for the Marseille band astride between Emo/Screamo and Metal with interesting
lyrics inspired by everyday moods and modern times situations resulting into straightforward
descriptions of direct experiences; among these I preferred the ones of "Pathetic
Life of A Resigned Ordinary Man" and "A New Eye", but
all of the others are deep and topical too.|
The former is basically aggressive but also lives on moments of pure ecstasy dictated by the excellent refrain vaguely alà Incubus, as well as the latter by coincidence, but also by a few near-death experience vocals reminding some Mudvayne. Same speech has to be done for "Slaved to Lucidity", a real hypnotizing song that seems born from a jam session by Hatebreed and Nevermore.
"Unknown Forces" possesses riffing that is going to stick in your heads forever, as well as the final axe solo. This song - like almost all the others - contains the rich alternation of vocal styles, which is the ace in the band's sleeve in my view. As a matter of fact he can deal with a great deal of vocal styles in a superb way, especially the clean ones, yet he sometimes exaggerates with the angry vocals, ruining the lyrical arrangement a bit; he sometimes screams vaguely and unprecisely to fill the wrong adaptation of the words to music, so that's a point he needs to work on along with the improvement of the tough-motherraping-guy vocals.
The guitarist is striving to keep the songs catchy and different and nobody can deny he has a certain good taste in utilising effects and licks, in changing the patterns and in the end playing a protagonist's role evenly with the vocalist.
The highlight of the record, "Circle of Lies", expresses great emotions due to the very icastic vocals and the guitar entwining; the guitar solo and the rhythmic section in the conclusion are sort of reminescent of Dream Theater, while the main opening riff hails from the Swedish Death metal school (early In Flames and At the Gates above all). Bloody devastating!
Going back to "A New Eye", it has something in common with the first System of A Down crossbred with As I Lay Dying, Dream Theater and Bay Area Thrash metal; the amazing vocals and the guitars in the final part make this song another battlehorse that cannot be excluded by the live track list.
A mountain of Metal is included in the monumental "Awakening", where drummer Orsini gives his best performance of the album, resting on the instrumental notes of the guitar of "Ekoban Part 2: Point of No Return".
The most extreme composition ever written by Sonny Red is definitely "Parasites", rightly using screams and possessed vocals to be coherent with the title of the track.
Musically debtor to Killswitch Engage and Darkest Hour, "Beyond the Icon of Pleasure" is vocal-wise halfway between Heaven Shall Burn and A Perfect Circle; perfect drumwork, more composite than elsewhere on this platter closes the song.
The closure is entrusted with "Venus", a very long song beginning following Prog metal structures, soon blazing and rich of contrasting moments where the voice and the bass are the key. The choice of placing this one as last song is due to the fact that it shows all the facades of the French quartet, including a very atmospherical break unfindable in the other ten tracks.
The weak point of the album is the production together with the mixing; first the sound is not crystal-clear as desired but probably this is a choice of the band and not a result of the low budget. If I had been behind the mixer, I would have used more microphones for the drums, and I would have mixed some background vocals better and the cymbals louder. Even if you use earphones you will meet a few passages where more precision and clearness would be required, and all of this might have been solved with a nice expander, a machine that nowadays doesn't cost so much as before. It's a shame but instead of dwelling upon this problem and wishing there were a remastering sooner or later, I prefer to think how glad I am to have become acquainted with this brand-new four-piece that can hopefully supply us with more pearls of brutality and class in the years to come.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 2nd April 2007