While many countries have been well known for their decent quality metal, either predominantly from a certain sub-genre or just in general, France is a country that has only recently appeared on the radar for most. The scene in France has really developed over the last few years to include some fantastic prog, black and death metal bands, all with their own unique flavour unseen in the other regional scenes worldwide.
"But Gojira are the only decent French prog band!" I hear you cry. Well I'm sorry but you're dead wrong there. As impressive as Gojira are, despite being moderately overhyped nowadays (especially in the UK thanks to Metal Hammer and other mainstream loving tools who ignore any small band with talent), there are many other technical/progressive bands of note from our cousins across the channel, notable examples being 7th Nemesis, Carcariass, Destinity and of course Hacride.
This is Hacride's 4th offering and their first since the inclusion of two new members last year, Florent Marcadet and Luis Roux (taking over drums and vocals respectively). This album follows on from Lazarus and Amoeba, two excellent albums that showed France was a force to be reckoned with in the metal world, and while this band undoubtedly has some similarities to Gojira, there are far more differences to set them apart.
Opening track "Introversion" starts out with a nice djenty-sounding clean tone and some off-kilter rhythms, sounding so far like a French Mnemic. However the main riff soon kicks in, bringing with a strong industrial flavour, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that it sounds fucking awesome. Track 2, "Strive Ever To More" leads in flawlessly with some nice octave riffs, and then coupled with the clean vocals produces a sound rather similar to some of Tool's more effect drenched passages. There is still that strong industrial atmosphere throughout but it doesn't overshadow the music, and thankfully Hacride aren't one of those bands that have given in and resorted to using 7/8 strings and polyrhythms in an attempt to stay progressive. These guys are managing just fine without all that. Not to say that some of the riffs on this album aren't still pretty fuckin' heavy, because they are, trust me. "Synaesthesia" for example, has one of the most crushing riffs I've heard for a while from a non death-metal band, and there isn't a seven string chug in sight. "Overcome" is the complete opposite end of the spectrum however, playing the role of the "typical heavy but outrageously catchy and accessible radio single". No complaints here though, it rocks.
The album finishes on a high note with "Requiem For A Lullaby", mixing together everything you've come to like about the album during its duration and still sounding fresh and new. There really is no simple way to explain this, but Progressive Post-Industrial Sludge is about the closest I can get. This band takes inspiration from Neurosis, Mastodon, Gojira and several others to form something fresh and interesting. Prog fans should definitely check this one out.
Back To Where You've Never Been is out now on Indie Recordings