France has been a country that has exported so many bands during history and when it comes to metal they have that distinctive style that only French can do and when they play with passion you can hear it as it all comes in unison and creates an everlasting listening experience, there’s so much going on here, the blend of riffs and sounds are quite unique and never let off for a single second.
So “Noir” (black) is an iconic French word and this band wanted to bring something that will linger and stays there inside you as the band states: “Noir describes the atmosphere which encompasses the lyrics throughout the record; it was important for us to find a French word as a title for the album as it is a big part of our identity, a part that we’re very proud of. Even though today’s music industry makes it mandatory for us to sing in English, we still like putting some hints in here and there“.
What they are trying to bring here is art at their most expressive way and for this they created a concept based around that word and it feels like a dark record with melancholic parts fill with dark passages and complex songwriting ” Noir is divided into 4 chapters, all of which contain their own emotion, feeling, guitar tuning, and even their own production/mixing.
So what are the 4 chapters in here? I only can assume is about life struggles and the redemption that comes at the end but I could be wrong, this album feels like a total soundtrack of anyone lives as you can feel the pain, joy, anguish and redemption, Novelist music totally obliterates as soon as you hear first chords of “L’appel du vide“ (The call of void) those clean guitar melodies are like a breath of fresh air complemented by the clean singing and the growling vocals, there’s so much melodies flowing back and forth is a beautiful song that certainly sets the tone for the rest of the album as those clean guitar parts come back again to finish up the opener, “Monochrome” picks up where the trail was left off, another song that is pack with different styles, while the saxophone gives the song a total different approach, leaving time to breath a bit while those vocals are totally mesmerizing, follow by a outstanding guitar solo and the saxophone ending a beautiful song.
Don’t let your guard down because you think this band plays safe, yes they can bring those beautiful melodies but also they can create adrenaline fueled songs and “Under Different Welkins” are one of those progressive songs that goes in all directions, it can go from beautiful to a wild beast and slowly this band is releasing the demons and the anger to a higher extent, by now you can feel the excitement building up but there’s still a bit of “laid back” here like they are not ready to unleash yet and that’s what I like because you want the emotions to come out full throttle but is not time yet because “Les Nuits Noires” (The black nights) comes like a subtle wall of sound and the drums anticipate what is about to hit which is one of the most heaviest songs in the album delivering the madness around some beautiful melodies, that guitar riff reminds me to old machine head, another side of the band that keeps surprising me with how good they can write songs to it’s full potential.
“Grey Souls” is another great track with the same formula as the track before, Heavy-Melodies-Catchy chorus and this totally works, this song flows all along without losing it’s rhythm, same as “Bitter End” which is one of those songs that you want to pump your fist in the air and sing your lungs out when the chorus reach for ecstasy, by far one of those songs that are a total anthem and the chants are electrifying has a bit of Lacuna Coil here and the hardcore or metalcore influences are in full attack, the guitars riffs are going berserk here and the drums flows, even the basslines are so crunchy, the musicianship is outstanding, it feels that a lot of hard work has been put into this record.
“Stranger Self” follows the same vein and there’s even some rapping in here which brings another side to this band, is great to see bands trying different things to create something that will be theirs only, the clean singing predominates here and it brings that moment of clarity into the plate before the madness is unleash again to grab us by the back of the neck, “The Light, The Fire” as the name suggest is a track that comes out softly but morph into a ball of spitting sounds and the melodies are in full flight again, that piano background is haunting and those piercing guitar riffs anticipate what will come next by now my neck is paying the consequences of this outfit delivering a masterful display of epic proportions.
As the album is nearing the end is in my opinion the best tracks in the album as the climax reach it’s peak “Joie de Vivre” (Joy Of Living) another song full of melodies and those high pitch chorus totally deliver one of the highlights in this album, those vocals passages reminds a lot of AFI and the musical passages sometimes reminds me to Katatonia, injected with those juicy riffs and the harmonies never stops, “Lead The Light” with the progy intro takes you to another level, clean picking guitars light up the atmosphere until the vocals kick off in a menacing way follow by those clean vocals and a face melter of a guitar solo to leave you breathless, that’s what I like about this album that keep you in your toes and you are always guessing what will come next, that’s when “A Travers Le Miroir” (Through The Looking Glass) brings the place to a total calm with those sublimes melodies, a real joy to listen this song, this song would really bring this band to the next level as it has all the ingredients to become a hit single and that bluesy guitar solo that comes out of the rabbit hat, is like they are trying to keep the tension on hold to finish in style when “Heal The Wounds” comes tumbling out of the blocks with that spiraling guitar riff keeping the tempo going till it comes to a halt and again clarity looms but only for a short time till another outstanding guitar solo explodes and brings our decibel levels up to fade into the atmosphere once again leaving us wanting for more.
A great album, great atmosphere all along fill with lots of harmonies and melodies galore, intense riffing and vocals to transport you to a different level.
“Noir” is available through Arising Empire – September 8th