Eleonore is the third studio adventure by French progsters The Black Noodle Project and it is indeed a fine delivery.
This is a band that has been shifting its direction and musical approach from album to album. If the first was more based on the pursuit of emotional melodies in a shell of near neo-prog, and the second was a more adventurous and cheerful album, this third is a real achievement in terms of emotional landscaping. It is darker and heavier than whatever they have done before, but is a real muscled and worked out exercise into new territories.
France has slowly become one of the most well supplied countries in what concerns quality music in many levels, especially in metal and experimental music. Well, The Black Noodle Project did follow that evolutionary and quality assurance path while preparing this exquisite album. They show some very subtle influences in what concerns the construction of the heavier (sometimes slightly ambient directed) passages, drawing resemblances (in a much less heavy and extreme attitude, lets be clear) to such monsters as Gojira and other post-metal bands. But they also seem to be inspired by darker specialists such as Antimatter. While adding these elements to their ability to create great melodies, The Black Noodle Project entered a whole new level of emotional musicality.
Eleonore is a dark fairy tale created by the bands mastermind Jeremie Grima. It has environmental concerns disguised under its (and pardon me the pun) more adult oriented (not in that way, you perv! ;-)) childish story, and the music portrays it in a noir ambiance that is extremely well achieved. The story flows very well while a guidance light (a dark one) to the music itself and they fit so well together that hearing the album or reading the story on their own will never provide the listener/reader with the full insight. The band design was that the package would only complete by the merging of both perceptions and thats exactly what theyve achieved.
Stressing out the musical part of things, it is quite noticeable the emerging importance of the bass playing in the architectural foundations of the band. In fact the bass playing does even get stellar (just listen to Resistance, for instance).
While overall the bands performances have all improved when compared to previous releases (the band is clearly growing by the day), it is also very clear to me that the elements are closer than ever, interacting in a more focused and flowing way, and that is perhaps the attribute that makes the album result in such a delightful (dark) way: each track is an event on its own, but the album as a whole is just a greater thing. And even if at first listens it is sometimes hard to digest what is going on, after a few roundabouts it really starts making sense and you find yourself gladly walking the labyrinths of the album, with a contemplative smile and a satisfied musical gluttony.
There is on e other thing that I fond extremely curious in this album: the band sometimes uses small portions, chords, melodic sequences that relate to other songs/albums. If this is something that, for instance Phideaux as learned to master, The Black Noodle Project shows that they are in top of that game too, and even in a more subtle way. Resistance (my fav track of the album) has connections to the opening track but also to a track from the bands first album. This is something I really appreciate: not a clich in any way, not a sign of lack of ideas but the exact contrary! It shows security, focus and a real prog rock attitude that must be praised.
Like said previously, this album (along with RC2 and Overhead latest releases) have restored my faith in contemporary (and modern) progressive rock.
I cannot but highly, highly, highly recommend this album to all who love dark, emotional, intense, slightly heavy at some points, musicality.
To the band I say: just keep growing this way, you (prog)Rock!!