Rock ‘n’ roll is all about arousing people; igniting their spirit and emotions in tandem with their physical presence and there is no doubting that Sweden hailing Normandie do that with debut album Inguz. It might not be a release that carries total uniqueness in breath and sound but there is no escaping its anthemic might and virulent impact.
Formed in 2013, Normandie initially emerged with a rawer sound but with the departure of their heavier co-vocalist, the Örebro hailing quartet began honing in on the rousing melodic side of their invention. This has led to the stadium rock like roar and the anthemic fuel igniting within Inguz and understandable comparisons to the likes of 30 Seconds To Mars and Bring Me The Horizon.
The album opens with Fight and an instant incitement of firm beats and handclaps which just as swiftly are joined by a heavily coaxing chorus of voices surrounded by spirals of sonic tempting. The song holds back a touch as the quickly impressing tones of frontman Philip Strand emerge, waiting for the moment to erupt into fiery life around the seriously infectious chorus and drama of the song. In no time ears and appetite are gripped by its invasive roar, even more so as Håkan Almbladh’s guitar spins an incendiary web within a familiar yet robustly fresh sound.
With energy and emotions racing in tandem with those of the song, the superb opener makes way for Awakening and it’s mellower but no less catchy endeavour. Strings scythe majestically across the sky of the song, joined by another dose of potent vocals as the darker prowling presence of John Löfgren’s bass provides a provocative temper aside the thick beats of Jesper Malmberg. Riffs and keys almost duel with rapacious zeal as they further shape the explosive encounter, a potent essence equally colouring successor Collide. With a carnivorous tone to the bass as the song expels a blood pumping bellow of sound and emotion, the scent of bands like Poets Of The Fall and Allele crossing thoughts as ears become enveloped in a masterful melodic tempest.
Recent single Believe quickly hugs and pressures with its own seemingly recognisable if indefinable character and roar, emotive radiance and atmosphere angst uniting before Loop Hole shares electronic agitation and tenacious rock ‘n’ roll in its Muse meets Sick Puppies like tempest. The track just raises the album’s roof, its aggressive and volatile character as gripping as its searing blaze of melodies and vocals are fiercely seductive.
Through the darker charm of The Deep Cold, a 30 Seconds To Mars meets The Veer Union like encounter, and the wonderfully tempestuous Calling, band and album set a fuse to greedier reactions in appetite and emotions. The second of the pair is especially invigorating and inescapably galvanic, giving yet another striking peak to the landscape of the increasingly impressing release.
The pop spiced rock ‘n’ roll of Starting New leaves satisfaction full, especially with the devilish dark tone of Löfgren’s bass alongside another great vocal display from Strand and band. It was only ever going to pale a little against the might of its predecessor though, but nevertheless pleasure is kept high and reinforced by the bold melodic flames that shape The Storm and finally the reflective smoulder of Epilogue.
All three provide a richly tempting close to an album which from start to finish has the listener rigorously involved and eager to share their own emotive roar. Certainly Normandie is yet to find their truly unique sound though very few will be complaining as Inguz takes them on a ride few will surpass this year.
Inguz is available from March 4th via the band’s own Normandie Records @ http://normandie.bigcartel.com/product/normandie-inguz-album-digipak-cd
Pete RingMaster 19/02/2016
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