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Angellore : [Merankorii-Angellore] (Split with Merankorii)

The 2009 debut physical release from Angellore, split with experimentalists Merankorii, is largely just a rare historical curiosity.

This is something of a blast from the past, and one which you could be forgiven for not only having entirely overlooked back in the day, but also not being especially motivated to seek out now. Presented as a CDr in slim DVD case, limited to only 60 copies, and combining extremely early material from both bands, you might, in all honesty, enjoy the challenge of actually finding one more than the challenge of listening to it afterwards.

These are not bands you'd think of as natural stablemates: Portuguese experimentalist solo project Merankorii and southern French Gothic/Doomsters Angellore. And, indeed, that's very much the case in practise. Nonetheless, Merankorii, during their 13-year career, have a history of participating in all sorts of unlikely and eclectic ventures, and project founder Marcos Marado (aka Mind Booster Noori) took enough of a fancy to Angellore's original 2007 demo 'Ambrosia' when it circulated briefly on MySpace that he contacted them to propose this split.

The results are five tracks from each band, roughly equal in total duration, and very opposite in sound. Merankorii open proceedings with a brief intro and a spoken-word piece, presumably in Portuguese, over a soundtrack of laid-back but still quite harsh Dark Ambient/Noise. It's followed up by a brace of weird minimalist Electronica compositions, the first of which eventually mutates into a crescendo of semi-random discordance, the second to a tranquil melodic theme. The final piece is a simple and repetitive unaccompanied piano which doesn't really go anywhere, but at least offers some sort of bridging transition to the second half of the release. Whilst I do sometimes visit the sort of territory Merankorii are working in here, I don't know that I could claim that much in-depth knowledge of it, so I'm not going to criticise it on any technical grounds. It simply isn't especially to my taste, nor is it any sort of Doom, so needs no further elaboration here.

Of more interest, at least to completist fans of Angellore, would be the inclusion of the near-entirety ('Tears Of Snow' being the exception) of their 2008 'Les Promesses De L'Aube' digital EP, making this the first physical release of their career. (You can, of course, also get the EP, complete, on the 'Premières Liturgies - Soupirs D'Aurore' compilation from 2012, but with an even-more limited run of just 50 copies, it's no easier to find). Would I especially commend or recommend it? Well, no, not really: the band have moved far, far away from the quality of those original early recordings in the intervening years - so much so that it's quite unfair to even consider comparing them. And, of course, the tracks most suitable and representative of that period were all re-recorded and enhanced after they moved from a duo to a trio, acquiring drummer Ronnie in the process, and finally took proper shape on the 2013 debut full-length 'Errances'. 'Weeping Ghost', for example - in this version largely semi-acoustic and delicately mournful - would evolve to present a much more dynamic set of contrasts.

What it really captures is a simple snapshot in time: a band that knew where they wanted to go, yet were still finding their feet in achieving that. Raw sketches, if you like, line drawings that showed their potential and passion, but fell somewhat short of being able to bring it to full, technicolour life. Still, even those that were never taken further contained some interesting ideas: the gently folky Emyprium-esque 'Valses De Brume', adjacent to the harsh waltz-meets-Black Metal clashes of 'Endless Mourn'. 'Evening Of Solitude' was taken from the original 'Ambrosia' demo, a melancholy melodic keyboard-and-vocals-only piece.

Personally, just as with 'Premières Liturgies', I do appreciate it for that glimpse into past context, whilst at the same time recognising the technical limitations of what they could do back then. Two guys sharing vocal duties, a guitar, keyboard and rudimentary drum machine - it's both as 'bedroom project' as you get, and as poignant a statement of intent and sheer joy in music as you'll find.

Whilst I'm extremely glad I do possess one of the few examples in existence, at least part of that is down to personal reasons concerning my own involvement with the band, and I perfectly understand that without that background it will likely be of little interest, except perhaps as a rare historical curiosity, to most. Chase it down if you wish, but be aware that its legacy is really one of hinting to the future rather than unearthing rare gems of the past...

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Intro
2. Piracy
3. Nuclear Data
4. Urbird
5. Prime Magic

6. Les Promesses De L'Aube
7. Weeping Ghost
8. Valses De Brume
9. Endless Mourn
10. Evening Of Solitude

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Angellore bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-06-13 by Mike Liassides
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