The Bordeaux progressive metal band, Altesia, with Yann Ménage on drums, Alexis Casanova, lead guitar and backing vocals, Henri Bordillon on keyboards, Hugo Bernart on bass and Clément Darrieu on vocals and rhythm guitar, released their 1st album : Paragon Circus , in December 2019. Self-produced, it was entirely composed by Clément in 2017 before the band was even formed. It will be released in 2019. Were invited on this album: Esteban Sainz for the throaty vocals on "Hex reverse" and "Cassandra's prophecy", the violinist Thibault Maton on "The prison child" and "Cassandra's prophecy" and the saxophonist Julien Deforges on "Reminiscence".
Paragon Circus is a dark work. The history of mankind is told through the Greek myth of Pandora, ("Pandora") who by her excessive curiosity, opened the forbidden box and spread on the earth all the evils and plagues. What was light has sunk into darkness and from now on will only be the reminiscence ("Reminiscence") of this past. In "Amidst the smoke", humans live in a world of illusion, the truth is veiled. The impossibility of accessing an elsewhere, of escaping the grip of this world where everything is codified, decided in advance ("Prison child") locks up more and more and leads the being to despair "Hex reverse". The album ends with "Cassandra's prophecy", a title that also comes from a Greek legend that recounts the unenviable fate of the poor Cassandra that Appolon, in order to take revenge, has given the gift of prophecy. She will thus know the misfortunes that will happen to her relatives without being able to prevent them, her word not being taken seriously. Another turpitude of Appolon! Just like the scientists, nowadays, who are not heard by the powerful when they denounce the climate change: "A curse ignored, above us, hovering in wait". The atmosphere of the album is heavy with threats: "The dire oracles feed on our deepest fears". The time of the fear came. Here is in the broad outline, the story of Paragon Circus.
For the musical part, although the formation is recent, all the musicians knew how to find their place, and thanks to their artistic requirement, brought their stone to the building to contribute to give body to this rich creation, sprung from the inventive spirit of Clément. Paragon Circus is sprinkled with energetic riffs, acoustic solos, rhythmic bass/drums sections, especially in "Reminiscence", mixing metal and funk influences, and on which we also hear a nice saxophone solo. The violin sections at 4'58 on "The prison child" and on "Cassandra's prophecy" are absolutely sublime. From beginning to end, the keyboard imposes itself, alternating lightness or on the contrary velocity. Melodic episodes are followed by more muscular passages, with dynamic orchestral jerks, instruments in tension which answer each other with nervousness, on which the strings crunch; the drums accelerate on "Cassandra's Phophecy" until the blast beat. Clement's vocals are crystal clear, particularly touching and gripping in "Hex Reverse", harmonizing perfectly with Esteban's growls on "Hex Reverse" and "Cassandra's prophecy".
This album is just amazing. For the author of Heroïc Fantasy that I am, Paragon Circus has an undeniable epic breath. It is crossed by long instrumental passages unfolding atmospheres alternately soaring, furious or melancholic and which highlight images, emotions. It is a very accomplished work musically. Congratulations to Altesia for this remarkably successful 1st opus!