“Akte XII,” the newest single from Belgium-based mysterious atmospheric metal collective B R I Q U E V I L L E. The track comes by way of the band’s impending Quelle full-length, set for release October 2nd via Pelagic Records.
The contemporary Belgian heavy music scene continues to spawn some truly enigmatic bands, and B R I Q U E V I L L E – the spaces between the letters are indeed part of their moniker – are among the most intriguing of them all. The meditative heaviness of their sound and the careful engineering of the visual aspects of their mesmerizing live performance rituals are awe-inspiring and challenging in equal measure.
Following 2017’s dazzling instrumental opus II, the Flemish five-piece returns with their third studio album, Quelle, one of the first real pandemic-albums to be released on Pelagic. The band members completed the album in separation, which worked out better than initially expected. They were forced to take distance not only from each other, but also towards their own song material. Some pieces grew larger than originally intended; others were stripped down to the essentials and reinvented. The end result is a staggering album that is sophisticated and smothering at the same time, made up of altogether shorter songs as compared to the previous release, and there is a more prominent focus on those tasty electronics, which have always been an integral part of B R I Q U E V I L L E‘s sound.
Issues the band of “Akte XII,”
“Stripped down to its essence this song delivers a paced and haunting polyrhythmic build-up to what we can only describe as the heaviest matter in B R I Q U E V I L L E‘s sound. Doom and gloom in all of its glory.”
B R I Q U E V I L L E is a band shrouded in mystery. The black Nazgûl-robes and golden masks that all members wear on stage give their presence the air of an occult ritual, but the band is not chasing (a) Ghost; in fact they’ve been masked for over a decade and even do so during rehearsals. The anonymity is meant to create equality and prevents a cult of personality.
Active in various other bands from the local jazz, electro, and metal scenes, the members of B R I Q U E V I L L E united in a school building, with the ambition to improvise around one single note. One band member explains:
“In order to do this anonymously and have the audience concentrate on the music, we decided to play with masks,”
When they left the building after that session, they ran into an old man who told them a story of a son murdering his father right at the entrance of that school, many years ago. He pulled out a newspaper article to legitimize his story, before he disappeared.
“That story stuck with us. We kept asking ourselves why someone would keep an article recounting a patricide in their wallets for seventy years. We couldn’t help but conclude this man we’d met must have been the son. Maybe our imagination was just doing overtime, but the grandparents of one of our band members confirmed the murder had happened… however, we were unable to trace the old man.”
This ludicrous story has ever since served as inspiration for the band’s pounding sound. B R I Q U E V I L L E released their self-titled debut in 2014: four tracks that all conclude around the ten-minute mark. Upon release, the band buried twenty copies at various locations across the country, and gradually released the coordinates on their Facebook page, animating fans to dig them up from the soil. The idea was met with great enthusiasm among their quickly growing fanbase, and was revisited and extended for the release of B R I Q U E V I L L E‘s mesmerizing second album, aptly titled II, when members of various Pelagic artists buried vinyl records between Vancouver and Sao Paulo. All of them were found by happy vinyl fan diggers.
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