Diable Amoreux – Horns Used for Butting

21st June 2015 from Heathen Harvest

Rating: 7/10
Written by: Malachy O’brien
Label: Independent (Australia) / DA007 / CD
Experimental / Neofolk / Psych Folk / Theatrical


For some time now, as an Australian citizen myself, I have been anticipating getting to this point in my promo pile as some cursory research shows the act in question, Diable Amoreux, is from Tasmania—or Van Diemen’s Land. The allure of cheap domestic flights has nearly taken me further South than I already am on several occasions, but the warmer climates of North Australia always seem to win out. After a first listen to this nearly decade-old recording, Horns Used for Butting, I’m not sure if I have found an excuse to get there or stay away.

Diable Amoreux could one day become a genre class in its own right. There is simply nothing and no one out there, that I’m aware of, that is quite like it. Funnily enough, with enough exposure, I can already see people saying, ‘yeah, their last record was very Diable Amoreux-esque!’ So how does one describe this new-found genre—or, rather, considering its age, this bizarre obscurity?

The first track, ‘Horns of the Great Inverted Goat’, starts with banshee-style screaming followed by electronically modified piano bashing. ‘Contemplation of Gnomes’ follows with some harsh vocals and electric guitar, I start to get the picture: Diable Amoreux is coming from a ‘gnomic’ perspective, which I found myself loving in an absurd sort of way. The track ends with a savvy guitar riff which I wish has been allowed to go a bit longer.

Track three begins and a spoken word element enters into the mix. Plucked guitar strings, effects, and a distressed vocal range sing about with a chorus that follows:

‘To speak to the living
We silence the dead
What was left in the air
Murderous and red
Is rubbed from the ether
Electricity doubts
The night she is silent
When eeriness shouts'

I can just imagine gnomes swaying from side to side, singing in perfect, evil harmony, inevitably scaring the life out of a neighbour's cat that has been locked out for the evening.

I listen on and temper the flow of the Scotch that has kept me company throughout the duration of this release. I can't help but wonder if Absinthe would have been a more appropriate choice: save the green fairy, enter the evil gnome. Diable Amoreux is certainly an act that didn't conform to any genre or pander to a mass of fans. It is with that said that it becomes obvious that  Horns Used for Butting is an intensively introverted work of 7 , the project's founder. Placing its influences isn't an easy prospect, but it's fun to try. It's quirky and odd, but let's face it: we are in the post-industrial underground here, and that's what keeps the building blocks of this small corner of experimental music moving. Boasting an extensive back-catalogue, there is bound to be something from Diable Amoreux's works for us all to draw inspiration from, though their aforementioned obscurity is likely to keep this artist out of reach for most people who may find something of value.

Regardless, gnomes are likely to never be the same to me again. Time will tell if I avoid them in the gardening section of my local hardware, or if the thought of this record will make me look at them. If I end up being like the quirky gentleman at the end of my street and start collecting them, it will prove that this music has had an adverse effect on me. If they start talking to me, well…

Track List:

01) Horns of the Great Inverted Goat
02) The Contemplation of Gnomes
03) Those Newfangled Towers
04) …Is a Scary Place
05) Deer Hunting
06) The Island of the Dead
07) Ruby Jade
08) Storchy Weather
09) In Van Diemen’s Land
10) It’s German
11) Poltergeist Girls
12) Mr. Eternity
13) Goodbye Emma
14) Horns Used for Butting