Hit The Head, the new album from French instrumental post metallers Corbeaux, is cinema for the ears and imagination. Six tracks which transport the listener into expansive yet intimate post rock flights of sound and emotional reflection, the album fascinates and bewitches with immersive beauty. It is also a proposition prepared to investigate the fiercest and more hostile elements of life and emotional discord, certainly that is the adventure the tracks inspire in thoughts as they light up ears.
Formed in 2010, Corbeaux has evolved into one of the leading new lights in progressive imagination and post rock incitements, earning similarly growing attention and acclaim along the way. 2011 saw the unveiling of their first release, the two track Terrain Blanc, though it was the split The Meeting Point with Rennes trio Volte Face a year later which helped push both bands into a stronger spotlight. With more than sixty concerts under their belts, the quartet recently uncaged debut album Hit The Head, an encounter which can only intensify attention upon and the following of Corbeaux.
Recorded with and mixed by Amaury Sauvé (Birds in row, As We Draw) and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna, Abraham, Kruger), Hit The Head instantly has the imagination drawn as Cran d’Arrêt strokes its potent coaxing across ears, an eager appetite swiftly seduced too as the guitars of Mickaël Pochet and Maël Le Guichaoua gently yet potently increase their melodic lure. Transfixing within seconds, the track only grips tighter and deeper with the dark growling prowls of Mathieu Crétier’s bass. Its entry instantly darkens the atmosphere, bringing an intimidation and portentous air backed by the heavy beats of drummer Joris Saïdani and taken on board by the sonic tempest brewing from the guitars. It is a storm which ebbs again though, an elegant grace and charm wrapped melodies colouring the air before the climate again boils up and over with a delicious sonic searing and bestial bass tempting. The track is seriously compelling, its theatre an unsettling and turbulent landscape yet irresistibly inviting.
The sensational track eventually reduces to a sonic spear before slipping into the just as magnetic and unpredictable La Bagarre. Right away, though initially with less dark intensity than its predecessor, there is an agitation and aggravated character to the track, rhythms and riffs on the lip of hostility yet defiantly holding their animosity through the caustically melodic restraint of the music. Eventually it erupts with barbarously swung rhythms and corrosive riffery, though the song even in its stormy state does not quite match the violence of the more stable first song.
A calm descends over album and senses with 7th Avenue next, its melancholic grey air reinforced by the slow winding of melodies. It is a climate and ambience which is soon experiencing darker clouds, their presence a slowly evolving and increasingly menacing texture. Once upon the listener, the rancor of sonic dispute is freed, guitars scorching ears and the song’s once peaceful canvas systematically pounded by rhythms with rapacious antagonism. The track as those before it is mesmeric in its invention and challenge, and like those others also individual in its presence and character but equally a flowing continuation of the album’s thematic exploration of dark depths.
The final sonic bluster of the third song leads straight into the intriguing jaws of Sur Un Fil. Bass and beats straight away provide a grouchy snarl and welcome but one tempered by the poetic melodies of the guitars and equally their sonic mystique. There is an exotic, almost worldly spicing to their enterprise but also an emotional intimacy which adds to the noir coloured drama of the track. Despite its shards of light the music is a sombre affair but once more unafraid to challenge perceptions and assumptions with an entangling of warm melodic imagination and creative revelry.
The mystery of Where Is Dave? entrances ears and thoughts next, its more tranquil body at times still a volatile proposal but for the main smothers the listener in a poetically shadowed radiance and invention. Its climax is an explosive finale though, veering towards emotional instability before stopping and making way for the closing might of Ezimpurkor. The track is a slightly schizophrenic affair, or rather a tempestuous drop through changeable layers of imposing emotions and reflective explorations. Though not as immediately inflammatory as other tracks upon Hit The Head, it is one of its most enthralling and relentlessly hypnotic with moments of ingenuity like the short but pungent moment of vocals.
Elements of Hit The Head can be likened to bands like Abysse, Cult of Luna, and Russian Circles but within an identity and creativity which is uniquely Corbeaux. The album is a testing journey, a cinematic adventure, and most of all a thrilling and quite outstanding search of one’s own thoughts and emotions.
Hit The Head is available now digitally and on CD @ http://corbeauxrock.bandcamp.com/album/hit-the-head
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