Zapruder – Fall in Line

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It may be titled Fall in Line, but the debut album from French band Zapruder does everything but that with its rigorously unpredictable and exhaustingly diverse sound. The release is made up by a collection of tracks which are as distinctly different from each other as they are united in brewing up intensely compelling and experimentally fiery landscapes. It is devilish and seductive, mischievous and aggressive; a release which confuses and ignites the imagination across its explosive length but ultimately leaves ears hungry and emotions basking in a unique challenge.

Hailing from Poitiers, Zapruder swiftly set about creating new propositions from fusing the likes of mathcore, noise, and post-rock amongst numerous ingredients. First release, the Straight From The Horse’s Mouth EP, was unveiled in 2012 and made a potent mark in drawing attention towards the quintet. Recorded with and mixed by Amaury Sauvé, the mastering done by Sylvain Biguet (Birds In Row, Trepalium), this well-received EP brought forth a creative template which has been pushed and explored to enthralling lengths by Fall in Line. Live the band has similarly risen in stature and acclaim, sharing stages with the likes of Kruger, Celeste, Cowards, As We Draw, June Paik, Offending, and Betraying The Martyrs. Now the also Sauvé recorded and mixed new album, with mastering this time taken on by Rob Gonnella and Nick Zampiello, is ready to draw the hungriest spotlight upon the band, one it is hard to see them missing out on such the creative alchemy within Fall in Line.

Out through both Apathia Records and Hipsterminator Records, the band instantly awakes ears and attention with the raw and corrosive opening to We Are Orphans. The first track is an immediate squall of sonic causticity and rhythmic predation, the guitars of Etienne Arrivé and Quentin Cacault roaring and chugging for a magnetic lure before the scathing vocal tones of Isaac Ruder erupt with searing antagonism. It is a harsh and gripping mix, especially with the throaty bass bait of François Arrivé aligning to the rhythmic antagonism of drummer Romain Fiakaifonou. The track at this point is hardcore and noise fuelled but already igniting intrigue with its emerging startling twists and warped grooving. Well into its assault, the song’s body is a delicious tangle of spices and ideation, every aspect unafraid to venture into unexpected explorations though the blunt force and raw energy of the song never waivers. Teasing melodies and blistering scythes of guitar only increase the potency of the turbulent maze as the song moves through a slightly more placid and reflective passage before closing out in a scorching finale.

The following Cyclops is bred from the same raucous template initially, guitars and vocals a scarring tempest punctured by just as hostile and disorientating rhythms. The track like its predecessor has a definite essence of Coilguns and Fall in LineKunz to their ferocious touch, but also as warped infestations of noise and melodic toxicity worm under the skin of the song and the listeners psyche, hints of bands such as Destrage and Kabul Golf Club play with thoughts. Persistently dark and imposing, the song begins reeking of delicious evocative sax and clarinet wails through guest Clément Beuvon, whilst coarse melodies add to the emerging colour and expansive depths of the thrilling track. It is a glorious examination of the senses and thoughts, one soon surpassed by the brilliant Modern Idiot. Another kind of beast entirely, the song buzzes around ears straight away with a jazzy sonic blistering and rhythmic juggling before exposing its venomous intent and malevolent contagiousness. Grooves swell and spin within the intensive tempest, breaking free to sculpt an almost deranged revelry of charm and mischief within the still lingering oppressiveness of the song. Post rock, groove metal, jazz funk, and psychotic mathcore are all in the staggering brilliance of the encounter, each seamlessly flirting and twisting around each other for a major pinnacle to the release.

Moloch explores another fiercely intensive landscape, its scenery brutal and emotionally stark but moving towards and evolving into a just as forcibly compelling and potently evocative beauty. The thick texture and atmosphere of the song never relinquishes it’s also smothering agility, thoughts and emotions inescapably wrapped by the almost dystopian touch of the track’s climate. As all the songs on the album no matter their brutality or charm, there is an infectiousness which is captivating and commanding, as shown by the riveting and sultry instrumental Delusion Junction and the cryptic ingenuity of Doppelgänger. The first is a jazz kissed smouldering of elegance and searing beauty whilst its successor is a hellacious stomp of inhospitable and addiction sparking genius. Grooves swing with salacious appetites whilst pungent rhythms stomp with irreverent urgency, The vocals are also unbridled in their ravenous intent, but it is the manic flames of sax which holds the key to making an outstanding song into a classic one. With the discord lilted ingenuity which marked out Essential Logic sounds in the eighties, the sax of Beuvon flirts and swaggers with a ridiculously captivating groove all of its own, in turn seemingly to spark an increased playful and dramatic vaunt in all elements of the track.

From that stirring peak the album turns to another right away, the heroic stroll of Monkey On My Back explosively igniting ears before erupting into a bedlamic storm of rebellious rhythms and psychotic guitar revelry, all grazed by the scarring intensity of the vocals. The song is a furnace of contagion and disorientating enterprise, but again one not content to risk the listener getting an understanding and expectation of things in motion as it falls into a black pit of sonic anguish and rhythmic stalking. As the album, the track needs plenty of time and attention to reveal all its depths but rewards with another major twist to the release.

