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Negativa back in the studio

Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 04:16:37 PM
Old news (the original article dates from June 22), but still news to me:

NEGATIVA, the Quebec-based band featuring former GORGUTS members Steeve Hurdle (guitar, vocals) and Luc Lemay (guitar, vocals), along with Etienne Gallo (drums, AUGURY) and Miguel Valade (bass, ex-ION DISSONANCE), is back at Wild Studio with producers Pierre Remillard and Jean-Yves Theriault (a.k.a. Blacky, former bassist of VOIVOD).

Commented Hurdle: "There's a lot going on for NEGATIVA and we're very excited. We're back in studio to record three songs, the same fantastic studio, with the same team. We're once again honoured to work with these guys (Pierre Remillard and Jean-Yves Theriault). We have nearly 75 minutes of new music ready for the album and we're very anxious to share it with all of you. We'd like to warn you that our new songs are nothing like what you heard on the MCD; they're more ambient and emotional. We've also made some changes to our vocals. Finally, we will soon start doing shows. We're looking forward to playing live and meeting you guys. Intense moments guaranteed! Thanks for your support and see you soon."

Upcoming NEGATIVA shows:

Aug. 01 - The Metal Bar, Toronto (Ontario)
Aug. 02 - The Underground, Hamilton (Ontario)
Aug. 03 - The Embassy Hotel, London (Ontario)
Sep. 02 - Club Soda, Montreal (Quebec) - 25 Years of Quebec Metal Festival

The MCD was a horrible disappointment, but I'm still holding out hope for the full-length given the band's recent confession that the MCD was basically just a bunch of old material from the mind of Steeve Hurdle, which they used to get accustomed to playing with each other and ease back into the music-writing mood.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 04:19:59 PM
If they fail again, I think that all the Quebec scene will fail in future time. If they do something real great, I think we can still hope.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 04:30:08 PM
A quick search revealed a bit more info:

Hurdle defended the band's move away from its extreme metal roots, stating, "We feel it is time for us to do something else. It is following the change we already made with our musical direction. Now it is a lot more ambient, experimental and progressive. The songs found on the mini-CD were written years ago; the most recent one is 'Rebellion', and that was written back in 2001. Now we write as a four-piece [and] the influences are a lot more varied, so the songs are more diverse-sounding. We now have a song that clocks in around 23 minutes; another one is almost 17 minutes. I think it is a natural progression for us four to expand our sound."

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 04:30:10 PM
The MCD was a horrible disappointment

Never gave it a listen. What exactly went wrong?

Supposedly, their full-length will be Obscura with an experimental ambient bent.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 05:37:17 PM
They are hunting for a chick vocalist, apparently.

Women in metal=paradox

for me at least

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 05:47:13 PM
I'm actually pretty impressed by how blunt and low-key they've been about such a supposedly drastic change to their sound, especially since that sort of thing tends to be done for the sake of attention and/or for lack of any better ideas (i.e. a slight variation of the "we're going back to our roots on this one" lip-service).

Given the compositional and structural prowess that the core members have demonstrated in the past, I think there's definitely potential for them to offer something new and interesting, although I'll admit that the "Progressive" route has often doubled as a euphemism for "Becoming Limp-Wristed and Hipster-ish."  

Has there been any talk of what they played at the handful of live shows that were done in August?  Someone must have heard something about at least one of those shows...

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 15, 2007, 06:26:12 PM
There are a couple of live videos up on their Myspace.

The old songs sound a lot better when freed from the sterility of the studio environment, but the compositions themselves remain rather weak.

There is one new song to see ("L'éloge de l'ombre"), but it is hard to judge since I don't already know how the details play out, and a live recording like this isn't very conducive to the deciphering of "busy" music.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 16, 2007, 10:59:19 AM
Can you, wEEman, write a short review of the MCD for inclusion in Heidenlarm?

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 16, 2007, 05:14:56 PM
Sure, I could probably have one written by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
November 17, 2007, 05:54:10 AM
Thanks.  I've listened to the MCD a few times but it has yet to engender any kind of response in me.  Perhaps that is telltate.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
December 04, 2007, 01:52:45 PM
My apologies for not being able to meet any of my goals over the Thanksgiving break.

End of semester duties at work/school should leave me with little free time during the next week or two.

I am finished with everything on the 14th of December, however, and will have about a month of free time wherein I plan to finish up all the half-written work I've done for a few recent (2007) metal albums and the Immolation/Suffocation tour.

In the mean time, I thought people might be interested to hear what Steeve Hurdle had to say when I contacted him, asking how he's spent his downtime since the Gorguts split:

Hello Jayson!!
After leaving GORGUTS, i fell into depression and start doing hard drugs,heroin and cocaine intraveinous.That was not really an enlightening moment for me....
But i went onto rehab for more than a year to get rid of the addiction.
Now i've been clean for more than 4 years.
THats about it man, if you have any more questions,let me know!

Re: Negativa back in the studio
December 06, 2007, 12:13:00 PM
I wasn't really impressed with the miniCD.

They are focused on novelty and not what they would write music about that is important to someone else.

