MAIEUTISTE - Maïeutiste (LADLO Records - CD 2015)
Yet another LADLO releases and well, if I can be honest, this is also my truly favourite offering from this label yet! And it’s just surprising, as not only this album came from a band, which I never heard of before, but nothing – just nothing – was telling me that it’s gonna be so damn good. But it is. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you Maïeutiste. France again, as you can guess by their unpronounceable name (haha!), and the band was formed in 2006 and even did a demo “Socratic Black Metal” in 2007. But it took them another eight years to complete an album. And damn, it was worth waiting; this album is excellent!
I must say that usually I’m not a big fan of terribly long album. Too often they end up containing half great / half filling material and more so, there can be some boredom coming after 40 or more minutes… you know the problem. And well, “Maïeutiste” is 75 minutes long. But hold on! There’s absolutely not even a single fragment, which I would say is weak or filler. I can only speak in super positive words about the music and despite the album being so long, it just stays interesting all the way through, with a killer song following killer song, great riffs, fantastic arrangements, vocals… Damn, everything about “Maïeutiste” is close to perfection, in my opinion! The only small problem I have with this long album is that not always I can have time to listen to it from start to end or maybe sometimes my focus on the music runs away after some songs – but I would never say that the album gets boring or the songs are any weaker. Not at all and as I already mentioned, this is brilliantly composed music, very well played and to me, “Maïeutiste” is just spectacular. Actually I must say that I have not been listening to anything else since a week, only this album was spinning on my CD player and also on mp3 player on the road to / from work, so I assume it also says a lot how much I appreciate this album.
As for the content of this album, well, probably I would need to describe every song separately, so you can imagine how diverse and full of ideas it is. But I always find something like this boring, so I am not gonna do this.
The influences for the music must have had a wide range, going from more progressive, doomy and melodic acts such as Opeth up to black metal, with some Scandinavian stuff from Mayhem to even such Forlorn and even slightly harsher, but quite epic at the same time bands like Helrunar. These comparisons are quite loose though. They’re not exact comparisons, as it’s impossible to pick up one or two bands, which would have recorded similar type of album. You know, already a blend of melodic doomy metal with harsh black metal is something uncommon, in my opinion. And if such mixture can sound odd to some, I dare to say that it worked tremendously well and Maïeutiste came up with excellent record. And with such a wide range of influences, I guess it can also be an album for everybody. I hope so at least.
Anyway, I should mention some of the best moments of this full length… and let me start with “...in the Mirror...”. This song basically begins with a furious, fast and harsh black metal way. But “...in the Mirror...” evolves; from fast black metal in the beginning, it slows down drastically into a nice doomy passage, filled with some great harmonies, many catchy bits and truly phenomenal clean vocals. When comparing the beginning with the mid / end fragments, it turns out that this song has changed like night into the day! The same I can say about “The Fall”, which is another superb song here, but on the other hand such “Reflect / Disappear” does everything to keep that black metal feeling and viciousness through the whole song, which is great of course! Later “The Eye of Maieutic Art” would be an example for what I mentioned before – some harsh black metal with doomy stuff, filled with great, harmonious guitar work that makes the music more catchy and easily listenable, even if these song is actually nine minutes long! And “Lifeless Visions” and “Death to Free Thinkers” are all doomy, sorrowful, mournful and depressive, but with a strong melodic touch, which I like a lot. Excellent! Towards the end, the album becomes more atmospheric, more melodic and I am not sure if it’s due to the whole concept this record has? No idea, but it works perfectly well.
So, you can see that a lot is going on “Maïeutiste”. Acoustic guitar passages (like in “The Fall” and “Absolution”), long instrumental pieces ( “Introductions...”), some clean vocals in few tracks as well (“Death to Free Thinkers”, “…In the Mirror”)… And there also such track as “Purgatoire”, which is like an ambient song, with a strong ritualistic aura; very dark and eerie, finished with the acoustic guitar play. Such songs make me feel like the whole album was almost like a journey, you know? And I know that it also has a deeper concept, about philosophy, Socrates, etc, but since there are no lyrics, so I am not gonna comment that. Let me just add that the album is divided on three parts: “Eveil”, “Chute” and “Elevation”. More so, I mentioned how long this album is, but the limited box edition and tape are even longer, containing an extra song!
Summing up then. This is incredibly great album, I love it. And mind it or not, but I truly think that “Maïeutiste” is among the best – if not the best – debuts of the year. And the only reason why I am not giving them a perfect score is that I don’t want to put too much pressure on the future recordings of this band. Very, very recommended!
Standout tracks: “...in the Mirror...”, “The Fall”, “Lifeless Visions”, “Death to Free Thinkers”
Final rate: 90/100