The radiance of the melodic croon that is Loquèle is just as wrong-footing as the bedlam within the songs before it, its unexpected and untainted beauty a relatively smooth emotive flight within a shadow coated ambience. With equally clean and unclouded vocals from this time Cacault, the track feeds an already thoroughly greedy appetite for the album, as does the closing Je Ferai De Ma Peau Une Terre Où Creuser. A blazing final hoarse roar, musically and vocally, the track is a post hardcore/post metal journey through raw and climactic emotions and sonic terrains. It as the previous track cannot match the heights and might of the songs before them, but each show a passion and majesty to their impacting enticement that only means the album ends as impressively as it started.

Zapruder tests and make demands right across Fall In Line which means they will not be for everyone, but for all with a taste for experimental and intrusively inventive explorations, they are a proposition which should be hastily sought out.

Fall In Line is available now via Apathia Records / Hipsterminator Records @ http://www.apathiarecords.com/en/albums/fall-in-line-by-zapruder/ or http://zaprudertheband.bandcamp.com/album/fall-in-line

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RingMaster 22/10/2014

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Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers

Plebeian Live w_ Ivo

French extreme metallers Plebeian Grandstand has one of those sounds which is so viciously ugly and vehemently destructive that you cannot understand why it is just so compelling as evidenced by their second album Lowgazers. Consisting of eight mercilessly voracious smogs of corrosive ambience and sonic violence, the release is pure noise toxicity; an insatiable pestilence of sound and hostility but as it suffocates and violates ears and beyond it is also dangerously addictive. To be honest it is hard to say exactly why this is so, though certainly the band craft the demise of the senses with undeniable invention and antagonistic passions, but the bottom line is that it is one compelling scourge and at the end of the hellacious day that is what it is all about.

Plebeian Grandstand have fused the darkest venomous, uncivil aspects of black metal with the equally poisonous core essences of hardcore and sludge metal; the result a maelstrom of spiteful dissonance and ravenous intensity which takes the listener into a ruthless tempest of sonic devastation, leaving them there basking and cowering in a primal wasteland, in this case Lowgazers. The release is the most destructive and bedlamic onslaught from the Paris based quartet yet, pushing intensively further the boundaries and inventive vitriol of their sound as first unveiled on their self-titled EP of 2008. Debut album How Hate is Hard to Define two years later ensured the band make an attention forging scar on the metal scene as equally did the band’s live performances which across the past years has seen them leave waste stages across Europe alongside bands such as Pelican, Horse The Band, Loma Prieta, The Holy Mountain, Off Minor, Intronaut, Celeste, The Ocean, I Pilot Daemon, Carnival In Coals, and Manimal. Two splits with firstly Divider and Bone Dance in 2011 and Cortez the following year arguably hinted at the jaundiced proposition to come but Lowgazers reaches far deeper into the blackest rancorous depths than imagined and could have been anticipated.

Recorded and mixed by Amaury Sauvé (Birds In Row, Calvaiire, Death Engine), the album immediately has thoughts running scared as FRONT NEW 300opener Thrvst emerges from a cold sonic ambience. Its sinister embrace is soon joined by slow sonic chords which entwine their lures tightly around ears before the onrush of barbarous blast beats and a tortuous sonic enslavement of the senses. Vocals viciously squall from within the storm, spewing their grudging malevolence across the unrelenting rhythmic abuse. All the time though there is a caustic groove, for want of a better word, which lays down the fullest contagious toxic bait from the inside of the noise friction consuming air and victim.

It is a crippling start to the album which evolves without real respite or respect for wounds into the following Endless Craving, another rapacious torment which smothers, gnaws, and devours body and soul. As I am sure you have assumed this is not easy listening, not an encounter with any ounce of comfort or mercy musically or vocally, and most like lyrically, though at times only the intensity of the delivery and surrounding fury is a clue but you can safely assume these will not be tales of love and golden fields. The track rages and ignites every rabid muscle and raw breath within itself for the nastiest rewarding exploit.

Whether it is an accumulative effect or simply the greater brutality of the songs, both Flail in the Bliss and Lowlifer put the listener under the strongest examination yet on the release, the first an inharmonious swamp of inventively cast malice and the second a synapse searing cacophony of vocal and emotional pain within an equally tormented furnace of mentally permeating sound. It has the senses ringing as it fades into fluid transformation into the ambient noise bred Relief of Troth. It is hard to call it an instrumental as the piece is more a pass over a caustic wasteland with hazardous shadows and sinister breath.

    Svn in Your Head mentally burns from its first acrid note; slowly unveiling an intrepid malignancy of sonic enveloping which stalks and invades with a doom spawned energy and sludge thick animosity, never relenting in its prowling weight of provocation and heavily leaning sound. As all the tracks, and album come to that, whether enjoyment comes into the equation is a debate for each to ponder but once more there is a persistent temptation which infects for a lingering need to suffer more, a pain both Aimless Roaming and the closing exploration of Mvrk Diving are keen to offer. Their individual enmities score and deplete the resistance of body and emotions even further bringing the album’s most inhospitable alienation in its conclusion, though again with riffs and rhythms horde like aggressors and lethal hooks the deepest transgressor it is hard not to want more.

Released digitally March 31st and as a 2 LP release via Throatruiner Records on April 10th, Lowgazers is a chaos hard to endure and ultimately survive intact against but a merciless adventure from Plebeian Grandstand that it is easy to recommend to those brave enough to face its discordant conflict.

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8/10

RingMaster 30/03/2014

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