:Skull & dawn:
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:Skull & dawn:

Athens, Attica, Greece | INDIE

Athens, Attica, Greece | INDIE
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"Defile des ames – ‘Lust’n’Stone’ CD (Ahnstern)"

Defile des ames are a neo-folk band from Greece, and Lust’n’Stone is their debut album. The band itself is part of a larger collective called Trick Or Treat – ‘an independent underground art movement,’ according to the sleeve notes on Lust’n’Stone, ‘which embraces several art forms such as : music, photography, theatre, cinema, dance, poetry, pornography, painting etc.’ Pornography, eh? Why not send some of that in for, uh, review? I promise to give it my close and undivided attention…

Ahem, back to the business in hand! The collective nature of the Defile des ames enterprise means that the band has a fluid line-up, with ten different musicians appearing over the course of the album’s 11 tracks, adding an agreeable variety to their sound. Manos 6, who sings and plays acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, violin and percussion, is the only musician present on every track.

Lust’n’Stone opens confidently with the ‘Doors To Undefeated Violence’, a crackling nostalgic dance-hall tune leading into a spirited track dominated by vigorous drumming, including bongo drums, with cello and mandolin accompaniment. This reminded me a little of the 70s Greek psychedelic folk Aphordite’s Child, which featured Vnagelis and Demis Roussos. The following track, ‘Carnal Desire’, is more sedate, with cello and melodica joined in mournful harmony, as well as French horn. Manos 6’s English vocals are spoken in a clear, flat voice. ‘Mushrooms’ remains in the same slow, lyrical neo-classical mode as ‘Carnal Desire’, adding a clarinet to the cello and horn, before picking up pace with strummed folk guitar. The blend of classical and folk instrumentation used on these two tracks is reminiscent of classic Sol Invictus albums like The Blade and In A Garden Green, with Manos Ven.’s French horn standing in for the trumpet work of Eric Roger. Comparisons could also be made with the sound of bands such as The Joy Of Nature, Amber Asylum and perhaps most especially the Italian neo-folk band The Green Man – Manos 6’s vocals are a lot like those of The Green Man’s singer, Eliahu Giudice. ‘My Middle Name’ adds a wistful recorder to the band’s rich palette of sounds, but the song is substantially similar-sounding to the last couple. The fifth track, ‘Welcome’, though is very different. A mandolin picks out the melody over a shuffling trip-hop beat accompanying the sound of laboured breathing, with the overall sound resembling the industrial folk fusions of Ô Paradis or Svarrogh. The sombre and downbeat ‘Eosforou Fos’ prominently features clarinet and oboe, upping the tempo after a couple of minutes into a free-form psychedelic rock jam similar to the album’s opening track – this is one of the album’s real highlights. Défilé Des Âmes could easily be mistaken for Hawkwind here, with Kostas’ wailing clarinet in place of Nik Turner’s saxophone.

Defile des ames appeared as guest musicians on the fantastic Ogham Inside The Night album by Matt Howden’s band Sieben (also reviewed by Judas Kiss), and Matt Howden returns the favour by appearing on ‘Liar…!’, with his unmistakable frenetic violin work impelling this song at an urgent, almost punk-rock pace.’ Eilem A Est Morte’ slows the pace after the exertions of ‘Liar..!’, with lilting mandolin and classical guitar arpeggios floating gently above sweeping cello. This song is dedicated to the Italian neo-classical project Ataraxia, and indeed it sounds a little like them, with its bittersweet the-carnival-is-over atmosphere. ‘Under The Spell’ is the only song on Lust’n’Stone to feature accordion, which is played by Viki, and it also has female backing vocals courtesy of Joanna Z. The prominent accordion work, coupled with Kostas’ recorder, playing give ‘Under The Spell’ a sound more reminiscent of German-speaking neo-folk bands like Orplid and Hekate, although elsewhere this album seems to display a much greater affinity to Italian and Spanish bands. ‘The Wind Fairy (Is Dead)’ is the only entirely instrumental song here. It’s stately and gently mournful, with a slight baroque feel reminiscent of Werkraum, although the wind effects are applied with a rather heavy hand. One really good thing about the album in general is its lack of reliance on synth or keyboards, with most instruments being acoustic,apart from electric bass and guitar – it’s too bad they felt that this song needed a cheesy sound effect. Lust’n’Stone’s closing track, ‘August’, is an big ensemble piece with eight musicians, the largest number on any song, and also an eight-minute running length, the longest on the album. The song progresses through a number of different movements, from melancholy neo-classical to drum-heavy prog-rock explorations and passages of abstract, wailing, female vocals, almost seeming like an abbreviated summary of the rest of the album.

