The Ink EP from French metallers In The Guise Of Men is a release which makes a totally convincing and thrilling first encounter that only increases over numerous more plays but all the while it is playing an insidious little game where before you know it the six track feast of sound has evolved from a very welcome guest to a rabid addiction. It is an instant mouth-watering encounter which emerges as a necessity in the soundtrack of the day and passions, and though maybe you can debate its originality at times, the EP is a rousing provocateur which not only satisfies every want but feeds a hunger you did not even realise was lying in wait for a release like this.
In The Guise Of Men first set upon French stages in 2003 and reinforced their emerging presence with a five track debut EP two years later. Sculpting a sound which draws on a flood of metal and heavy rock flavours, the band has not exactly kept their homeland’s music scene busy the years but certainly had it attentive to their presence when they did hit the stage, events which has seen them alongside bands such as Crossing The Rubicon, Aside From A Day, and Anorak, and with a more intensive attack of dates this year. A change of line-up in 2012 was followed by the band entering the studio for their second release and a mighty encounter it proves to be. Recorded with Cyd Chassagne (Magoa), Ink hits hard and with imaginative antagonism, constantly treating the ears and passions to a persistently shifting and adventurous fire of at times recognisable but wholly inventive sounds. It has a presence which merges essences of the likes of Faith No More, Karnivool, Drowning Pool, Downer, and Meshuggah as examples just to simplify things, and leaves a raging appetite for the impacting mix.
Opener Suicide Shop leaps at the ears from its first breath, djent spiked riffs a jagged nag on the senses whilst a dark grouchy bass growl immediately lights up thoughts. With equally energetic and agitated rhythms behind the excellent flowing melodically cast vocals, though they come with plenty of snarl and growl at times too, the track is an engagingly rapacious introduction. It has a twisting intent to its intensity and drive, a continually hungry want to turn on its invention and the listener to tease and stretch their imagination. It is a dramatic and striking start which soon ignites an appetite for the release, a swiftly emerging greed which is soon wholesomely and resourcefully fed by the following track.
Violent Overthrow again has no need or wish to slowly coax in the listener to its persuasion, riffs and rhythms forcibly shaking up the senses with their predacious craft and energy whilst the guitars equally cast an inspiring and riveting web of sonic and melodic enterprise which scorches the air and expands the tempestuous sonic narrative at work. With a staccato gnawing of the ears and a heavy weight intimidation provided by bass and drums, the track is a glorious storm which steered by the continuing to impress vocals takes the passions to another level with ease which its successor Drowner reinforces with its excellent nu-metal and almost at times industrially honed adventure parading another expanse of structures and corrosive riffery to devour with the ardour of a hungry pack of wild beasts. There is very little if anything to take issue with the release over as this song in particular proves; its light and dark dangers all given clarity to express the individual skills of the band’s members whilst their coming together makes a seduction of the listener which is inventive and dramatically resourceful.
Both Sale Paradise with its glorious vocal and melodic croon which soars across the senses as evocative flames sear their edges, and the potently expressive Blue Lethe lead thoughts and emotions on a varied and exhaustive dive through gripping textures and predatory enterprise. Distinctly different in guise but like all the tracks bred from a linking passion and creative fire which leaves only hunger and rapture in their wake, the pair and especially the second of the two casts another incantation in the release’s spellbinding call on the passions.
The closing Dog to Man Transposition is a final triumph to complete an outstanding release. Running ears and senses ragged with another immense attack of lethal rhythms and flesh chewing riffing, not forgetting that wonderful persistently stalking bass sound, the song is a towering last confirmation of the greatness of EP and band, especially with its just as potent melodic tempting. It leaves In The Guise Of Men and the exceptional Ink EP a fire in the ears and alongside the other tracks an encounter which demands and eagerly receives a long term affair. Let us just hope it is not another seven years before their next creative rampage.
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