Dernière Volonté – Les Blessures de l’Ombre

After the fine album “Le feu sacré” and some very good single and compilation tracks, expectations were high for the second album of this French project around Geoffroy D. Well, it certainly has fulfilled the promise completely, because it’s excellent. “Les Blessures de l’Ombre” is a pleasure to listen to, with a lot of variation and atmosphere and very good songs. I have bought the vinyl version, not only because of the nice big gatefold sleeve (with lyrics) and the white vinyl record, but also because there is a bonus 1-sides 7″ single attached. In comparsion to the debut I think the sound is richer and the production clearer. The term ‘military pop’ is more appropriate than ever.

The ‘ouverture’ directly sets the tone, it has a warm feeling (mostly though the use of accordeon) and an accessible sound. ‘Le poison’ is an instant hit, with a great catchy melody and nice French vocals. A highlight in Dernière’s oeuvre! Though Dernière Volonté still has martial and bombastic aspects, there are also clear ‘pop’ elements, in a positive manner through the use of clear melodies. ‘Vienna’ is a nice melancholic song, a sacral ballad almost, except for the snare drumming. ‘Les Orages du Crime’ is a marching hymn, with decent bells and chorals, in the best In the Nursery tradition, with a more catchy second part carried by flutes. I keep on tapping my feet… ‘Les yeux fermés’ is a more introspective slow song, with a shimmering sound. Then it’s time for the second hit of the album: ‘La Foudre et le Tonnerre’. A hornlike sound and uptempo festive drums set the background, and the cheerful accordeon and the warm vocals do the rest. Then follows a piano-drive instrumental and the A-side is over.

And if that isn’t enough another side folows, filled with eight more great tracks. Especially memorable is ‘La source’, another infectious danceable marching tune to lift your spirits. Other highlights are the title track and ‘Si…’ Oh, adn I almost would forget the fine untitled track which is featured on the bonus single, it makes me think about the recent Allerseelen material a bit..
A masterpiece this album, with the rare combination of a beautiful atmosphere, a nice sound and well-written songs. In the past Dernière Volonté has been compated to acts like Der Blutharsch, Blood Axis, Les Joyaux de la Princesse… but I am of the opinion that Geoffroy D. has set a standard himself now.

artist: Dernière Volonté
label: Hau Ruck!
details: lp (white vinyl) + 7'. HR! 49, 2003.