It's so emo.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
December 27, 2007, 07:43:19 PM
The new Negativa vocalist has been announced:

NEGATIVA, the Quebec-based band featuring former GORGUTS members Steeve Hurdle (guitars) and Luc Lemay (guitars), along with Etienne Gallo (drums, ex-AUGURY) and Miguel Valade (bass, ex-ION DISSONANCE), is thrilled to announce the addition of new vocalist, Roxanne Constantin, who has worked with QUO VADIS and AUGURY.

Commented Hurdle : "With her emotional voice, her love and knowledge of music, Roxanne will add a fresh colour to our sound."

Also, I finished my review of the MCD:

Negativa - "Negativa"
ProDisk (2006)

As an admirer of the Gorguts legacy, the question must be begged: did this really need to be released? Aren’t promotional recordings supposed to show off the type of new, exciting material that gets fans and record companies interested in the prospect of a full length album?

Bands like Crimson Massacre think so (see their “Promo ‘04”  as a fine example of how to make a proper promo). Negativa, apparently, do not; instead of making something new, the band has unwrapped and reheated three dehydrated, shriveled-up leftovers originating solely from the baker's hands of guitarist/vocalist Steeve Hurdle, the most recent of the three being “Rebellion,” composed in 2001. The resulting MCD has this recipient closing his mouth and shaking his head in disgust, debating whether or not it will be worth his while to open himself to the potential of swallowing another serving of such musical food-poisoning whenever Negativa's inevitable full-length finally comes out of the oven.

Meager artistic offerings like “Negativa” only serve to show why the best musicians are the ones who choose to continuously move forward instead of digging around for non-perishables in the piles of yesterdays’ trash (shame that Lemay couldn’t convince Hurdle and co. to follow Lemay’s own philosophy of perpetual artistic motion, as stated in Lemay’s 200x interview with Guitar.com).

To be fair, the tandem of Lemay and Hurdle has been retired from metal (and music in general) ever since the Gorguts split in 2002, with Lemay starting up a professional woodcarving business (here you can see some of his work), and Hurdle taking time off to correct the drug habits that had become a huge detriment to his health when he left the band in 2001.

As much as one would like to cut these musicians some slack, the unfortunate fact remains: dredging up old material and trying to pass it off as a commercial release cannot be accurately regarded as anything but ill-conceived, especially when “Negativa’s” musical design is every bit as poor as its attempt at self-promotion.

Each of “Negativa’s” three tracks feels like an improper imitation of materials from “Obscura,” the lone Hurdle-era Gorguts album. Problem is, none of the creative vision/spirit that drives “Obscura” remains on "Negativa." Instead, it seems as if the “Obscura” mold, though worn from use, was wantonly used to shape these songs without any sort of eye for quality control.

The once-masterful breakdowns now bring to mind the efforts of deathcore drivel like Ion Dissonance, Despised Icon, et al., who seem to be plopping into today’s toilet bowl of a metal scene with the frequency of turds in an airport restroom. Vocals, too, sound weaker than ever before, perhaps due to neglect of use over the last few years or the general wear of years spent as a touring, metal vocalist. Guitar parts assume a shape that is the wrong kind of dissonance; that is, instead of creating a new manner of speech through the process of experimenting with pick-scraping, guitar-shaking, and other manipulations of guitar electronics, the riffs consist of what feels like an arbitrary selection of notes set at calculated, dissonant intervals. Where the bass guitar was a driving, independent force in “Obscura,” here it is a rubbery nuisance, slapping and tapping its way through chic, contrarian lines, sounding more like a wet noodle than the gravely jackhammer that the instrument capably simulates throughout much of the Gorguts discography (even the non-existent bass of “From Wisdom to Hate” is preferable to the rubber-band bullshit that gets pulled off on “Negativa”).

If it is any recourse to its listeners, “Negativa” is likely to fade from memory in another couple of months when the band finally finishes (and releases) their long-promised full-length album sometime in 2008. As a recent, official statement reads, the bands' sound is currently undergoing some serious mutation:

“We felt that it was time for us to explore new avenues, so we've made significant changes to our musical approach. The four musicians are now involved in the writing process, which brings more diversity to our sound. Our music is therefore becoming more experimental, progressive and ambient. This natural evolution will broaden our horizons sound-wise. We're really looking forward to share our new creation with all of you.

Last June, the band went back to Wild Studio to record the instrumental version of three new songs: Deepen the mystery (9:46); The loss (14:56); …And the unknown (6:52). They will be back in studio to record the vocals at the beginning of next year (Source)."

With the prospect of a new sound and the addition of a clean, female vocalist, the full-length should, at least, be full of the creative energy that “Negativa” so sorely lacks; whether or not that energy ends up being woefully misplaced/misdirected remains to be seen.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
December 28, 2007, 05:47:28 AM
To their credit, they changed band names before disintegrating into mainstream culture and trying to make a buck to retire on.

Re: Negativa back in the studio
December 28, 2007, 07:58:20 AM
Steeve Hurdle looks like he has back and/or digestive problems. Unhealthy music from unhealthy bodies.  ;)