I can't find much about these guys except that they're from France and they used to be called Abyss until they figured out there were already three other metal bands with that name. To be fair, though, I didn't really search that hard (I'm on a time table, people!). Here is their latest effort form last year - 'Barton's Oddyssey'. I don't even know who this Barton person is but he must gone on some pretty wild adventures if I'm to let this music be the story-teller.
Where most metal nowadays tends to be on either the more raw and surgical side or the more Deftones-sounding side, here comes something with a grandiosity I haven't really had in my metal stew for a while.
I don't understand if they intended to title this record after a 1930s actor/deep-sea diver for comedic effect or if the idea of what his exploits must have been like is what lead to this album being as dynamic and operatic as it is. The album starts with guitar vibes that have been mostly absent since 80s metal with bands like Stryker then immediately starts rolling into Amon Amarth territory. Not that I would say this band is strictly melodic death metal but quite the opposite. Even with the death metal influences this band tends to feel very more classical than morose. The guitarist steals the show on this record, at times he sounds like a saxophonist that stumbled into the wrong studio. He's really that insane and his range of different tapping and harmonic skills give the tracks so much flavor.
These guys go from jazzy to angry Norwegian child burning a church seamlessly on this record. I even think I heard slap bass on multiple instances, which has to say something. The guitar and drum work excellently together without losing a sense of dream-like tonality similar to what you'd hear on an Opeth record. Even with a Frenchman growling into your ears you never get a sense of anger, really. It never feels like he's in the foreground.
That's what I would say is the downside, really. As extreme as this record gets (And it gets pretty extreme in so many ways) it never really feels that brutal or dense, which would've been a nice change from the theatricals of this album. And it seems like this album was trying to go there sometimes. Maybe it's the higher register the sound of this record sits at. The mastering allows for a lot happening around the high end while the low end feels kind of neglected and void of weight. That's still not to take away from how much effort was sunk into this album, for sure, though. The drums go into machine-gun rpm territory and the rest of the outfit sound like they're holding their breath in while excreting enough sweat to fill a tank at sea-world but probably just to eat at ihop after. It just comes to show the difference between a heavy sound and brutal vibes.
If you're into majestic death metal vibes then I would definitely recommend this album.