Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. Lovecraft wrote that and in a way it is a fitting description for those searching for stellar truths in today’s modern society. Machine de Guerre is a French act that explores the aspects of horror and haunted places. The music can only be described as a mix between synthesizers, old horror soundtracks and sampled effects that range from chanting ladies to weird recorded voices. Some of the songs reminded me somewhat of early Runes Order although cleaner and less digital with far more drones. It is the combination of creepy industrial elements and dark atmospheres that should paint a gruesome vision of death and desolation in the mind and soul of the listener. However at some places the sense of foreboding terror is diminished by the mechanical and overly synthetic structures. The first song Nosferatu is a prime example of this with its intriguing introduction sporting brooding organs and a visceral humming background that conjures images of creepy places and misty hallways. It is a great track that really delivers a vision at its beginning only to mutate into a marching noisy repetitive recording of a voice delivering the same dull message over and over.
The industrial elements are what makes and breaks this album at the same time. This works wonders on tracks such as Vanités and La Rencontre where it is an integral part of the song and the industrial horror really blooms in parts of the finale Claustrophobia. However some of the best tracks are quite minimal in its presentation and Les feux follets remains my favourite with its haunting vocals and slow but purposeful booming organ. Coeurs Fânés is another extremely well composed song of sweeping vocals and heavy atmosphere that sticks out on this rather weird album.
Overall this album feels a bit mad, like a horrid creation from some derange scientists laboratory without a thought for shape of style and in a way I respect that. The tracks are cursed to be at the same time intriguing and over the top like a weird 1980s horror flick should be. However I keep asking myself what it takes to label something as horror or even atmospheric. During my days as a reviewer I have come across a lot of music exploring horror and atmosphere and somehow Vanités feels quite lacking in some parts. Maybe it is the general lack of atmosphere or the quite mechanical feeling of the whole production that rubs me in the wrong place. It is not a bad album, not at all. However in certain places it just feels a bit too generic to be anything else then a weird yet entertaining piece of industrial ambience. Machine de Guerre is an intriguing project but I would recommend anyone interested to check out the band on the internet before deciding what you make of it. It is indeed a strange, faraway place.
01 Nosferatu / La Machine Infernale
02 Le Corbea
03 Coeurs Fânés
04 Les feux follets
06 La Rencontre