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Monday 22 November 2021

Reviews: Aephanemer, Dust In Mind, Heart Line, Corpus Diavolis (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Aephanemer – A Dream Of Wilderness (Napalm Records)

There are bands that push the boat out on recordings and then there are bands that get the entire fleet and the kitchen sink to make their music sound as impressive as possible. Toulouse band Aephanemer are a band that do this, following on from their 2019 album Prokopton, their style of melodic death metal is just a starting point for what is a cinematic, progressive musical journey across 11 songs on this follow up release A Dream Of Wilderness. The use of symphonics, is what will grab you, reflecting the styles of SepticFlesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse, the sweeping strings and ethereal choirs on Roots And Leaves will take you to the Halle aux Grains, as orchestral swells and dramatic fills take their place side by side with razor sharp melodeath heaviness. 

Le Radeau de La Méduse and Antigone both featuring almost black metal blasting, Marion Bacoul’s ferocious vocals wildly varying from growls/screams to even some operatic moments. Band leader and lead guitarist Martin Hamiche, must have taken the same approach as Devin Townsend on this third record as more is certainly more, sometimes even too much but just as it moves towards that, you’re taken down another route, with another sound, the lyrics varying between English and French while the instrumentals are brilliant Hamiche’s lead playing especially invigorating throughout, peeling off arpeggios from hell but also more deft emotional playing on Vague à l'âme. In the rhythm section Bacoul’s guitars are joined by Lucie Woaye Hune’s bass for the gallops and death metal sprints while Mickaël Bonnevialle’s unstoppable drumming only slows on the evocative orchestral pieces such as the breaks in Strider

With this third album Aephanemer have adopted to take no prisoners, throwing in as much experimentation as they want to, it’s a massive step up on all accounts and certainly sees them embracing their major label debut by hammering home exactly why they were approached by Napalm in the first place. A Dream Of Wilderness is a seriously good record that may have other melo-death albums drowning in its’ wake. Superior. 9/10

Dust In Mind - CTRL (Dark Tunes Music Group)

Characterised as a melodic death metal band with industrial metal flavours, Dust In Mind have been around since 2013. The creation of guitarist/vocalist Damien Dausch and vocalist Jennifer Gervais, various line up changes have happened since then but more recently, they brought in bassist Xavier Guiot in 2016 with drummer Thomas Marasi (Dunkelnacht) and guitarist Phillippe Miralles added in 2019 and 2020 respectively. These additions have led to something of a reinvention to the band after their previous record, the music hits harder, the riffs are stronger and feel more modern and the electronic/orchestral flourishes are more impressive. The culmination of all of this is CTRL their fourth full length. 

From the outset of the record t's obvious why they said about being industrial in their sound, as they utilise synths and dramatic orchestrations much like Italians Lacuna Coil, a band that Dust In Mind are very similar too. Dust In Mind Alps pair the throbbing electronics and orchestral backing with chuggy metal riffs and anthemic choruses. Much of this comparison can also be drawn due to Gervais' powerful, soaring, clean vocals that are counteracted by Dausch's growls and gritty cleans. Their vocals are in a special kind of unison making them very listenable, and is the best part of the bands style. 

That's not to put them down musically, they create strong output that will do well on the live music scene, brimming with hooks and enough heaviness that they don't fall into some pop traps that so many symphonic styled bands do. CTRL is Dust In Mind stamping their mark on what they do, showing the world that they are here for the long run. 7/10

Heart Line - Back In The Game (Pride & Joy Records)

Comprised of long time members of the French rock scene, Heart Line is an AOR/Melodic Rock band that has some serious chops to it. Formed by guitarist and producer Yvan Guillevic, they play a style of music that loveeds of Journey and Foreigner will love, Guillevic's guitars superbly slick shifting between choppy riffs on Back In Th Game, melodic phrases and shredding solos, his interplay with keyboardist Jorris Guilbaud is a joy to listen to, the pulsing synths of On Fire, or the saccharine electronics on Fighting To Live. Back In The Game has got that 80's Sunset Strip feeling ringing throughout it. 

Helped immeasurably by the soaring vocals of Emmanuel Creis, a really find vocally, carrying the mantle of Steve Perry or Dennis DeYoung as Heart Line feel a lot like Styx as well. The back room of drummer Walter Francais and bassist Dominique Braud powering Fire Dance which has that Scandi vibe of the multitude of AOR bands from that neck of the woods. As a debut it's extremely strong debut and will likely see them being on numerous AOR labels watch list, but for now they are hitting home runs for Pride & Joy. Turn it up and party on! 7/10

Corpus Diavolis - Apocatastase (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions)

From Marseille, apostate black metal act Corpus Diavolis, shun God an embrace Satan yet again on their fourth studio album. The album title signifies the restoration of all things to their original state, reflecting the ideas of God through the scope of the devil, apparently conjuring intimate thoughts to savage black metal soundscapes. These French occultists rely heavily on black metal troupes filling their 6 songs with frantic blasts and tremolo riffing, the vocals shift between bestial roars and shamanic conjuring. 

Corpus Diavolis however do owe more to the Hellenic style of black metal than anything French or Norwegian, filling songs like the title track with sonorous Latin chanting, the dual guitars unleash hell building into some synth overlays. The tracks are very ‘big’ sounding as if having a full choral section brought in, while also adding a doom-like feel and dissonance. It feels Hellenic, no wonder then that George Emmanuel re-amped, mixed and mastered the album, as he paid his dues in Rotting Christ and Lucifer’s Child, so is in league with both Satan and that key Hellenic black metal sound. 

At just 6 tracks you would expect an EP, but most of the songs are long, expansive cuts, densely populated with evocative atmospherics and unleashing Satanic fury through black metal assaults. The restoration of all things, belies the apocalypse and Corpus Diavolis are ready! 7/10

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