zookeeper may 2009
Wild, weird and unforgiving Black Metal from France. There’s something kinda “off” in the structure of their songs but that’s the charm. Demented tunes chained to a casket full of killer riffs and very claustrophobic atmosphere. Nothing happy or Hot Topic friendly here. Killer stuff.
(((((1))))) Spiraling riff fighting it out with straight up riff from the other guitarist. Feral, snarling vocals ‘ala mid-period Darkthrone gone down to the catacombs of Paris. Bonus points for the “eeeeuhhttrtchcch!”
((((((2)))))) Bassy, clanging percussion, creepy whispered to shouted vocals, very claustrophobic atmosphere.
((((3)))) Slow, doomy, repetitive as hell but interesting. Bleak but still very melodic in the guitars vocals sound like Mayhem’s Atilla underwater. Weird.
(((((4))))) Catchy fuzzy psych (!) with more shouted & snarled vocals Amazing painful screams (around 3:30-3:37) in the grand tradition of Hellhammer’s “Triumph of Death”, grows into more madness.
((((((5)))))) Warped, bombastic, mid-paced to fast (in the second half) rudimentary Black Metal with solid heavy “totally necro” riffs.
(((6))) Cymbal-laden Black/Doom, bleak as fukk sound. Some interesting shifts here & there, but drags on too long.
(((((7))))) Bombastic, massive guitar laden Black Metal. Good bass sound around 5:20. Very filthy & riffy sound all the way through.
http://www.aquariusrecords.org april 2009
It's hard to believe it's been almost SEVEN years since we've heard from French black metal horde Diamatregon. Their last record, Blasphemy For Satan, was an absolute beast, fucked up and frenzied, furious and insanely noisy and chaotic. Released on Andee's tUMULt label (as is this one, although the vinyl is on Paragon), Blasphemy still puts to shame most other black metal, past or present. And somehow, Crossroad, as impossible as it may seem, is poised to one up Blasphemy in almost every way.
In the preceding years, a few things in the Diamatregon camp have changed. Thankfully, the band are still the furious frenzied blackened juggernaut they always were, a band whose sound we once described as "violently thrashing, ultra chaotic, on-the-verge-of-losing-control, over-saturated, super distorted and noisy, TRUE black metal", and that definitely still applies. But Diamatregon's rhythm section has been moonlighting in both the alchemical post rock outfit Aluk Todolo, as well as in wild psychedelic combo the Gunslingers, and that has definitely influenced their sound. Not to mention that Crossroad is in fact a sort of black metal homage to the blues, the title referring to the legendary crossroads where many a musician struck a deal with the devil. And we can only assume these guys have bought into some similar sort of bargain, as Crossroad is mind blowing, still black metal at its core, full of buzzing insectoid riffing, pounding blasting beats, and raspy demonic vokills, but the arrangements are epic and convoluted and so complex, the various riffs and beats often seeming to melt into each other creating long droned out buzzscapes, the textures too are weirdly murky and washed out, tons of reverb and delay, seemingly lo-fi on the surface, but that low fidelity is just another tool in the band's extensive sonic arsenal. And then there's the blues aspect, this is after all a tribute to the blues, and close examination does in fact reveal some surprising bits of bluesiness, deftly woven into the corrosive black fabric of Diamatregon's freaked out grim buzz. A casual listen will reveal no blues at all, but strap on some headphones and let that swirling blackness swallow you whole, and suddenly the songs open up, revealing layer after layer, and within all of that buzz and rrroooar there lurks subtle blues structures.
But that's not all, the songs constantly shift gears sometimes, the guitars drop out completely, leaving just a garagey bass heavy groove, other times the guitars soar and sing, chiming and ringing out, eventually collapsing into yet another black hole of sound. Here and there the band slow things down, and get a bit depressive and Burzumy, loping and melancholic, woozy and warbly, but even within a fairly well defined sound, Diamatregon fuck it up and make it all their own, infusing warm whirring major key melodies, adding all sorts of drones and layers, the vocals a deep ominous rumble, before slipping into some post rocky clean guitar, beneath some twisted Orc-ish vox, and a jam that is total loping post rock, mathy, and minimal, a bit blackened, but it's not difficult to hear and feel the link between Diamatregon and Aluk Todolo.
