Icare Evoke the Vibrant Morbidity of Baudelaire with “Charogne” (Early Album Stream)
I will reluctantly admit that while I am not particularly well-versed in poetry, I have an appreciation for the artform, even if it’s only at arm’s length. There is a certain magic to assembling words in a balletic cadence, carefully placing them together so that their delivery adds to the vim and vigor of the narrative being told.
Formed in 2016, Switzerland’s Icare seemingly also shares this appreciation, though unlike me their interest in the craft manifests with a far greater passion and understanding than I could hope to muster. Their sophomore album Charogne is a tribute to the poem of the same name, an infamous work by French essayist Charles Baudelaire who was known for imbuing his Romantics-era influenced work with both the vibrancy and horror of real life.
“Un Charogne”—at its core—is a reflection on the concept of beauty in decay, something Icare captures beautifully throughout their one track, forty-three minute effort. In a fusion of both atmospheric black metal and post-metal, the group’s interpretation of “Un Charogne” is delivered in a very cyclical manner. The song traverses between ruminative, atmospheric “beginnings” into moments of utter bedlam, the chaos taking shape in either bites of intense yet melodic black metal guitar or thunderous sludgy riffage only to then fade and disintegrate into another slow and ethereal passage, effectively kickstarting the pattern all over again. From the outside, it might seem like Charogne, structurally, is perhaps a bit too formulaic, but that is the point; each subsequent passage rhymes with the last, and way the sections oscillate between calm and carnage, again, mirrors Baudelaire’s predilection for contrasting bright and vibrant prose in one stanza with a visceral depiction of death in the very next.
With Charogne, Icare have not only managed to replicate the nuance and minutiae from one history’s greatest poems, by one of art literature’s greatest minds, but they've also managed to write a dynamic and damn fine extreme metal album as well. You did Baudelaire proud, fellas.
Stream the whole album below:
The band comments:
"Charogne" was written with the purpose of being played live whereas our previous album was a more intimate album to be experienced at home.
The whole album is a tribute to Charles Baudelaire's poem “Une Charogne”, it's actually some sort of musical adaptation of it and we tried to confer the music his contrasted character by alternating tumultuous with more contemplative parts.
The artwork is made of two photographs taken at Charles-Rodolphe Spillmann's “Salon Bleu”. The “Art nouveau” style of this typical place from La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) matches the album's music as well as the atmosphere from Charles Baudelaire's time. Plus, it's also our city. The choice of using Memento Mori's symbolism is justified by the fact that Baudelaire's poem is illustrating it quite obviously. Meaning “Remember that you're going to die”, this latin's locution evoking life's vainness is like a common thread in “Charogne” music. Sometimes loud and implacable, sometimes cold and vulnerable, it always strives to remind human being's tremendous helplessness towards the vacuity of existence.
Charogne [is a] logical sequel of the first album Khaos but frankly different in its approach, Charogne is quite special for us because it's the album who made Icare a whole band and not 2 guys doing nihilist black metal in their basement anymore. Also, despite the fact that it's our second album, it's the first one we ever played live. So sit back, relax, lower the lights and prepare to dive deep into 43 minutes of darkened French poetry. If you're French speaking (or not), you might be interested in having the lyrics with you while listening. You can find them easily on internet by searching "Une Charogne Charles Baudelaire."
Charogne releases May 6th via Hummus Records.