Carnival in Coal

French Cancan

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Like Carnival in Coal's first album, Vivalavida, French Cancan is an unlikely and often downright ridiculous mix of extreme death/black metal and '80s dance-pop, only this time the focus is on cover songs. But, though you may well have heard these songs in their original versions, you haven't heard them done like they are here. The duo piles excessive keyboards, growling vocals, and chugging death metal guitars onto the slick dance beats of Genesis' "Mama"; they turn Michael Sembello's Flashdance-spawned hit "Maniac" into a sinister disco-black metal hybrid; and they deflate an otherwise fairly straight version of Morbid Angel's ultra-evil "Fall From Grace" with a perfectly placed circus-polka breakdown. These guys may not be entirely serious, but they're more serious than any sane person could expect them to be -- just listen to the note-perfect guitar solo on "Maniac" or, for that matter, the detail-obsessed arrangements all throughout the album (done with the aid of a drum machine as opposed to live drums). A flawlessly executed piece of work, French Cancan alternately feels like an extremely elaborate joke and a really twisted tribute to the band's musical heroes (apparently it is more the latter). It is sick, depraved, disturbing, funny, stupid, and brilliant, in some cases all at once.

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