Gnô - 'Cannibal Tango' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 09, 2011    
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Bewildering, demanding but ultimately fulfilling.

Bewildering, demanding but ultimately fulfilling, Gnô’s ‘Cannibal Tango’ is a cocktail of equal parts prog rock, funk and metal, as shaken (not stirred) by the restless spirit of Frank Zappa and served up in the most rubbish cover of all time. Gnô are led by renowned guitarist Christophe Godin with Gaby Vegh on bass and Julien ‘Peter Puke’ Rousset on drums (who was also responsible for the horrendous cover, leading to the realisation that all those drummer jokes may be right after all) and this is their second album, following on from ‘Trash Deluxe’ in 2002.

One of the main attractions of the French trio is the sheer diversity of material they perform, making ‘Cannibal Tango’ very difficult to categorise and extremely challenging to listen to. Extremely challenging: I’ll be the first to admit that I hated this album the first time round, fixating as I did on the funk – well, everything non-metal, really – and thereby missing the majesty beyond. But the album demands perseverance – just check out opener ‘Here I Stand’ in which a Chili’s style funk-out immediately gives way to an immensely heavy riff with a cracking solo to follow – and once you get with the beat there are many treasures to discover.

The shift from brutality to melody is another of the album’s attractions, as some of the heaviest riffing ever written gives way to touches of sublime splendour, all topped off with some amazing vocal harmonies. All three musicians sing, and sing well, lending the songs a wealth of depth and emotional magnetism, as ‘Get Out Of My Way’, the bastard love child of Pantera and The Beatles, ably demonstrates. Elsewhere ‘Hate Incarnate’ is a slice of punky power-pop with another truly amazingsolo, ‘In My Place’ veers almost into The Specials’ territory at times, and ‘Demon Disco’ is as heads-down and 4/4 as they come, with a devilish riff and a beautifully crafted chorus which stays in your head for days.

Not so sure about the overtly Zappa-esque ‘Russian Girls’, which is either far too clever for me or just completely crap, but overall this is quite an interesting little album from the sort of band that would do well on High Voltage’s Prog Stage; promoters take note. But just ignore the album cover!

John Tucker


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