If there is a line between extreme hardcore music and aural abuse then French band Calvaiire definitely walk it with their debut EP “Rigorisme”. The four track beats is a brutal violation of the senses, an intrusive and angry assault that turns violence by music almost into an art form.
To be fair there has been more painful examples of extreme music but with the skill and invention Calvaiire offer up “Rigorisme” is a release that numbs, distorts, and ruptures the ears and beyond to a greater pleasing effect. It takes a lot of focus, energy, and bravery to dig within the surface brutality but the rewards are definitely worth the effort, and it has to said that for all the great instantaneous and easy to get on with sounds and releases there are it is this kind of sound that can provide the greater reward. “Rigorisme” definitely offers up deeper pleasures even if overall the release still struggles to find a regular place within one’s chosen playlist.
Calvaiire come from Laval in Northern France and contains current and ex- members from Birds In Row, As We Draw, Hourvari, Pigeon and Puzzle. With a hardcore base that at ‘milder’ moments brings thoughts of Converge, the band engage with a maelstrom of piercing and blistering sounds that splinter the senses like mercury dripping shards of sonic glass within the aggression. I say engage really it is a disruption of sanity that the more one allows the more one actually enjoys.
Recorded in one take with Amaury Sauvé (producer/sound engineer for Birds In Row, Comity, As We Draw), the EP scorches the ear from the opening note of first track ‘Gratitude’. As the guitars flay flesh with their whipping riffs and melodic acid the vocals spew bile and vehement intent with so much intensity one is wiping the words from their skin. Beneath the wall of noise the discordant asides and prowling malevolence is captivating, the infection starting at a deeper level whilst being abused.
The following ‘Alzheimer’ slowly stalks the senses, its preying bass and melodic beckoning a misdirection before the tsunami of ill content and primal truculence, the song a vindictive incendiary. The song is laid out in stages that flow into each other like a descent into chaos with an open clarity to the invention but the intensity the band brings makes one feel like they are constantly at the heart of an aural storm.
‘Castration’ and ‘Blut’ complete the release, both a continuation of the malefaction. The first rides a darkened groove that pulls one in despite the surrounding mass of the song scraping and grinding through the psyche, whilst the closing song brings a post punk atmosphere that actually reminds of bands like Bauhaus and Crispy Ambulance from the eighties. Obviously the song does not go easy on its recipients as it shatters s and scatter every synapse within its reach with more repellent violence. Words like abrasive and destructive just do not come close to the energy and manipulating violence the songs perpetrate.
It has to be said that first couple of listens left one floundering in their own fluids but given deserved focus and time so the less obvious elements can emerge the thing becomes quite infectious and maybe a contender for multiple returns after all. “Rigorisme” is a release that will leave many struggling either to approach it or to endure but if extreme metal is a flavour you are drawn to this is definitely one of the best releases recently. It might only just exceed nine minutes in length but Calvaiire makes sure it is very memorable.