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Tag Archives: France

Tardis – Machines Are Talking Behind Your Back


“Indie rock with heart” – that is the tagline of today’s band, and I couldn’t agree more. In a genre that seems to spawn so many new bands on a regular basis, it’s difficult to stand out, but at least for me Tardis managed to do just that with their debut album Machines Are Talking Behind Your Back. Read on if you want to know how they did it.

The quartet is comprised of members of various French rock bands, Sliver, Brainwashed and Victis to be precise, who decided that they wanted a change of pace and a different platform to express their creativity. After releasing an initial one-man-recorded demo in mid 2016 and playing several gigs in and around France, the band entered the studio to track these twelve songs. The result is a record that is filled to the brim with goodness, where every note struck and every chord strummed has a sense of purpose.

While the music of a band is, or should be, always the core upon which you should decide your affinity towards them, Tardis deserve a standing ovation for one other very important thing: presentation. The name of the Frenchies might ring a bell for some, since it’s the time machine in Doctor Who, and it comes as no surprise that a lot of the social media presence is just as geeky and chock full of nods to old TV show and movies. The same goes for the album artwork, which is crafted with a ton of love and a blast to look for small details.

The other thing that differentiates the band from the majority of the other indie rockers, is the fact that they chose to attack socio-political issues such as the recent migrant crisis and the desensitization of people under the constant influence of technology. One of my favorite lines is “Do you miss your brain? Do you miss your heart?”, since it hits the zeitgeist of today’s society right on the head. There are many other brilliant lines and witty track titles throughout the forty-five minutes that I will leave unspoken for you to explore.

All in all, Machines Are Talking Behind Your Back is a charming first entry into the catalogue of a band with a ton of potential, and I’m sure that Tardis could appeal to a fairly wide audience if they get the chance. The album is available on Bandcamp as of now and there will be an official release party on November 24th at the Irish Pub in Metz. So be sure to check out the music below and head to Facebook if you want to keep up with their progress. Also, those who buy the album might even find a teaser of what’s to come if they keep their eyes peeled and are a bit crafty. Enjoy!

Fractal Universe – Engram Of Decline

Fractal Universe - Engram Of Decline
As a reviewer, there are few things as gratifying as seeing a band evolve in a positive way, even more so when you pointed out their weaknesses and predicted great potential in their future while talking about their debut release. Such is the case today, because I’m proud to write about Fractal Universe‘s new full length, Engram Of Decline, which manages to surpass the band’s preceding EP, which was already remarkable, by light years.

In 2015, the quartet had laid a solid foundation with Boundaries Of Reality, which was a ride of finest technical death metal, but there were several minor flaws, especially in the production department: it just didn’t sound as good as it could. Fast forward two years, and you are treated to a sound so crisp that it pierces right through your eardrums and into your brain! But that wasn’t enough for the Frenchmen, since they also stepped up their songwriting game, as well as their musicianship, to a whole new level. The ten songs are so well composed, giving certain passages an almost symphonic, albeit heavy, quality and not a single transition ever feels awkward.

The drums are so tight and accurate that I would not believe that it’s not a drum computer, if I hadn’t seen them play live in the past. The interplay between them and the bass guitar is a real treat, especially in the groovier parts of the songs. Add to that the intricacy and precision of the two other string heroes, and you’ve got a true work of art. It’s also worth noting that the band has taken a daringly experimental step with the inclusion of a saxophone part on the song Backworldsmen, which on top of that is also sung in German!

Speaking of singing: the vocals have also improved both in execution and recording! Possibly due to the increased production value, every line sounds much better enunciated and every scream is another bone-chilling exclamation that drives the lyrics home with force.

While listening to Engram Of Decline for the first few times I couldn’t help but crack a smile, simply because it was so reminiscent of a technical death metal record I absolutely adore: Obscura‘s Cosmogenesis! And if that album was an inspiration for the Fractal Universe guys, I tip my hat to them, because they managed to capture its essence perfectly! You should be the judge yourself, and you can do so on Friday, April 14th, when the record is being released. In the meantime you can whet your appetite by listening to the single below and checking out the band on Facebook.

Sliver – No Idols/No Icons


The way I choose what to review is pretty easy: if it’s national, I’ll most likely write about it and if it’s an international one whose previous album I liked, they’ll probably also be featured on here. There are of course a couple of exceptions but that’s the, albeit slightly unfair, modus operandi. Well, with that said: Sliver are definitely a band that impressed me with their 2012 endeavor Disobey Giants, and they’re about to release the follow-up, called No Idols/No Icons. So here’s my two cents on it!