The title track is the record's centerpiece, beginning with some crumbing lo-fi guitar, soon lurching into a lumbering bit of chaotic blackness, the drums WAY up in the mix, the vocals strange and strangled sounding, the guitars thick and corrosive, the sound of the whole song seeming to warp and warble, until everything drops out minus the guitars which are left to drone and rumble and reverberate, creating thick sheets of chordal buzz, so gorgeously minimal and hypnotic, eventually joined by soaring slow motion leads draped over the top, before exploding into another stretch of chaotic pounding blackness.
The final track, "He Was Not A Believer", is probably the heaviest and harshest of the bunch, a pounding relentless blackened onslaught, but even here the band infuse all sorts of melody and texture, and again, let the song break down into an abject doomic crawl, all grunted anguished voices, monstrous drum plod, warped guitar, droney moodiness, eventually getting almost Sabbathy, before slipping back into an even more frenetic black blast, and finally finishing off with a long stretch of blackened distorted crumble and ooze, that seems to slip slowly away.
Blasphemy For Satan was so extreme, so overdriven, so insanely distorted blown out, that there was really nowhere to go, but deeper, darker, weirder, and yeah, maybe bluesier. Crossroad has so much going on, it definitely plays out like grim blasting black metal, but it's so much more, a sprawling expansive experimental landscape of abstract blackness and deconstructed rock tropes, a constantly shifting soundworld of convoluted heaviness, of layered drones and crumbling abstract otherworldy ambience, at once heavy and brutal and grim, but also rhythmic and melodic, a twisted, outsider, idiosyncratic slab of fucked up and brilliant black metal, that manage to stay true and kvlt while seeming to disregard any and all sonic restrictions placed on the genre. So fucking amazing.
http://www.cmdistro.com march 2009
Record number 3 from this French black metal horde. Buzzing, blasting, blurred black metal fury, with a strange melodic undercurrent. Furious guitars, wild drum blasts and howled vokills, gloriously grim, noise drenched and black.
http://heartasarena.blogspot.com/ mach 2009
Now THIS is how to package your Black Metal cassette. Diamatregon's Crossroad.
Seriously, kids. What is wrong with France?
Roger Batty musicmachine.com june 2009
French black metal band Diamatregon make speedy and grim blacked metal with dips into blacked post-rock and punk edger’s along its way. The bands sound is both tied to the tradition of true black metal yet it’s progressive, it’s memorable yet never safe & experimental but never too much so. Crossroad is the bands third album and it’s a highly consistent, grimly memorable slice of blacked metal craft.
Each of Crossroad's eight tracks are dense blacked constructions that at first seem fairly simplistic, memorable and grim; but over replays offer up shifting, textured and sonic detail and show themselves as the true devious beast they really are. The bands sound is built around blacked metal's unholy trinity of guitar, bass and drums- that’s topped off with effective and atmospheric grim vocal accompaniment that goes from rasping grim to atmospheric grunts, down to bleak at the side of your ear demon talk. Favourites are kind of hard to choose as each track has it’s own edge and slowly unveiling grim creative charm; but if forced here are a few of my present favourites are: Calvaire which starts out with mumbled grim theatrical chatter that rather brought to mind Devil Dolls Mr Doctor over chiming guitar Subtleties. Soon the track kicks into its stumbling yet atmospheric riff proper; and what a great and blacked slowed punk meets black metal groove it has. With wondering bass line and blacked atmospheric grace with the lead singer piping in with grim yet slightly harominc mummbles and theatrical chatter. Later on the guitars and vocals swirling into this wonderfully grim droning soup that has this didgeridoo gone grim type quality to it. The track exits with amassing of guitar tones, church bell tolling and blacked wind roar-making one of the most effective use of churches bells since Metallica’s For whom the Bell tolls. Another present favourite comes in the form of track two Terror & Warfare which starts off with this bulldozer like bass and drum roll that’s suddenly overrun by a swirling horror sting sounding guitar tone. Then the track tracks hammers in fully with it’s ferrous yet garage lined blacked riff; that’s edged with singing guitar burns, clamouring drums, muffled vocal rasps. All to a track make that perfect rocks between the between furious lo-fi grimness, grand dark horror atmospherics and memorable mettlic riff matter.
