Topsy Turvydom might not be setting new standards and adventures for the metal world but with ten tracks of bruising and invigorating craft it makes for one sizeable and feisty encounter, a confrontation which leaves satisfaction and enjoyment lively responses. Created by French band Magoa, the album is a multi-flavoured rampage employing an expanse of styles and invention within its explosive body and though it maybe is not the most original fury of modern metal it does provide a very easy to devour and return to exploit.
The album from the Ermont hailing quintet is the successor to the band’s well-received debut Swallow the Earth, a superbly sculpted and delivered blaze of metal which builds on the strong base of its predecessor to push the band to greater depths in their songwriting and aural manipulations. Released via Klonosphere and produced by Charles “Kallaghan” Massabo, Topsy Turvydom initially engages the ear with a rich suggestive ambience, its brewing mass and intensity punctuated by electronic beats. It soon unveils the entrance to opener Ailleurs where the guitars of Vincent Alvarez and David Teixeira are instantly carving the air with concise sinew clad invention and the rhythms of drummer Martin Montergnole punching as forcibly as the riffs beside them. It is a magnetic introduction where the squalling vocals of Cyd Chassagne sit perfectly upon the djent/metalcore filtered enterprise The already impacting encounter lures the passions further as an electronic teasing and the bass of Vincent Blondel add extra contrasting yet wholly persuasive tempting. The song is an immense start which provides the core knowledge of the album, a storm of slightly familiar attributes unleashed in a resourceful and contagious tempest.
The following Wall of the Damned is a sturdy confirmation of the strong start, cleaner heavy rock vocals and grooves the opening invitation within another rapacious cage of hungry riffery and rhythmic provocation. The song twists and turns in its presentation, fusing a mix of John Bush fronted Anthrax and TesseracT which slowly burns its way into the senses and imagination, moving from initially a pleasing encounter into one of the highlights of the album, its emotive keys caressing and melancholic atmosphere an endearing and lasting suasion.
As the likes of the commanding Max Bet, with its infectious blend of lethal intent and melodic swaggering, and the intriguing Betraying Grace next play upon the ears, the album continues to enthral and breed a strong hunger for its presence. The second of the two swings from a Pantera like snarl to a pop metal coated harmonic embrace, its structure imaginative and impressively crafted as it entwines the extremes into an appealing and ultimately convincing assault. Another track which takes time to fully persuade and to ignite the energy of pleasure others reap with ease, the track only leaves attention and appetite engrossed in what Topsy Turvydom next has to offer.
Party Time brings an electro metal bred suggestiveness to its encounter which without lighting the fires and an appreciation like its predecessors still makes a worthy incitement for the album and emotions, if not a long term one, the same which can be said of the classic metal seeded Eat You Alive and the Estamos Locos. The first of these two is less potent in its merging of styles, the song shaking the throat gently rather than ripping out its flesh like other tracks on the album, whilst its successor even in providing a brutal and ravenous predation on the senses fails to find that spark or fuse to a lingering and deep thrill, though both in craft and skill leave no one wanting.
Broken Record is a different story; featuring Threat Signal’s vocalist Jon Howard, the track is a ravishment of the senses with an intensive rabidity soaking every riff and rhythmic strike whilst vocally Chassagne, backed strongly by the band, chews every syllable of his narrative before sharing its aggressiveness. Infusing rap vocals in to the antagonistic rage works well as do the harmonies which caress the ears in the latter part of the song even if neither delivery escapes the shade provided by the great lead attack, but it is the imagination and adventurous experimentation of the song and its structure which makes the richest convincing; and certainly the virulent grooves and Korn like breath which breaks out at times does it no harm either.
Completed by the strenuous and inventive might of Forgotten Saints and the excellent closing insidious fury of the thrash lit There Is No Tomorrow, the album is an impressive and convincing slab of accomplished and thrilling metal. Magoa might not be stretching limits but undoubtedly creates a tempest of enterprise and skill which feeds the needs of any metal release. Intelligently carved invention, exhausting passionate energy, and the eagerness to push themselves, the album has it all and more.
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