Essentially, the Belgo-Franco-Luxembourgish potpourri plays punk, but of a very experimental kind, where you can find screamo elements, as well as some hardcore (punk) ingredients, which all come together nicely and thus provide an enjoyable listening experience. While I do feel that the quartet has found its definitive sound this time around, thus being more concise in its execution, there is still enough variety to go around for everyone.

Returning listeners be assured: many “trademark” aspects from their previous records have found their way into these eleven songs, so the megaphone screams and socio-critical themes will still provide you entertainment and/or food for thought. The greatest improvement to me, however, is the more straight-forward songwriting, because it makes the different songs a lot more memorable. I also feel like the production has become cleaner, making it easier to distinguish the individual instruments…but that might just be my imagination.

The thirty-seven minutes also feel like they pack a tad more groove, and therefore danceability (read: moshability) plays a big part too. The vocal performance has remained at its previous high level and, even though the singer jokingly berated me that it was impossible when I mentioned it in my previous review, the lovely Frenglish accent is also still present. Add to that the truly fitting quoted interludes, and you have a well-rounded package.

All in all, not only have Sliver proven to me that getting into their music a while ago was definitely worth my time, but also that sticking to them was the right choice. NI/NI is a fairly diverse work of art with a lot of strong messages, and a fitting musical backdrop as its medium. So, do yourself a favor and listen to the song below and head over to the guys’ Facebook page if you want to keep up with their future! Last but not least, as you’re reading this, the entire album will be available on Bandcamp, so head on over and give it a proper listen!

Chabtan – The Kiss Of Coatlicue


I honestly can’t put into words what it is, but there is something about French metal that I can distinguish nine out of ten times upon my first listen. One thing that does come to mind is that they absolutely love the almighty groove and modern elements, the same goes for Chabtan, who are going to release their new album, The Kiss Of Coatlicue, on May 25th!

More specifically, the quintet roams into the deathcore genre while adding some symphonic elements and, as mentioned before, a thick layer of groove. A mix that works quite well in my opinion, but on the other hand the songwriting is for the majority of the eleven songs very similar and there are admittedly very few surprises.

The production is very modern but it delivers in the right places, with every double bass kick as well as every blast beat sounding nice and crisp. However, the guitars, while generally-speaking well recorded as well, do lack a bit of punch and have a tendency of turning into mush during the quicker passages, but that’s forgivable because the main sound hammers well enough throughout the forty-seven minutes.

The entire record is a concept album about the Mayan gods, notably the death gods, and despite having a bit of a hard time understanding the lyrics, due to the notorious Frenchie accent on one hand and the screams, screeches and growls on the other hand, they seem to be fairly interesting. The different singing styles offer enough variation to avoid repetition and there are a couple of dual-layered passages that sent shivers down my spine…chapeau!

All in all, Chabtan deliver a solid debut record that will definitely win over genre-enthusiasts but, for me personally, there was that special little something that was missing to make the spark jump over. As always, I do advise you to make up your own mind and check out the song below, before heading to their Facebook page to keep up with them!

No Return – Fearless Walk To Rise


I’m going to be honest here…even though No Return are a fairly well-established death metal band that has been around for twenty-six years, I have never heard of them before. Which is why I won’t be able to tell you how well their new record Fearless Walk To Rise fares against their previous releases, but what I can tell you is: boy, does it rock!

The quintet plays death metal that definitely has old school roots, but doesn’t shy away from throwing in more modern, melodic, elements, which prevents the ten songs from ever sounding stale. The interplay between brutal riffs and devastating blast beats lends the tracks a lot of tempo and ferocity. On the other hand, you have groove-laden and truly melodic parts that infuse variety in just the right spots.

I get a certain Scandinavian metal feel from the music the Frenchmen play, mainly due to the fact that the song structures resemble those of the aforementioned genre and I personally don’t mind at all, because they absolutely nail it. The sheer mass of crazy-fast solos and technical goodness that is buried in these forty-seven minutes will certainly be appealing to returning listeners.

The only aspect that might be a bit difficult for some to get into, are the occasional clean vocals, or shouts rather, that are thrown in…especially because the French accent, that I personally adore so much, is hard to ignore in these passages. If you can overlook that small fact, the singer’s performance is top notch and he definitely delivers on the whole line.

All in all, as a first-time-listener, I can honestly say that Fearless Walk To Rise is a very solid death metal record, for fans of the genre as well as newcomers. I strongly urge you to give the song below a listen and visit the band’s Facebook page if you like what you hear, for more info on where to get the album once it’s released on March 30th!

