Review – Wegferend – En Autremonde – Chapitre Second by John Wenlock-Smith

One of the main issues with fans of progressive music is their general unwillingness to listen to anything that is new or out of their comfort zone and, whilst this is possibly an unfair generalisation, it does mean that many are closed off to exploring new bands and artists for themselves.

Social media, like Facebook or X (or whatever it’s called this week) has to take the blame as part of this problem. I hear that bands are finding it harder to get any publicity these days without having to jump through certain hoops, all of which means albums like ‘Chapitre Second’ from french trio Wegferend will struggle to find a market for what is a very interesting, and very different, prog related release. Which is really a shame as this rather quite gently layered album is full of some great music and moods.

Allow me to unfold this album a little for you. First a little background, Wegferend (which is olde English for wayfarer) are a trio composed of two sisters, Manon and Alexia Cazaméa on guitar and recorder respectively, both also provide vocals with Alexia being the foremost voice. They are joined by percussionist and multi instrumentalist Thomas Boisser who adds to the captivating melodies the sisters offer. This music is very gentle, yet intricate, and blends an almost world music feel with their use of ethnic instruments in their songs.

First track Gedim opens gently with guitar and percussive interjections and a high pitched voice. A Gedim is a kind of a spectral form of the deads in the Aramean mythology and this song is about the cycle of life and death following the cycle of the Sun creating days and nights and you can certainly enjoy the gentle mood. The music takes you on a journey of many moods, darkness and emotion with some delicate guitar from Manon in the middle section that really adds to the atmosphere and mood of the piece. It is a lovely track full of great performance and vision and ends with a bell chiming majestically. Holy Ghost is full of a Celtic sounding recorder and very lively rhythmic chiming guitar chords that work as a great contrast to the recorders and vocals. This piece has a lot of life to it and it impresses greatly, it’s so very musical and complete. Next is the albums centrepiece and almost title song, The Wayfarer. This stars gently with Irish low and high tin whistles and another delightful vocal from Alexia, the recorder parts really add greatly, creating an other worldly atmosphere. I am detecting elements here that have touches of The Emerald Dawn and their singer Tree Stewart as this track has that sort of feel to it, it is also full of great guitar playing, mainly rhythmic, but it is all well conveyed and the track works well as a result. When we get to Druide, I especially like how the music is layered to create a depth of sound, mostly on acoustic guitar with percussion fills for emphasis. A great vocal from Alexia brings the music to life, this is music you have to allow to settle in your sprit, although I can say the Celtic elements of the sound are very satisfying to these ears.

Lost In Reveries is an instrumental track built on wordless voicings and acoustic guitar that Manon plays with great feeling and good style, using the guitar to make and establish a rhythm which is maintained by Thomas’s percussion, an approach that pays good dividends. I really like the simplicity of the style and it defines and elevates the great musicianship of the trio. This is an album that really grows on you as you begin to appreciate it’s fine crafting and unique style. Jos L’Uelh De La Breissa is full of recorder flourishes and has a distinct touch of the folky side of Led Zeppelin to it (not a bad thing in my opinion at all). I really like how they work so well together to make something of note and value, it makes for a really good listen. Final track En Autremonde is also striking with it slow, almost funeral march, beat and time along a deep cello aiding the melancholia. It is very moving, dark and deeply atmospheric in tone and really impresses, as does the whole album with its mood and dark ambience. It is really rewarding to hear something that is so well imagined and delivered with such grace and style, it is simply a beautifully crafted track.

This album has grown on me so much that I have no hesitation in recommending it to the more adventurous prog listener. Within its songs you will find a world of wonder and enchantment. I urge you to check it out for yourself, the album is available on Bandcamp and the band will appreciate your interest and support, a truly wonderful and enchanting release.

Released March 31st, 2023

Order from bandcamp here:

En Autremonde – Chapitre Second | Wegferend (