LIVA - Requiem
June 21, 2003, 15 years ago
Must be something in the Quebec water, because French Canadian bands that have made it always manage to outshine their American and European brethren. Voivod rose to fame some 20 years ago thanks to their unique approach to metal, taking all the rules they'd learned and tossing 'em out the window, much to the delight of thrash fans the world over. There are fewer rules in metal nowadays, and fellow Francophones Liva have taken the ones that remain and stomped them to dust, coming up with a bizarre yet brilliant debut called Requiem. The basis for Liva's sound seems to be black metal, but vocalist/guitarist Pier Carlo Liva and alto vocalist/viola player Catherine Elvira Chartier take the music far beyond simple growls, blastbeats and symphonics. The lyrics are written and executed entirely in Latin (!), the mix is raw yet warm, with Chartier's operatic vocals and viola taking center stage, but the power of the band behind her isn't lost. If you can imagine the classical soundscapes of Therion mixed with the vocals of Nightwish and tied together with the black metal folk sensibilities of Suidakra, you have some idea of what Liva has to offer. Guaranteed it'll take more than one listen to discover the magic of Requiem, but once the hook finds you it won't let go. Check 'em out this September in Montreal, when they open up for Nightwish.