MUSIC FOR YOUR GYMEAR: VIVA LA FRANCE! The Best of French Metal

Occasionally we feel it would be ok, or necessary, to highlight bands from around the globe to hopefully give you a few new tunes to check out. Most metal blogs will concern themselves with the latest releases. Not us. We’ll do that, sure, but we would also like to give you bands that are established and records you may never even know about otherwise. Because let’s face it…there are a lot of great bands and albums you just don’t have the time to seek out. That’s our job. Do fitness stuff and do metal stuff. We enjoy it don’t worry.

So in order to do that however, we’re going to pick a starting point. Today, it’s France. Home to a lot of great and historical things, places, people, etc. But, much to your ignorance, the home of some badass rock and metal. Don’t believe me? The Young Gods and Treponem Pal are a few examples you might know about. But if they helped lay the ground work, the follow bands build the skyscrapers.

The band Scarve has been a bit of a “where are you?” the last 6 years, stuck in semi-sort-of hiatus mode since their last effort, Undercurrent. Quite the effort it was, but the band is more well known for the excellent Irradiant album, which put them on the international metal map. Another thing the band is extremely well known for is Dirk Verbeuren, who is th European version of Gene Hoglan. Meaning he has been on drums for virtually everyone from Devin Townsend to Soilwork and all in between. Another was Guillaume Bideau, who is well known for his work with Mnemic, who left the band in 2006 right before Undercurrent was recorded. Irradiant and Undercurrent (along with various tracks off earlier releases) we give a mass amount of credit for spearheading a new decade of metal out of Europe. While everyone was kicking the dead horse known as Melodic Death Metal, Scarve managed to incorporate great vocal hooks and clean passages without sounding contrived or run of the mill. We eagerly await their next release, even if it takes a bit longer.

Anorexia Nervousa is another one of those bands listed as “On a long ass break” which in French Metal terms means “don’t hold your breath” apparently. Which in our eyes, sucks. One of our favorite black metal bands of all time, Nervousa took a straight line from the influence of all the European black metal acts in their prime while introducing the symphonic arrangements on a grand scale to many listeners ears. Our favorite release of theirs, “The Redemption Process”, was Fleshgod Apocalypse before that band really got their wheels turning and did everything right Dimmu Borgir got wrong. Listening to tracks like “Codex-Veritas” have the black metal energy trademarked and shipped to your doorstep to the point of absurd extremity. Easily our favorite song of theirs and what we feel wrapped up their sound best. But sadly, at this point, a ten year break likely means we’re not getting another round. But worth adding to your collection.

Yet ANOTHER French metal band we love, and with this band when we say we love them, this is a true love, is HORD. And yet ANOTHER French metal band that called it quits right when they were started to get international recognition (STOP THAT GUYS!!) We discovered them a few years ago doing “find a new band” research on youtube and were absolutely floored at their sound. Taking what we loved about Scarve’s unique death metal and progressive “screaming in key” passages and fusing it with industrial metal overtones, “The Waste Land” is an absolute MUST have. From the track “Unreal City” to their joining “Waste Land” parts 1 and 2 to the epic “The Grand Expedition” it’s a near perfect album. And the follow up “The Book of Elliot” is just as amazing. They always had a musical theme each release and made the album flow from start to finish. I pray they have a change of heart and regroup. The world needs song writing this good.

Like we were going to not put Gojira on this list. Come on now…

The band that brought back late 80’s riff metal ala Metallica and Testament via France. Though they had a few releases no one really heard about early on, “From Mars to Sirrus” absolutely pulverized anyone that came into contact with it or infected them to the point of obsession. From there, it’s been a steamroller of a group, opening for bands as huge as Metallica, to huge festival headlining slots to getting maximum exposure. And for good reason. If you’re into modern metal and have more than 5 brain cells, you love this band. Huge simple riffs, pick racks and pinch harmonics more Wylde than Zakk, and epic sized metal hooks. Bunch that with production deeper than the Mariana Trench and you have one of the biggest metal bands in the world. And they’re still together! We got one still going forward from France thankfully. Need to be a fan? Check out how huge the end of “Where Dragons Dwell” is or how “The Art of Dying” builds up. Truly a special band.

We actually have a full on interview with Hacride almost ready to go, and we’re mad it’s taken this long to get it up (transcription issues, sorry guys!) but we feel again, this band really deserves some spotlight. As they spend a good part of their career building their sound into something that cannot be emulated by others, on the album“Lazarus” they finally nailed it. Then their singer left and they had to find a new one. But this worked out because although “Lazarus” was a great album (imagine Neurosis going full-on progressive) when they followed up with “Back To Where You’ve Never Been” as the band felt when speaking with them, they really dialed in the Hacride vibe. And it shows. Still huge, still heavy but keen pacing, hooks, riffs and melody but mostly a very cohesive audio assault that makes you feel a bit more optimistic than it’s predecessor. New stuff in the works and thankfully they’re still together. ­­

One thought on “MUSIC FOR YOUR GYMEAR: VIVA LA FRANCE! The Best of French Metal

  1. Pingback: METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: Otargos “Xeno Kaos” |

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