to fit into tiny boxes. 7 Weeks no longer have to go where we expect them to go. It’s not even their most mature album yet (god knows that’s a hackneyed expression) – it’s the album that marks their freedom. There’s a well of adventures and an entire world to conquer straight ahead. 7 Weeks have many things to explore, and the knowledge makes them free. Now they have the necessary weapon to do it: a knack for good travel stories. And we can’t wait for them to tell those stories in their own way.

Album Carnivora, released March 1st, 2013, by Klonosphere/Season Of Mist

Laisser un commentaire

  • Arrow
    Judas Priest @ Vienne
  • 1/3