All in all, Lust’n’Stone is a very encouraging and worthwhile debut, from a band who seem sure to put Greece firmly on the neo-folk map. My accolades go to the Ahnstern label, who , as so often in the past, have shown impeccable taste and judgement in choosing to introduce Défilé Des Âmes to a wider international audience. The album comes in a jewel case edition, with design work by the ever-talented HaateKaate in rich shades of gold and brown, reflecting the album’s interwoven themes of desire and mortality, lust and violence, growth and decay, Eros and Thanatos. A Défilé Des Âmes track is included on the recent Steinklang Industries IV label sampler (also reviewed in Judas Kiss), for those who want to check the band out further before making a purchasing decision, but if you enjoy complex, well-played, delicate yet muscular neo-folk, then you won’t be disappointed by Lust’n’Stone.
- Judas Kiss Magazine - Written by Simon Collins


"Defile des ames – “passionate neofolk from Greece ”"


Thinking of Greece, the first that usually comes to our mind are the great philosophers Socrates,Plato, Aristotle,
this huge cultural heir from ancient days, the Olympic games, surely delicious wine too, a place where to spend the
summer… But hey, neofolk? Really, to be honest, at the moment our little pan-european music community will have
trouble to connect Greece in any way with neo-folkloristic sounds.
This however could and should change all too soon. And the talented musicians of Défilé des âmes will make sure for
that purpose!

Défilé des âmes exist for nearly four years, though up to now none of their songs have been released yet. Why? Well,
the six musicians consider themselves mainly as a live-band, their very driving and moving kind of play especially comes
alive through the performance act on stage. Some few samples of live recordings that can be found here and there on the
net give an impressive proof for that. In the past they already shared the bill with such well-established bands like
ATARAXIA, ANNE CLARK, PSYCHIC TV and Matt Howden (SIEBEN). With the latter one DÉFILÉ DES ÂMES now run an intense
exchange. Apart from joint venues they contributed quite well to the recently released new SIEBEN album " OGHAM INSIDE
THE NIGHT". Matt Howden returned the favour with violin parts for two DÉFILÉ DES ÂMES studio songs. At the end of
September they’ll be once again on stage together in Athens.

Despite of all obsessive concert engagement, their debut album is now finally in progress and so only a question of time.
I was very lucky to catch a first glimpse of the forthcoming work which already distinguishes with great skills regarding
the mastery ofthe manifold instrumentation, guitars, strings, wind player. The folky compositions seem in spite of some
melancholic sub tone very vigorous, touching on both edges equally Neoclassic- and Gothic elements. Rocklike escapades
with drums and electric guitars as well as mandolin sounds fit in naturally and so keep the style far away from those boring
and simple campfire melodies we all know too well. The songs are to be expected at the same time hymnic, thoughtful and
playful, always like covered with a spiritual breath of air, unfolding their nocturnal freshness whose gloomy spell is
summoned by a strong male voice.
Reminiscences to a whole bunch of genre bands might be recalled, SOL INVICTUS, CURRENT 93, ATARAXIA, TENHI…
just to name a few. It seems like DÉFILÉ DES ÂMES have made it their task to filter only the best characteristics of all these
bands and to mingle this extract with their own personal and exceptionally lyric touch. Until then, of course, a long distance
remains to leave behind. But DÉFILÉ DES ÂMES are on the very best way, their musical qualities are
highly promising.

So maybe we will once see a star shining brightly on the dark sky of neofolk and this star will then guide the listener
rightly to Athens, into the heart of our occidental culture.


- Roy Liebscher for www.lichttaufe.com


Discography

"Pagan Folk and Apocalyptic Psychedelia CD" - Label Collection 2009

"South European Folk Compendium" - Three way split with SVARROGH & ARNICA

"Lust 'n' Stone" - Debut album

"Manos Ksidous / Ta asteria tha einai makria" - Meridiana I: Defile des ames with H. Katsimichas + Meridiana II: Defile des ames (Instrumental)

"STEINKLANG INDUSTRIES IV" - 2007-2008 Label Collection

"OGHAM INSIDE THE NIGHT" SIEBEN - Track 2 (Ogham the spirit), features Defile des ames

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Bio

Skull & dawn is the new name of the group Defile des Ames . Defile des Ames were formed in Athens ( Hellas ) in 2002 .

They have made numerous live appearances and D.I.Y. albums until 2007 , the year that they signed a contract with the Austrian label " Steinklang records ". Until now they have circulated a full length album ( Lust 'n' stone ) and five official releases ( splits , collaborations , collections ) . The band is active throughout all these years with live performances and in January 2010 they will release their second full length album under the band's new name Skull & dawn ( possible title of the album "No salvation No forgiveness" ) . The new name highlights a small turn of the group in a more American - Country sound , with the maintenance of the avant - garde and progressive elements and the decrease of the European - Folk hue they had since the beginning .

For any information concerning Skull & dawn, for the time being please search on the internet under the previous name Defile des Ames .