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I don't believe in guilty pleasures, but I don't like to write about my love of operatic singing in metal on this website. That corner of the genre has well-established markets and a rabid audience without my help.

It's rare that my admiration for such singers dovetails with my love of the experimental side of metal music. Enter Laure "Rïcïnn" Le Prunenec. A preternaturally talented singer, Le Prunenec has sung passages for such metal-adjacent projects such as Corpo-Mente and the 100% verifiably batshit experimental doom outfit Öxxö Xööx. Up until now La Punenec's projects have all struck me about the same way: stimulating and intriguing stuff that I don't enjoy listening to.

Lïan, her first solo album as Rïcïnn, is different. With her voice at the center of the music, La Prunenec becomes an engaging focal point, at times reminiscent of all the things I like about early-90's Lisa Gerrard (both solo and in Dead Can Dance). But Gerrard only really explored her voice in an ethnic music or film score context. La Prunenec, on the other hand, sounds equally at home in a more post-rock vein as on "Orchid" or when working with a dead ringer for Kronos Quartet on "Laid in Earth." In fact, referring to La Prunenec as purely operatic is reductive. The extrametallic elements in her work emulate Gregorian arrangements, Baroque music and more. Lïan has more surprises than those hidden in its run time, so many in fact that I hope its eventual followup has a little more focus, but every performance La Prunenec puts on is a gem.

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Lïan will be released on June 17 via Blood Music. Follow Rïcïnn on Facebook.

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