Not Scientists – Destroy To Rebuild


A bit less than a year ago I reviewed the debut EP, Leave Stickers On Our Graves, of the French punk supergroup Not Scientists, and today I have the great pleasure to write about their follow-up full-length Destroy To Rebuild!

What can I say? Not much has changed. But that wasn’t necessary to begin with, since the quartet had already found its sound on the predecessor and the musicianship was at a high level from the start. The main thing that stands out in comparison, however, is a more traditional production, with more natural sounding instruments or in other words, dare I say, simply a more punk approach.

In terms of songwriting, the eleven songs are still in the same vein as before, with a, for the most part, pop punk vibe and mostly good mood potential. But, the Frenchmen do take a few risks and add bluesy elements in some parts, and even some ska in other parts, which definitely adds a lot of variety to the mix. But the main addition to their sound is in the form of the dreamy and melancholic style, such as on the opener and on Just Break Me, which I absolutely love.

The singer still delivers on the entire line, and even performs some double takes on one song to form a really cool harmony. The lyrics during the thirty-eight minutes are less optimistic though, and lend additional depth to the music, with their reflective tone. Especially Tomorrow’s Another Day and the above-mentioned Just Break Me stand out to me in that domain. My only gripe is the fact that the background screams that I liked so much in the past, have almost completely disappeared…but that’s OK, I guess.

All in all, Destroy To Rebuild is a great full-length follow-up to a strong debut EP, and can easily be listened to several times on repeat without being boring even once. Last but not least, I can only strongly recommend going to a gig if Not Scientists are nearby, because their show’s a treat! So, if you are intrigued, head over to their Facebook page and listen to the album below, before the official release on March 6th!

Fractal Universe – Boundaries Of Reality


Today I’m going to write about a fairly new band called Fractal Universe, which is about to release its debut EP Boundaries Of Reality on February 20th. But make no mistake: the quartet is by no means comprised of beginners, quite the contrary. Every single musician is well-experienced and masters his instrument, which makes for an interesting first release.

The crowd-funded record shows the Frenchmen right at home in finest technical death metal, which features a great deal of variety. Be it the wet dream of the guitar-geeks out there in form of intricate riffs and fast-paced drumming on one hand, or the groove-laden palm-muting extravaganza on the other hand…it certainly never gets boring during the twenty-four minutes.

The vocals are always on point, be it in the form of deep growls or desperate screams, and from a technical standpoint they leave nothing to be desired from. There also some experimental vocal effects, such as whispered echoes or distorted lines, giving the entirety a very Gojira-esque feel…which, while nothing new, is always a nice addition, if used correctly such as in this case, in my opinion.

There is one gripe I have with the four tracks however. The production fluctuates heavily between accentuated clear guitars and a sometimes mushy sound. While it doesn’t make Boundaries Of Reality sound terrible, I am convinced that a better mixing would have benefited the record enormously and elevated it to a completely new level of awesomeness.

All in all, Fractal Universe has made a very respectable first step in the music scene, and if they iron out the minor issues, I am sure that their future will be a bright one. In terms of creativity and skill, the guys are definitely set for it. So do yourselves a favor and listen to the song below, and keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page for the release of the full EP!

Wank For Peace – Fail Forward


Wank For Peace. If that concept was actually working, the recent celebrity nudes leak would probably have brought peace to the Middle East and, most of all: what a fucking amazing name to call your band! I won’t lie that the name of the French hardcore punks was the only reason that I checked out their new record Fail Forward, but in hindsight I have to say that I would have missed out…so good on them!

The second full length by the quintet is mostly past-paced, good-mood-inducing, melodic hardcore punk that simply managed to suck me in from my first listen-through. Quite frankly, the thirteen songs won’t win any awards for being the most technical, the most innovative or even the best written ones ever…however, they have something by far more important: genuineness and energy!

On the instrumental side, the dominant word is definitely speed; something that is present in both the guitar work and the drumming. The fact that the bass is clearly audible all throughout the thirty-four minutes is another plus in my book, since it provides that little extra touch with its groove.

In the vocal department, you are treated to heartfelt screams and the genre trademark gang shouts, so nothing groundbreaking here. On the other hand, I have to tip my hat to the singer, since he does an amazing job at actually making you feel the lyrics with his raw and powerful voice. Another interesting side-note: the song titles made me chuckle quite a few times. These guys don’t lack humor that’s for sure.