Last Year tUMULt label gave us one of the black metal albums of the year in the form of Pyha’s - The Haunted House and with Crossroad they’ve unleashed one of this years black metal highlights. Don’t expect it to knock you out with it’s weirdness or odd take on the black metal genre; but over time you’ll see more creative and unusual shifts, tones and angles with in the tracks and that’s what makes this such great and rewarding record.
Roberto Martinelli maelstrom.nu
Crossroad is a black metal album that succeeds in taking elements of the norm for the genre, and molding them into something unique and fresh.Diamatregon channel Inquisition here, Darkthrone there, Lugubrum somewhere else, with memorable melodies and a terror-riffic guitar tone: if amplified, distorted stringed instruments could sound like a shambling mound of reverberating electric shingles, then Crossroad would be it, and presented at a level that’s probably just a bit too abrasively loud, but it hurts so good.What makes Crossroad the potential black metal album of the year is its untouchability — how it shines from sheer personality: Something that can’t be measured, but having a multitude of facets, facets that you can’t entirely put your finger on even after five listens, but keeps you wanting to listen again. What can be measured, however, is the variety of songs present on the album, from the energetic rippers at the beginning, the morbidly beautiful tune in the middle, and the droning trance-inducers at the end, this is one monster of a record, one that presents the metal enthusiast with the uncommon treat of an album with coherently separate songs.Crossroad is not only easily five times better than their previous effort (Blasphemy for Satan), but perhaps the best BM album of 2009. (9/10)
This album from French Satanist bastards DIAMATREGON (third in order as the title suggests), a second cloak of expression for the occluded minds behind ALUK TODOLO (or was it the other way around?), is in many ways an ordinary Black Metal album. But in many ways, it is not.
Indeed a crossroad, where the guitarist met the Devil and got himself the blues, where socio-musical intertextuality comes into play, though introducing fairly little to the blackened genre as a whole. It is still hypnotizing, alluring, beckoning the follower to Something Else, but let's stick to the mundane. As countrymen PESTE NOIRE and AMESOEURS (both, coincidentally, releasing marvellous albums this year, far succeeding DIAMATREGON in terms of originality but perhaps not in wuality), this is a fusion of harsh and sad Black Metal, jarringly noisy (punk) rock, harmonic pop sensibility, and the Blues. The latter perhaps not in a strictly theoretical sense, but emotionally (the one which counts). A fusion entailed in the Black Metal genre since its inception from VENOM via BURZUM, but only exploding into the limelight during the last couple of years as more and more metalheads - mostly French, mostly this guy known as Niege - stopped feeling embarrassed by their MY BLOODY VALENTINE and SMASHING PUMPKINS albums. But let's leave the mundane.
DIAMATREGON lurks like a decrepit ghost haunting a forlorn garage. Riffs nearly symphonic in their layered simplicity paint haunted castles, then suddenly halts into a feedback drone frenzy with the drums and distorted-beyond-sense bass kraut-plummeting their way. Comparing with what I remember from earlier DIAMATREGON releases - they have been inactive since 2003 - their new musical influences (made obvious in ALUK TODOLO) makes this band quite some justice. The vocals - a chapter in themselves - shift from proud and tortured anguish to Gollum-like retarded gargling, not many steps closer to the spiritual asylum FURZE spits his gibberish from, like something wriggling on the floor, spewing its black hate at your feet, chewing on your calves. Or that's the impression I get, at least.
Crossroad is filled with beautiful artefacts hidden under barrages of noisome junk for the listener to exhume and revel in (though the production is clear, it's still harsh, but not sharp cutting harsh, it's a rather comfortable thing to listen to, not too comfortable but you get the point, it's not dimmu borgir). Labyrinthine. Hard to know what is front and back; the songs have no exit, but exists in their own self-contained semantic units, intuitively elaborated. No order, no reason, only emotion and bile. Coughed up bitter sentimentality. Ugly, sharp, distorted, yet very appealing. Madness shallowly hidden under a thin veneer, deranged murmurs echoing in the mind and in dreary alleys lurking in the corners of your eyes. Channelling insanity.
