1. Time of Awakening Part 1 7:05
2. Time of Awakening Part 2 5:04
3. Time of Awakening Part 3 8:06
4. Angel Dust 8:20
5. Elea Part 1 7:07
6. Elea Part 2 3:22
7. Angel Dust (Radio Edit) 4:18
LINE UP :
Laetitia Chaudemanche - vocals, keyboards
Terence N'Guyen - guitars, programming
Maxime Rami - bass
Nathanael Buis - drums, programming
Alan Reed - vocals
Jeremie Mazan - vocals
French band Weend'o was formed back in 2008, and released their debut album four years later. They have since remixed that initial album and reissued it, released a live DVD and then a second studio production was made available in 2018. The name of this second album is "Time of Awakening", and it was released through UK label Sonicbond.
Weendo's take on the genre is one that probably is best defined inside of a hard progressive rock tradition, albeit one that comes with a lot of diversity and movement. This is a band that knows how to make use of many different elements in their compositions, and execute that approach with a high level of skill too.
Just about all of the songs here come with a diverse landscape, where the band constantly shifts from one phase to the next, either by sudden but smooth developments or by seamless transitions. Atmospheric laden and borderline ambient landscapes come and go, segueing over to gradually harder toned and more aggressive new territories, with the most intense passages coming with an intensity and aggression that cross the line into progressive metal territories. This diverse approach to songwriting is the highlight of the three part title track 'Time of Awakening', broken up into three separate tracks on the album. In reality this is a mastodont of an epic composition, clocking in at the 20 minute mark.
The two-part epic 'Elea' also documents another side of the band, where each part develops in a similar manner to what we often find in post-rock, with a delicate opening gradually building into a more powerful finale. Here the first part use this specific approach, while the second hard does the same but now also incorporates a more distinct post-rock style orientation too. Which adds an interesting dynamic to this creation when regarded as one single epic length track rather than the two consecutive tracks the album format has given it.
Beyond style and structure, the vocals of Laetitia Chaudemanche are a highlight whenever this band release new material. She has a well controlled and broadly appealing voice, and has a very good control over tone, timbre and intensity. I also notice that some folk music elements are used to good effect on this production, electronic effects have their role in adding intriguing details in the calmer parts, and I do believe there were some trace elements of what might be jazz here and there too. Although this latter detail may well be accidental of course.
Weend'o is an interesting band, a creative and expressive joy to come across and one of those bands that also are a bit above average in terms of being difficult to describe in a proper and accurate manner. They manage to combine an accessible sound and style with a more challenging structure and detailed arrangement in a manner that makes them appealing to a fairly broad and different audience: This is a case where the audience of the band may well be as diverse as the songs the band creates. If a varied and inclusive type of hard progressive rock with atmospheric as well as progressive metal undercurrents sounds like an interesting kind of music, this album is one that merits an inspection for sure.
Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room