If we had to choose one word to describe the Debut EP from French extreme metallers SSanahtes, it would be primal. The four track release is a ravenous almost pestilential trespass of the senses which is sure to be a blissful listen for some and a desperately uncomfortable one for others. It is also a potent introduction to and starting point for the band and their rabid fusion of flavours like sludge, post metal, doom, and hardcore, and a rather enjoyable encounter too.
Based in Bordeaux and Paris, the band first emerged in 2013 and taking thick inspirations from the likes of Meshuggah, Electric Wizard, Neurosis and the New Orleans metal scene set about creating their own unique fury. It is too early to say how distinct to the band that sound will be, the EP offering plenty of healthy spices from their influences. Brave its squalls though and look into the dark depths of the songs and it is fair to say that some of the invention and sonic twists have a potential and lure to suggest SSanahtes will be a potent force ahead and is a compelling proposal right now. Taking their time with the creation of their first release, and recording it in their own bedrooms, the quintet of Fabien Loustalot (vocals, synths), Thomas Daniel (guitars, songwriting, production), Nicolas La Rosa (guitars, production), Franck Roder (bass, production), and Dylan Hyard (drums, samples) have bred a tempest which belies its humble creation and makes a striking first step for the band.
The instrumental Blue Druidess starts things off and immediately provides inviting and anthemic rhythmic bait. The drums are soon joined by the heavier grizzled growl of the bass and sonic swipes from the guitars, all aligning for a portentous air but one which holds court on real hostility. The track prefers to seduce the fear from the psyche, the keys of Loustalot a haunted and gently sinister air around the melodic intrigue cast by Daniel and La Rosa. The piece of music is fascinating and gripping, the increasingly more predatory bass presence and jabbing beats a dark intimidating shadow over the melodic and creative elegance within.
The tempest hinted at in the opener is soon consuming the senses in The Edge, though it too prowls into view with restraint. It is coated in an intensive doom breath and corrosive impact though which translates into every predacious riff and throaty bass line. The raw, throat wrenching vocal squalls of Loustalot similarly come with venomous expression and toxic intent, but all tempered by the more contagious rumbling of drums. They make a persistent tempting within the invasive tsunami of malevolence and sonic aggression, lending their infection to the unpredictable and pleasing slips into melodic calm and post rock ambiences. EP and songs do need plenty of time and effort to reveal all their nuances and underlying invention but as here reward with some sparkling ideation and provocative enterprise brought with open individual craft.
Black Dragon allows no time for a breath, instantly expelling a blistering flame of guitar and vocal vitriol next. Riffs and another gripping bass offering provides the addictive element to the song this time, whilst the swings of Hyard simply resonate with every meeting of wood and skin. The best track on the release, it proceeds to create a contrasting sonic and melodic weave within the tempestuous and oppressive onslaught of the song’s predominant ravaging. As mentioned before, it is an exploration which at times you need to specifically focus on whilst braving the surface savaging but once it is locked in, it reveals just how much promise is in this band.
The release ends with Words, where you now know what to expect and what you will be challenged by whilst another thick swamp of erosive grooves, numbing riffery, and vocal ire bring new exploits to devour. The song arguably, other than the instrumental, is the most accessible on the EP, those tangy grooves an immediate invitation and given potent clarity until the sludge voracity and doom bred insidiousness of the song builds and spills its toxic hues over the senses and psyche in an overwhelming sea of sonic malignancy.
SSanahtes has made an impressive and fully satisfying introduction with the EP and if their inspirations match the same artists which light your tastes then the French band is well worth checking out.
The Debut EP is available now @ http://ssanahtes.bandcamp.com/
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