QILIN invites us into a tormented psychedelic reverie with “Parasomnia”.

Written by Album Review, Chronique

Qilin. Here’s a mythological creature you’re likely to come across… not in your umpteenth hallucination though, but in the French Stoner Rock Scene.

Two years ago, the instrumental Parisian foursome piqued our curiosity as our possibilities of escapism were very limited. If you follow THC, we already hinted here and there how much we like the band. New year, new aspirations. On the strength of their revered debut album “Petrichor”, the band is trying to establish itself more strongly with this new one. Like the chimerical creature that inspired the band’s name, Qilin melds all its inspirations and crafts stoner rock that is both airy and anvil-heavy. And they had to take their cue from a wide spectrum of influences to explore the world of dreams, between thoughtful lulls, psychedelic rambling and nightmarish alienation. Between dream and reality, parasomnias appear.

Such is the concept of “Parasomnia”: when you’re torn between sleep and wakefulness, your state of consciousness vacillates between visions and evidence. It’s the passage from physical reality to chimeras, whether restful or terrifying.

Musically, we navigate between daydream-inducing interludes and the band’s trademark heavy stormy guitars. The songwriting heavily takes its cue from Spaceslug, who are known for such vertiginous combinations with their triptych on space odysseys. Far from being copycats, the Parisians soften the edges by injecting arpeggios and other soothing sounds reminiscent of Yawning Man. This in-between position perfectly suits Qilin, that fantastic beast associated with serenity and harmony in Chinese tradition. The band is indeed still trying to define its identity, but it shows a great ability to channel its identifiable and antagonistic aspirations. “Parasomnia” is not just the expression of a (heavy) summer’s night dream, but also an encounter with our inner demons haunting our sleep.

The quartet disappears into an ethereal tunnel and is reborn in a whirlwind of pachydermic riffs (“Hundred-Handed Wards”). More dreamlike yet more precise than on “Petrichor”, Qilin are more compelling when they fire on all cylinders. The Dantean “On Migoi’s Trail” and the masterful “Lethean Dreams” appear as epic tours de force, bursting under the impact of their gifted and unpredictable riffsmith Thomas Vachy’s evil solos. As an allegory of endlessly repeating time, with neither beginning nor end (the album is bounded by the tracks “Ouro” and “Boros”), “Parasomnia” subtly hovers between dream and nightmare, escape and reality.

Qilin aims to merge many genres and everything we love about them comes together here. “Parasomnia” is undoubtedly a landmark that showcases their most well-executed songs, constant progress and singularity. As press folks like to say, they just “passed the difficult milestone of the sophomore album”.

ALBUM: Parasomnia
RELEASED: 12th January 2024
LABEL: Auto-production
GENRE: Heavy psych / post-rock
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Last modified: 10 January 2024