A contender for the Throne of 2009? Without doubt. Does it make sense? Not much more than this review. Does that matter? No. Just listen and feel. France is one of the most important exporters of Black Metal in this past decade, and this album is a final jewel upon the crown of Le Roi Noir. Hail Satan, whoever he is. from aVoid avantgarde-metal.com
Top 50 albums of 2009 - Progressive French Black Metal concept album about The Blues released on the label that brought the world Weakling, with sharred members of cave occultists Aluk Todolo and psych screamers Gunslinger. Some mystical arete of magickal intestity that one. Takign off from the blown out thrash of 2002's Blasphemy For Satan, 7 years later Crossroad arrives, squeezing all that pent up intensity into brutally sparse chords, roughed up and released with cascading eruptions of treble scree then coil it up into high tension again. Repeat. Cassette comes rolled in parchment. not for resale
Cela faisait déjà quelque temps que je n’avais plus entendu parler de cette sombre entité française qu’est DIAMATREGON, en fait depuis leur excellent Ep Charognard de 2003, pour tout vous dire ! Que les passionnés se rassurent : DIAMATREGON reste DIAMATREGON. Leur black metal n’a pas changé mais… évolué ! Il se veut plus froid et lancinant du coté des guitares lui apportant ainsi un coté envoûtant et réellement plus angoissant… comme le sentiment d’avoir un couteau sous la gorge tout au long de l’écoute. Les hurlements sont totalement désespérés et l’on sent un gros travail du vociférateur pour arriver à un tel niveau depuis les précédents opus du groupe. On ressent aussi qu’une grosse amélioration a également été faite du côté des parties batteries ; non pas que le jeu du batteur soit plus rapide, mais il se révèle sans doute plus original et en total adéquation avec le reste des instruments. Comme souvent dans ce genre, j’ai énormément de mal à distinguer la basse, qui doit cependant remplir son office à l’écoute des structures du skeud. Le son aussi a changé conférant à l’ensemble une dimension paranoïaque, chaotique, maladive et suffocante. Pour vous donner une petite idée, je ne vois vraiment pas à quel(s) autre(s) groupe(s) je pourrais rapprocher ou comparer l’immense et très original potentiel créatif des âmes torturées de DIAMATREGON. Bien sur, j’ai relevé quelque discrètes parties expérimentales, je que juge sans grand intérêt pour ma part. Mais pour un groupe existant depuis 1997, l’évolution et agréablement surprenante et ce 3ème chapitre relativement monstrueux devrait combler plus d’un fan du style ! Je tire ma révérence à la horde démoniaque DIAMATREGON devant tant de maîtrise et d’originalité. Un groupe à soutenir sans aucune hésitation ! Benphegor - 8/10 La Horde Noire
I bought Diamatregon`s Crossroad on a whim, like you do occasionally.
It would have been sooner but I`d read an article that said it was named "Crossroad" based on the story of blues musicians meeting the Devil and selling their souls for enhanced musical abilities. Not really being a blues fan or being able to imagine a black/blues fusion I passed it up.
A while later I spotted the cover on a well known music site and out of curiosity played a few samples. I was impressed enough to buy the album and after repeat plays am very glad I did.
This album is, for me, quite unique. While it`s un-arguably black metal, cold harsh and raw, in places it`s also a little bit experimental, there`s alot going on. Listening for the fourth, fifth, sixth? time I`m still hearing different subtleties in the background. The production is very clear, all the instruments can be heard, none being lost or drowned out when others come in to play. The vocals are raw and raspy, sometimes whispered, sometimes shouted, but fitting in very well, and giving the album an eerie atmosphere. Alot of thought has gone into every aspect of Crossroad, and these are obviously very proficient musicians. What stands out most to me is the guitar playing, it`s very good, I mean it`s superb! Every chord sounds like it`s exactly where it`s supposed to be (without sounding predicatable or as if it`s played by an automaton). Though don`t think the drumming is any less mentionable, the quality and professionalism shines through.
The blues influences are there but very subtle, and maybe not obvious at all on the first couple of listens (or maybe that shows how enrapt I was not to notice). The album works best as a whole and is a much more rewarding experience listening all the way through to the eight minute plus closing track - He Was Not a Believer, what a finale! Just mesmerizing.
Why this album hasn`t been talked about much on-line (or any where else), and is relatively unnoticed by the majority of metal heads I cannot comprehend. For me this is my best made discovery this year, yes it`s that good.
Maybe meeting the Devil down by the crossroads isn`t just a supernatural fable after all, maybe Diamatregon knew this all along and here is the proof.
Metal Archives - mindshadow, February 9th, 2011