May 12, 2023

Erei Cross are a French Alt-rock band with a penchant for electro synths, created in 2019 when the two founding members singer/bass player Laetitia Finidori and composer/guitarist Adrien Grousset (formerly with Hacride and Carpenter Brut), sharing a mutual passion for rock and metal music, decided to join forces and work on a new project. Initially they worked as a duo but later on Matthieu Guérineau (Microfilm, Myra lee, Captain Parade, etc..) joined the band as their live drummer.

Letitia and Adrien

Their music floats between heavy rock, goth, electronic and alternative bringing to mind names like Queens Of The Stone Age or Royal Blood, but with a enchanting vocals performance that recalls PJ  Harvey at times. The early fruits of this collective were gathered on a debut six-song mini-LP recorded and released as an EP titled The Widow in 2021.  

Erei Cross have now unveiled their first full-length album The Widow and The Others, released on May 5th via Klonosphere/Season of Mist. The album features eleven tracks, throughout which the band offers an eclectic, dark and engaging sound encompassing a wide variety of styles, but non that can be described as “full-on metal” – rather it’s a sort of metal-based contemporary concoction of rock, metal, pop, synth, funk….you get the picture, it’s a pot-pourri of effervescent modern music!

The album does have an overall theme that revolves around “The Witch”, and Erei Cross’s signature style clearly draws upon the atmosphere, visuals and inspiration of modern witchcraft’s esoteric and symbolic imagery. But it ain’t heavy or imposing, this is a suprisingly infectious listen!

If Erei Cross indulge themselves across a raft of musical styles and sounds, one thing that is constant is the theme of the emancipation of women through witchcraft. The band clearly revel in immersing themselves in Metal and Stoner thanks to an overall mix featuring lots of fuzzed guitar work, but it’s the multitude of add-ons that intrigue. Lots of electro, plenty of funk, more than a touch of pysch-rock, and above it all floats this wonderful voice! In that sense they strongly remind me of the Italian band Walk in Darkness – again that great combo of dense riffs and hauntingly clear swooping vocals – this is already a Great Year for female lead singers!

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The album opens with Here I Am Far Away, kicking off with an insidious chord-driven beat before in sweeps Laetitia. She’s pitched lower in this first track, and it positively bounces along with an almost 70’s funky key base, belying the underlying strength of the storyline (see the video below!). Sorgin Dantza is next, an initially slower, more edgy, staccato number. It builds nicely, becomes a bit of a riff work-out without ever losing a sense of mystery.

Third track is All In, it starts off with a brooding, throbbing rhythm, then what sounds like a harpischord? Another slow burner with a clever arrangement of instruments – these guys are always interesting in terms of what might happen next in a song, and how their compositions develop. It’s followed by Lilith Grand Bitch to Queer…this has a sort of punchy but laid back 80’s vibe to it, metronomic beat plus swirling synths, that sort of thing. Laetitia’s voice is so pure and calming, its easy to miss the dark tales issuing forth! Some tasty guitar work here as well. It’s just ocme to me, the overall sound is like a meatier version of Nephilia and Children of the Sun, two inter-related hippyish Swedish bands? – wheres they are all sunshine, Erei Cross are more menacing – not quite menacing, but definitely deeper.

The Widow is another slower track – it doesn’t build up much as such but doesn’t need to. it’s a sumptuous wallow in silvery vocals and shimmering chords.

Ainmosni (I think I’ve spelt that right) is basically heavyweight disco material! – it has such a ear-worm of a rhythmic beat and big chorus, For a duo plus “friendly drummer” they sure do pull off a nicely fat sound. Somehow another 80’s sounding track but I’d struggle to give influneces – just a glorious melange of up-beat tune.

The lead character in Vocero is probably a confident, outspoken woman. The composition covers new ground in the mix of keys and percussive instruments, it fascinating! In sweeps a riff-driven section, I’m again struck by the parallels with Walk In Darkness (who I love, so this is rare praise indeed!) Another sumptuous track to get lost in….

The King’s Death comes at you left-field, its so much more punchy, staccato, riff-led…but just when you think this is standard fare, you get an ethereal mid-section before some big-time chords and chorus steam in. These two are seriously excellent songwriters!

The Others bounces in, very 90’s , actually more than a hint of Frankie Goes To Hollywood! Lady Fear continues the same sort of vibe, extremely tuneful, harmonious waves of sound simply sweeping over you…The last track is MDCXCII – roman numerals for 1692 – a significant year for witches, the year in which the Salem trials in the US found 19 men and women guilty and were executed – ironically the same year that witch-hunts were declared illegal in France. Musically, it’s a powerful full-on rock number, superb riffing blending with synths / keys again in an infectious tune which again belies the tale. Layered vocals and huge chorus provide a fittingly climactic conclusion to the song-set.

All in all, The Widow and The Others offers an enchantingly varied mix of musical soundscapes, floating as I said between heavy rock, goth, electronic and alt-rock and always with that voice…I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem of a contemporary record!

the stunning video for the opening track!