Underground Sounds: Régiment – On Les Aura!

Label: Antiq Records
Band: Régiment
Origin: France

Many bands have a fascination for World War II. It’s atrocities are those of a modern war but on an exceptionally large scale. We often seem to forget that it was the second for a reason. Régiment takes as a topic the first world war and makes an album on just that with the very enjoyable ‘On Les Aura!’.

Featuring members of Astaroth, Anus Mundi, LugnasadBraquemaard, Hanternoz and many, many more (even Peste Noire), this is a talented group. Interestingly, they share their topic with only a few other artists, amongst them 1914, who I spoke with before. This is, to this point, the only release by the band and even though it’s a couple of years old it can hardly be ignored.

Starting with the hopeful, proud banner song that drives the soldiers into battle, this record instantly sets the vibe for the Great War. Call it black metal, or maybe war metal if you’re into that sort of thing, but ‘Sauvagerie Prussienne’ is a rude awakening to the horror of the trenches. Referring to the anti-German sentiments, it also evokes the powerful warmachine of the Reich with big, lumbering movements and heavy rhythms. There’s a venomous intensity to the sound of Régiment though, one that makes you want to storm those enemies. The whole concept is full of paradoxes though, with the cover showing a glorifying portrait of Philippe Pétain (also the title refers to him), known as the French commander, but also remembered for his way of dealing with mutineers. It’s not a glorification of war, but a very particular experiencing of the events through singular, personal eyes.

We slow down a bit on ‘La Mort du Negre’, which conveys the story of a black soldier, dying next to his enemy. Also it refers to a Joseph Conrad novel, It combines heavy metal riffing with black metal barbarity in a very effective manner, which offers moments of relief and strong melodic passages for the listener. The sound is exceptionally gritty as we move on and hit ‘En Avant!’. It’s the sonic equivalent of crawling through the mud flat on your belly. It’s such an exceptionally enjoyable record. Full of power and energy, enriched with samples to set the right mood. You can’t go wrong with this. When is the next release due, guys?

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