PRYAPISME - Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium

Pryapisme - Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium

10 songs
56:46 minutes
***** *****


A band destined to be forgotten... is what the band claims about itself on its Facebook page. Unfortunately they may not even be wrong, and certainly not for lack of talent. In fact Pryapisme is that kind of band which plays wilfully strange music just to deter any person used to so-called normal music. And that’s most likely why I like this French quintet so much.

Two years ago, they won me over with their EP Futurologie, consisting of a twenty-minute track, once in band version and once in orchestral version. I didn’t get around to write a review but I kept my eyes out for more. And this year they are back with their third longplayer Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium, a nearly one-hour long concept album about how cats will be taking over the world. Considering how bad a job humankind is currently doing, one can only wish the felines all the best of luck.

Pryapisme, which is a medical term for an erection that doesn’t want to end, claim John Zorn, Mr Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 as their major influences, and although I wouldn’t go so far as calling the Frenchmen copycats, they use a similar eclectic approach of throwing all possible genres in a blender and then unleashing the mess on their audience. So there’s a healthy dose of heavy metal, just as much free styled jazz, occasional thumping techno beats that drive the good humour into the music, so that things don’t get too serious, and also, and why not?, lots of 8-bit Nintendo chiptunes, plus some meowing cats, although there are no human vocals. Apart from the aforementioned influences, you will also notice that the guitarist is strongly influenced by King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, circa 1973-1974 and also his post-70’s work. Other bands that come to mind are pre-Blackjazz Shining as can be heard on La Boetie Stochastic Process.

What I really love about Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium is how this album, despite its incredible musical input, never takes itself too seriously. Just listen to the ultra-funny À la Zheuleuleu where the band juxtaposes French low-brow fun with Magma’s avant prog, or the short Carambolage fillette contre individu dragon non-décortiqué, which is a two-minute chiptune that turns soon into a totally antisocial techno thumper. In the past, Pryapisme had a three-member core to record the album plus two further live musicians. This time all five of them went into the studio, plus some guest, and the result is a more organic piece of art. This is one of the best because most entertaining albums I have heard in a long, long time. Mainstream fans are of course not the aimed for clientele, but who cares about them anyway?

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