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EZ3kiel - Battlefield

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Could it be that France has become a solid base for the production of electronic music? Air have become an international phenomenon as have Daft Punk (incidently, both bands are from the very posh suburb of Versailles) but there are plenty more out there – darker or more energetic, creators of strange musical atmospheres. EZ3kiel is one of these bands. The band hails from Tours, in central France and although it has been active since 1993, its first album (Equalize It was released in 1998.

And the ten year anniversary for EZ3kiel comes with the release of its sixth album (one year only after the very impressive Naphtaline). The new album is entitled Battlefield and it is a surprise in many respects. Firstly because it is so passionately ‘rock’. The disk opens with the gloomy and commanding ‘Adamantium’: a heartwarming welcome indeed! Yann Nguema’s booming bass sounds are present on every track (see for example ‘Volfoni’s Revenge’), accompanied by intense drum beats and dark samples – the music is more powerful than on any other EZ3kiel album I have heard to date and the created atmospheres would make Tricky envious.

Having lost their original singer – she left after the first album – the musicians have hired out a number of different singers for this new opus. The rapper and urban poet Blurum 13 takes us through the beautifully limpid ‘Alignment’ (heavily Mush Records-like, a super track). ‘Spit on the Ashes’ is yet another example of EZ3ekiel’s return to rock. It is worthy of a great Peter Gabriel song, almost depressing both because of the general ambiance but also because of the lyrics themselves. Basically though, the band is still partly faithful to its dub and trip-hop roots. Yet Battlefield stands out as an experiment… a series of experiments to be more precise. From the chaos and violence of ‘Firedamp’ to the interesting rendering of Sergueï Prokoviev’s ‘The Montagues and the Capulets’ (from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ opera). And to thank you for listening, EZ3kiel’s members give you the brilliant ‘Wagma’, a much more ‘traditional’ piece by the boys… The drums on that track are very impressive…

All in all, yet another brilliant album…


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