Wank For Peace have discovered the perfect formula of having an eye-catching name to get your attention and solid music to keep you interested, which is why I’m quite sure that they won’t disappear anytime soon. While I don’t expect them to headline any major music festivals, then again I’m pretty sure that’s not one of their priorities, I am convinced that they will manage to convince many more listeners out there of their talent. If you want to be one of those, be sure to go their Facebook page and listen to the record below!

Betraying The Martyrs – Phantom


When I first heard the name Betraying The Martyrs back in late 2012, I didn’t really pay much attention to the band. In early 2013 I saw them live for the first time and their energetic live show convinced me to give their debut album Breathe In Life a chance. I haven’t regretted it to this day. I saw them again a bit later that same year and if anything, their stage presence had improved further. Naturally I was very excited when the guys announced that they were working on a new album, and when Phantom was finally released on July 15th, I was blown away by the result.

The sextet from France, which features a singer from the UK and a drummer from Russia, has a very distinct style that is easiest described by a made-up term: epic metalcore. Let me elaborate: the technical level of the musicians is very high and the arrangements of every song just have a purely symphonic feel to them, while still being relentlessly heavy.

The heaviness is assured by the very low, B tuning I think, guitar sound and crushing riffs, coupled with the almost robot-like precision of the drumming. To be honest, I could write a paragraph each about the skill displayed on every single instrument. But I’ll condense it a bit: the drummer is, in my opinion, one of the best in the genre despite his rather basic drum setup. The groove that this guy unleashes is just pure insanity, coupled with the above-mentioned tightness, speed and a mind-blowing amount of fills, it’s just a pure joy to listen to the forty-four minutes of madness.

The guitarists are in a similarly awesome sphere of grandeur, since their feel for melodies coupled with neck-breaking parts is eargasmic, yeah I just made that word up. Another very atmospheric layer is added by the keyboards, which are featured prominently but not to the point where it sounds like one of those electro-core bands. To top it all off, the production is exactly what I think a modern metal record should sound like: a clean but ear-drumming sound, which does in some places border on the over-produced but manages to walk the fine line between a genuine and a tweaked sound.

If BTM were an instrumental band, the thirteen songs would already be close to perfection at this point but they feature dual, triple during some choruses, vocals…so the epicness continues. The cleans have two major things going for them: their very skillful handling of melodic singing and something I just love, on a personal level: the very distinct Frenglish accent. The unclean parts cover pretty much every aspect of the spectrum, ranging from growls, to deeper growls, to even deeper growls, as well as screams and a few screeches for good measure. The small cherry on the pie are guest vocals by Gus Faris of Volumes on the track Phantom (Fly Away).

If by now I haven’t managed to convince you to give Phantom a shot, let me just finish off by saying that they covered a song from the Disney movie Frozen, which you can listen to below. While it sounds a bit ridiculous on paper, it sounds incredible when played and shows off the band’s sound perfectly while still maintaining the feel of the original song. This second record should be in every metalcore fan’s collection, since it will keep you entertained for hours on end, trust me. You can find more info about the band and their busy touring schedule on their Facebook page. Enjoy!

Sliver – Disobey Giants


A few weeks ago I went to a local show and since I was there quite early, I got to witness the soundcheck of the opening band Sliver. Having never heard of them, I was severely impressed by the two half-songs they played and I figured that I had to feature them on here and after their gig I was one hundred percent sure about it. Sadly, they didn’t have a recent release which is why I’m going to write a few words about their 2012 record Disobey Giants!

The quartet, which is composed of people from France, Belgium and Luxembourg, plays a hard-hitting mix of alternative rock and hardcore which sounds unlike most of the stuff you hear these days. Especially the omnipresent usage of synthesizers and keyboards is something that makes them rather unique in my opinion. The traditional instruments don’t fall short either though, by delivering a driving performance all throughout the twelve tracks.

The main concept of the band, and this album, is of a very anti-political and anti-capitalistic nature and the lyrics make that quite clear. While it might be annoying to some, because they prefer ignoring the sad reality, it is exactly that strong message that makes these thirty-seven minutes so special. On top of that you have the amazing clean vocal work, with that lovely “Frenglish” accent, and the screams which are amplified by a megaphone that just make it a blast to listen to.

All in all, there is absolutely no excuse for not checking out Sliver, especially since the entire album can be downloaded for free on the band’s Bandcamp page. I, for one, am very excited for later this year or early 2015, when the guys are supposed to release new music. As a closing statement, I’ll say that if you get the chance to see them live, do so; you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to sure to listen to my favorite track Small Is Beautiful below to give you an idea!