After a 1st EP to its credit: Premonition (May 2018), the Nice-based band, First Came the Shadow, created in 2017, and composed of Gaëtan Zampa and Adriano Delpane on guitar, Vivien Dansac on drums and Aurélien Régert on bass, released an album :Aridity, in March 2020. This post-rock opus, only instrumental, was recorded, mixed and mastered by Thomas Palmade, at Old Tree Studio (Salon-de-Provence).
Aridity starts with Anthropocene, a soaring 8'30 track, during which the rumbling bass is accompanied by a very melodic guitar. In the background, a short series of strident notes intervene at 2'32, to continue without discontinuity until 5'35, like a siren to warn men about the consequences of their activity on the earth's ecosystem. At 3'11, a very nice set of drumsticks coupled with the hammering of toms executed with fluidity come to be superimposed, symbolizing this human action at work. At 5'35, the elements are unleashed, with a rise in power of the instrumentation, before giving way at 7'10, to the brief series of previous notes, which resumes, accompanied by a soft guitar tune marking the ineluctable breathlessness of the planet, ravaged by the insatiability of man.
On Dreams of a Prisoner, the drums play a dominant role and are characterized by an elaborate, very ethereal playing while the guitar works to distill delicate notes. At 3'38, the rhythm accelerates to offer a dynamic that transports beyond the physical limits, because the imagination is the only escape for the one who is a prisoner, whether physically or psychologically. At 5'35, the picture darkens, adopting a darker atmosphere, representing the broken dream.
Hopeless reveals a sound all in delicacy: the instruments seem to interpellate each other, to dialogue in agreement, or in dissonance, with this constant research of harmony, almost palpable.
Psyche of Autumn proposes a solid melodic composition, on which the rhythmic gains in intensity by dense and well dosed interventions. The bass line is particularly remarkable. To this is added the play of the guitars, eloquent and exalted. The whole conferring to this title a real lyric breath.
Walls instead of Bridges is more tenebrous. The instruments seize us with force, and insufflate us all the fury and the sadness that, in turn, they release. For the first time on the album, at 5'45, a voice rises, screaming its rage and despair in front of the walls of selfishness that we build instead of bridges to join us.
The last opus, Locked-in syndrome, is the longest of the EP, with its 10'32. The crystalline guitars play on an atmospheric register, which one could qualify as introspective during the first 3 minutes. Then will follow very diverse tonalities: impetuous or intimist, saturated or vaporous. A magnificent final which reveals a very aesthetic sound landscape.
If the human activity leads, irremediably, to a collapse, one of the themes of Aridity, for our happiness, it also generates the artistic creativity, as testifies this album. And how can we not succumb to the charm of Aridity, whose richness and beauty of its melodies we can only praise? This composition with deliciously poetic and subtly bewitching musical textures is brilliant. A unique experience, with no limits!