Madmans Esprit – Nacht

Rating: 3/5
Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum
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Released: October 2014
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Madmans Esprit Nacht CoverBand line-up:

Kyuho – Vocals & All Instruments

Track Listing:

1. My Little Dark Paradise
2. Blood, Cum & Shit
3. A Gaunt Tree
4. The Lily & The Rose
5. Absolute Darkness
6. In Der Nacht


South Korea’s MADMANS ESPRIT offers a confusing debut album in “Nacht”. Fundamentally, it calls black metal its’ home genre but throughout the six meandering, winding tracks available it covers so many genres, moods, degrees of light and shade it is almost hard to keep up. It is even said that “it contains every other genre’s approach what he wants to express (sic)”! And you had better believe that this is no exaggeration.

Opening track “My Little Dark Paradise” transitions from relatively calm, post-rock beginnings to erupt into a black metal cacophony before subsiding into pseudo-jazz, with soothing crooning from the enigmatic Kyuho. And just before you’re mentally settling into the jazz-bar setting, the song turns about-face and tears your face off before AGAIN settling into a more melodic passage, with near-operatic wails emanating from MADMANS ESPRIT’s man of mystery’s pipes. The man never settles down, never rests on one section for too long before departing from another exploration into another genre.

And so it goes on. “A Gaunt Tree” lurches into life with chugging guitars and another eccentric vocal performance – think along the lines of DIR EN GREY’s Kyo – and flits between the more serene passages and these heavier ones almost on a whim. Latterly, “The Lily & The Rose” breathes into life with delicate nylon strings, swelling orchestral strings and soaring vocals that are simply beautiful until the multiple personality facet to MADMANS ESPRIT returns and the roar of black metal rears. If you wanted music that is unsettling without overtly sounding it through use of choice notes, then “Nacht” is what you’ll want to listen to.

The slight spasmodic nature for each song has clearly been done for a reason – MADMANS ESPRIT has spoken of the album and stated “the whole album is like a long breath: you will feel little fear and anxiety, despair, solitude, and sadness expressed in a weird, sometimes provocative and original way (sic)”. It’s hard to argue with that, really. It is a confused affair, but the individual parts (especially some of the softer passages) are breathtaking. It’s a bit of a shame that the off-kilter and unfocused songwriting on display doesn’t stitch them all together to create a greater sum.

“It is just a desperate scream” – there is a pretty strong argument that this is more like several desperate screams, but if it is uncomfortable that you want to feel when listening to an album (as well as a little confused), then set aside some time one nacht for “Nacht”.

Review by Lee Carter