Stangala - Klanv
Finisterian Dead End
Varied doom rock/sludge with Celtic folk and jazz inlfuences
8 songs (47'08")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Alex

If I were to draw a succinct title to this review it would have been "many faces of Stangala". This heretofore unknown to me French/Breton band packs so much unpredictability in their second full-length Klanv, doing it so on just about every composition. The opener Bigoudened an Diaoul (all lyrics here are in Breton) opens up with a playful folk, some sort of native wind instrument leading the way, downshifts to heavy bluesy guitar, all of a sudden offers choppy jazzy rhythms with thick bass lines and finally descends into a nightmare (or cauchemar if I were using French). And so we go from a Celtic carnival to a sophisticated cafe to some place very unpleasant, and all in a span of just one song. Very eclectic, and at the least intriguing, Stangala will make you explore its every nook and cranny, and trust me there will be a lot to explore on Klanv.

I have to admit then that I was a little too lazy to delve deep into the album so multifaceted, and on a first listen or two when Bigoudened an Diaoul was all over the place, Hent loar began with acoustically touched medieval madness and proceeded to melodeath flavored sludge, while Lutuned an noz opened and closed with punky thrash, incorporating both blackened tremolo and alluring folk in the middle with clarinet/saxophone floating above the dirt, I had an information overload. Sparse on vocals, at least in the first half of Klanv, Stangala nevertheless has so much to say with their music it forced me eventually to pay attention. And then slowly it became clear that there are a lot of ideas of quality here, and wide-ranging nature of Klanv is to be appreciated.

The title track is darker and grittier, instrumental throughout, with hints of Celtic folk, while N’eus ket dremmwel hiviz is quiet, introverted, acoustic shoe gaze at the beginning, has something to say vocally, but gathers strength tugging at the heart with alternating clarinet/saxophone solo. Jan opens up as a heavy doom rock plus some native wind instrument and Marv in tar martoloded does too, but then quickly gains clarity with an almost pop pleasant melody full of atmospheric wistfulness. And finally An Ankou hag ar vor moves from anguished dense black metal a la Stilla, only to end up with a charming night city lit jazz.

Writing reviews for albums like Klanv is challenging. How much did you gather from the above? That it is not going to be simple to comprehend the album on the first listen? In the end though I became a fan, appreciating how much skill and songwriting prowess it must have taken not to make a hot pudge mess out of Klanv. To overlap and juxtapose so many different diverse directions were a challenge Stangala was created to synthesize. Prepare to be patient, turn on the brain and you will really have a chance to cherish this multidimensional package.

Killing Songs :
Bigoudened an Diaoul, Klanv, N'eus ket dremmwel hiviz, Marv int ar martoloded
Alex quoted 79 / 100
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