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And here’s the other part of yesterday’s offering, this time from the cool Gallic (relative) Northern shores of la belle France.

Well…one from Portugal managed to slip in there, somehow.  Don’t ask.

Allons-y, n’est pas?

FANGE – PUDEUR (Throatruiner Records) (April 24) 

We’d covered these guys several times, for Purge, Pourrissour and Punir and they actually did what every band aims for (or should): they actually progressed from some abysmal beginnings to a somewhat respectable concern to an actual praiseworthy effort over the course of three releases and four years.  Nothing wrong with that!

So here they return at their typical year’s remove with…well, they certainly hold the line, anyway.

While it would be a bit of a stretch to say they improved dramatically over last year’s admirable efforts, there’s certainly no drop in quality to report here, especially if you’re looking for crunchy Swedeath HM-2 chainsaw guitar and riffing crossed with Fear Factoryish industrial leaning vocals.

Sounds very much like the sound of ’93, all over again. If you dug Punir, prepare to dig right in for another likeminded patissierie of praiseworthy P word entitled punishment.

What is it with the alliterative album titles, anyway, mes amis? Not that Stan Lee’s favorite son should suddenly be seen slamming the art of the alliteration!

SATAN  – TOUTES CES HORREURS (Throatruiner Records/ Amertume Records/ Croux Records/ Deaf Death Husky/ Itawak Records/ Jungle Khôl/ Lilith Records/ Repulsive Medias) (March 13) 

We’d covered their Un Deuil Indien a few years back, and found ourselves quite
nonplussed by the black metal meets noise by way of punk cacophony that it
represented.

Nothing much has changed here, unless you want to stress that they’ve amped up the punk elements somewhat. It’s still atonal and abrasive and utterly pointless. But they sound a tad more shitty punk than shitty black metal, for whatever that’s worth.

yawn.

WHIZZZ!!!!

…did someone have fast food chain faux-Mexican, or something? That stench is
truly abominable!

Next?

MOURIR – ANIMAL BOUFFE ANIMAL (Throatruiner Records) (February 21)

French black metal, when not appending to the eerie, lo-fi “insider” cultlike vibe of the estimable Les Legions Noires, tends to have a bizarre fetish for atonal noise.

I’ve never liked it, never understood the appeal of it…it’s just shit, pure and simple,  and it’s a damn shame that an entire national scene seems to hold this nonsense in such high regard (due praise to the outliers who reject same, but we’re talking large scale rule of thumb here).

Unfortunately, that’s what this one is – those stupid yodeling howls that seem to have popped up as “the new gimmick in lame black metal acts”, a lot of ringing open string nonsense under thick swathes of reverb and delay…and a heapin’ helpin’ of atonally oriented audio misery.

OOH YOO HOO HOO!!!

YODEL-AY-HEE-HOOOOO!!! (WHIZZ!!!)

And they hit the flames with a hearty impression of the first man to land on the sun.  YOO-HOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!!

…next?

DEATHMAZE – EAU ROUGE (Throatruiner Records/ GPS Prod/ Fer De Lance Records) (February 21)

Nice!

So despite some ridiculous growl-shout vocals and a bit of a propulsive metallish  guitar at points, this one’s a surprising return of sorts to classic “positive punk” gothic rock and postpunk, complete with (when not falling into the aforementioned and unwelcome sonic anomalies) single note riffs on lightly distorted guitars and bass (oft overdistorted for some reason), propulsive “on the beat” drumming and a feel much akin to pre-Closer Joy Division crossed with more than a hint of Wayne Hussey-era Sisters of Mercy.

When they drop the growly vox and stick to the expected vibrato-inflected clean baritone and eschew the metallic distortion, they’ve got the sound down pat.

Can’t give ’em a five star review because of all the nonsense they drag in to an already perfect sonic template. It doesn’t add a damn thing, mes amis.

In fact, it detracts mightily.

It’s a testament to how good the rest of this is, that I’ll give ’em a recommendation as an interesting band with a lot of potential…here’s hoping they drop the “extreme metal” affectations and get with the program next time around.

They’re pretty good…and could be absolute aces with a haircut and a light makeover.

VERDUN – Astral Sabbath (Throatruiner Records/ Deadlight Entertainment) (November 15)

We’d covered their Eternal Drift’s Canticles four years back, and found them a rather quirky but interesting doom-inflected oddity.

Here their sludge influences and what passes for “punk” these days (i.e. a lot of atonal noise and pointless screamo vox) appear to be amped up a lot, despite the ongoing presence of molasses slow and heavy riffs and the same sleepy chanted clean bits we’d noted last time around.

To say the album sets a tone and stays there is a bit of a bait and switch for the fact that it all sort of sounds the same from minute one to the final fade…but with this sort of music, is that really a problem?

Drop the screamo bits and light atonal affectations, and you have something very much akin to what we’d heard a few years ago. If you dug it then, you’ll dig it now.

Vectis – No Mercy for the Weak (Helldprod) (March 20)

We’d covered these Portuguese teens’ demo The Executioner around this time last year and found ourselves enamored of their speed metallish take on South American blackened thrash.

So here they come with their first EP, and they’re practically an opening act for one of our favorite such acts, Colombia’s estimable Witchtrap (whose Teutonic thrash, speed metal and NWOBHM influences completely overwhelm any more typical South American blackthrash tropes in their sound).

Vectis isn’t quite there, having a much weaker frontman than the Mille Petrozza by way of Schmier stylings of Carlos Munoz.

Even so, it’s an impressive effort following on and arguably refining what was already a surprisingly strong opening salvo.  And that’s something to hang your hat on, particularly for three (now four) guys of such a young age.