French Metal

Ascète – Calamities et Calamités Review

Ascète – Calamities et Calamités Review

“I’ve been on a bit of an Antiq Records kick lately. Every time I see the word emerge from the mists of the promo pit, my interest is piqued and I grab the promo, often without checking first to see if it’s something I’ll like straightaway. Ever since Véhémence captured my heart back in 2019, I’ve been trying to keep an eye on this label from the lands of France. I’ve received a few heads-ups about Calamites & les Calamités, the debut full-length from the label’s countrymen Ascéte. Sporting black metal of a style that fits right in with their label-mates (Hanternoz comes to mind as a recent example), Ascéte have the sound of a fresh band eager to mark the map.” Fresh blackened meat.

Esoctrilihum – Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath Review

Esoctrilihum – Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath Review

“Another year, another 78 minute monster of an album by Esoctrilihum landing in my promo box with a bowel shaking thud. It seems the musical reproductive cycle of the elusive Asthâghul, native to France, is on an approximate 9-10 month cycle, wherein no sooner than one shrieking, multi-limbed abomination is calved writhing onto the unsuspecting earth, a pan-dimensional demon god plants its seed into Asthâghul’s gaping mind womb to begin the gestation process anew. To be in such a constant state of creative estrus must be absolutely exhausting. I know as a reviewer who has squatter’s rights to all Esoctrilihum output on this site, I’m tired just thinking, listening and writing about it.” Pregnant pause.

Conquerors – Stormbringer Review

Conquerors – Stormbringer Review

“During my latest sojourn through the tepid waters we writers wade through to scoop up our latest promo, I encountered Stormbringer, the latest from French black metal outfit Conquerors. Confronted with Witch King-esque cover art, a Slayer-inspired logo and the knowledge that this was the band’s third full-length album, I was more than willing to give these Fenriz lookalikes a chance. Curse you, expectations.” No storm, no conquest.

Disparaître – Urchig Review

Disparaître – Urchig Review

“I’ve moonlighted as a metal reviewer for a couple of years now and I never cease to be amazed that bands – and black metal bands in particular – seem to have a burning wish not to make it easy for fans and reviewers to find them, nor to find out anything about them. Ok, I get it, you might not want your real name out there. I’ll give you that. So maybe you come up with some sort of creepy-weepy pseudonym to go by and, perhaps, splash the cash on a black cloak, maybe some face paint and. if there’s any change from that, possibly some barbed wire to wrap round a good stick that you can waggle about menacingly. Alright, I can get on board. But then there are bands … or projects, I don’t know, like today’s subject Disparaître, where there’s really very little out there. No proper Bandcamp page, no Facebook page that I can find, obviously no website, and even Metal Archives has nothing beyond a nationality: French.” Socially/sonically distant.

Gojira – Fortitude Review

Gojira – Fortitude Review

Fortitude was certainly on my list of most anticipated 2021 releases. I was in the minority here at the AMG Worldwide Pit of Ultimate Darkness when it came to my adoration of Magma – perhaps because the sense of loss that permeated that album resonated with me. Even though I lost my mom decades ago, that sort of thing sticks with you. But beyond that, the songs themselves were superbly written, and the band executed their vision to perfection. So with all the anticipation, why is this review two weeks late? Well, Roadrunner deem it unnecessary to send review material to lowlifes such as Angry Metal Guy, so I had to wait for release day just like everyone else, and then spend two weeks listening to Fortitude. Has it been worth it?” We must flee!

Seth – La Morsure du Christ Review

Seth – La Morsure du Christ Review

“For the second year in a row, a return-to-form album from a well-established black metal entity has somehow found its way into my greasy clutches. 2020 saw me covering …and Oceans and their phenomenal Cosmic World Mother, a record that presented itself after a long hiatus as an amalgamation of the band’s experimentation and growth through the years, while simultaneously capturing the spirit and style of the band’s origins. Well, change the year to 2021 and the band name to Seth, and that last sentence still works for the most part.” Seth and taxes.

Hanternoz – Au Fleuve de Loire Review

Hanternoz – Au Fleuve de Loire Review

“It has been thirteen years since Hyvermor, the Lord and Master of Antiq Records, has graced us with a full-length release from his oldest band and original solo project Hanternoz. Other projects, among them Braquemaard, Ê, Grylle, and Véhémence, have kept him busy, it seems (also, I’m guessing running a label takes up some of your time), but I was really excited to see that he’s returned to his roots, teaming up with Sparda (Créatures) (backing vocals, bass, hurdy-gurdy) to deliver an hour of his signature black metal style on Au Fleuve de Loire, complete with all the folky fixings you could ask for.” Folkworks.

Akiavel – Væ Victis Review

Akiavel – Væ Victis Review

If you’re about my age, you probably remember being a teenager and being rather surprised by Arch Enemy’s “Nemesis” video. For those unfamiliar, a speedy melo-death riff kicks the song off and we see a girl dressed like a Hot Topic version of Britney Spears in the “Oops, I Did it Again” video. She lets out a scream, and everyone watching goes “whoa, I can’t believe a girl can make those sounds!” The novelty wore off quickly despite my efforts to like the band because I liked Michael Amott’s work in Carcass. The Angela Gossow version Arch Enemy was inoffensively boring, and the band has since deteriorated into being offensively boring in the current Alissa White-Gluz iteration. The takeaway here is that Arch Enemy at their most popular is bland and uninspiring, and I’m lost as to who would take musical inspiration from that sound. Enter French death metal band Akiavel.” Archetypes.

Non Serviam – Le Coeur Bat Review

Non Serviam – Le Coeur Bat Review

“It’s not uncommon for fans of metal to lovingly describe an album as a “tough listen.” There are releases and sometimes entire discographies that can only be appreciated once a specific taste has been acquired. Given enough time and the right mindset though, what once may have been a shock to the system can become as comfortable as slipping into a warm bath or taking off a virus-splattered mask at the end of a long day. Don’t take my word for it; you don’t have to look far to spot avant-garde, genre-fluid bands like Imperial Triumphant gaining attention and garnering praise. This line of thought kept recurring again and again as I listened to Non Serviam’s latest release Le Coeur Bat.” Spiteful sounds.

Pathfinders – Ares Vallis Review

Pathfinders – Ares Vallis Review

Pathfinders’ sound is a robotic casing of groove metal which houses a metalcore rover that it uses to explore expansive concepts of the infinite. The metalcore tag can be a poisonous one in these parts, so let’s be clear straight off the bat: Pathfinders is more Killswitch Engage and less Zao. More djent and less prog. This is your high-school chewing-gum metalcore, back when Linkin Park seemed edgy. This will be deal-breaker for some, and if you are one of those folks who can’t stand the sound, I bid you farewell and Godspeed as you take the escape pod on your journey to the next review.” Explore-core.