The past couple of years has seen a striking amount of potential loaded and highly enjoyable bands emerging from the French underground metal scene to which you can now add another in the imposing shape of Except One. Creating a concussive yet persistently engaging proposal merging melodic death metal with metalcore and other extreme flavours, the Paris quintet had already nudged spotlights with a previous EP but now is as good as stalking them with Haunted Humanity and its seven tracks of attention grabbing voracious metal.
The Except One sound is not necessarily unique but carries plenty of twists and imaginative moments which command extra attention. The band’s five track debut EP, O.M.N.I. #1, provided a potent introduction though it is Haunted Humanity which it is easier to imagine awakening ears and focus the way of vocalist Estelle, guitarists Junior and Ad’ibou, bassist Boris, and drummer Fanch’.
It opens with Rise and a sonic embrace around the accusing yet coaxing voice of Estelle. In no time the track is a tsunami of intensity and riffs led by the impressing tone, which by now has become throat grazing, and roar of the singer. Grooves and sonic endeavour vein and wind around rhythmic hostility as the track hits top gear but equally a swiftly pleasing invention emerges which sees moments of predatory calm and imposing sidesteps reshape the hellacious assault of the excellent track. Not ground-breaking but perpetually striking, it provides a stirring start to the release which continues with Lost.
The second track instantly grinds upon and nags the senses as guitars lead its invasive character. The dynamics of drums and bass which ignited the opener are more reserved initially but build in tenacity and imposing adventure to match the brewing imagination of the guitars and vocal rapacity of Estelle. Ears and appetite are sold in no time, more so as a passage of evocative calm is shaped by provocative melodic hooks and clean vocal tempting. As the first, the track is bordering irresistible before Schizofriend takes over with its spirals of niggling grooves and hefty rhythmic swipes. A great blend of clean and abrasive vocals again only add to the infectious nature and drama of a track, the band also flirting with post hardcore to add to its arsenal of flavours and textures.
Revenge is a maelstrom of riffs and rhythmic antagonism driven by the ear catching prowess of Estelle and the equally alluring craft and enterprise of Junior and Ad’ibou which ensures one of the more formula sculpted tracks stands out as potently as the more experimental ones such as Elm Street which follows. It is another seeing the band weave and hone a broad array of creative spices and genre flavours into one rabid and merciless incitement. Further coloured by melodic and harmonic imagination, it grouchily bristles as it entices and seduces as it gnaws on the senses.
Personal tastes most greedily take to the tracks which see Except One pushing their imagination and undercurrent of diversity the most, Disease another where a host of styles get entangled as eventfully as the results snare ears and pleasure. As much as that merging of flavours brings the band’s songs alive so too does the vocal variety which blends to captivating effect and the moments of unpredictability that at times just does not go far enough.
Completed by the barbarous and simultaneously evocative exploits of 7even, the hellacious charm and captivating tempest of Haunted Humanity leaves satisfaction bursting at the seams. The release is a signpost to the potential and already healthy invention within Except One and a sound which may be is not yet unique but has much to suggest it might just be a matter of time before the French band majorly steps from the crowd. With more enjoyable offerings like this along the way though, we can happily wait for the moment.
Haunted Humanity is out now @ https://exceptone.bandcamp.com/album/haunted-humanity
Pete RingMaster 12/04/2016
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