It may have taken French metallers Heart Attack six years to unleash their debut album but the time was well spent honing their rapacious sound as Stop Pretending is one impressive and attention grabbing encounter. Consisting of ten mighty and finely sculpted aggressive provocations, the release instantly marks the band as one with a formidably promising future and an already accomplished and carnivorous enterprise.
Hailing from Cannes and formed in 2007 by schoolmates vocalist/guitarist Kevin Geyer and bassist Flora Capello, Heart Attack with guitarist Chris Cesari and drummer Chris Icard alongside the founding pair has built a strong reputation around the French Riviera through their mass of shows which has seen them play with bands such as Dagoba, Loudblast, The Arrs, Headcharger, Lolicon, Vetha, and Cliche Boys. 2009 saw the release of their Lullabies For Living Dead EP and though it is fair to say the release did not take their awareness far from home you can only suggest that the Apathia Records released Stop Pretending will amend that situation.
The promo labels the band as groove and thrash metal and though you have to agree with both suggestions there are other rich essences of sound ripe for use in their invention. The title track ravages the ear first, its intense riffs a heavy suasion on the ear backed up by the immediately impressive and continuing to thrill drum attack of Icard. Finding its muscular stride with a more thrash laden intent to its combativeness, the song barracks the senses with a tight acidic groove, throaty bass menace, and that already thoroughly compelling rhythm attack of the drums. Vocally Geyer grazes the ear with a strong and expressive delivery, one which reveals its ability to shift tact and attack as the album progresses along its sinewy course.
The adrenaline fuelled impressive start is immediately backed up by the following Face the Music. Emerging from a sample from Gladiator, the track rampages with the artillery of rhythms parading their irresistible might to instantly have knees buckling and a surge of intrusive riffing that leaves the appetite thoroughly awoken. Geyer mixes a death coated guttural attack with his cleaner delivery whilst the strings of Cesari dance with melodic flames trailing from their creative notes and narrative especially in a quite delirious solo. Primarily though the song is another piece of metallic rabidity that seizes and commands attention whilst employing neck and leg muscles in its predacious storm. As with a lot of the album it is fair to say boundaries are not being challenged in originality on the song but it is impossible to dismiss or refuse the craft and potent imagination at work.
The next up Sweet Hunting, which features Dagoba vocalist Shawter, again works its intensive charms on the passions with skilled antagonism and thought, its tsunami of crippling force merging with colourful enterprise. Like a mix of Machine Head, Hatebreed, and maybe John Bush era Anthrax, it is a blistering tempest of sonic danger and temptation, something you can equally apply to the likes of Lazarus and Raging Load too. There is surface chastisement across the album which does at times does blend tracks together if not paying attention but the rewards for that extra concentration are plenty and imaginative as shown by the again stunning guitar work across the first of these two songs and the rhythmic tsunami of excellent which especially makes its successor an incendiary proposition though the guitars again make their declaration openly clear. With the vocals again twisting in another dimension to their incitement the track stands out amongst numerous highlights.
If there is one niggle of the album it is that the fine bass craft and invention of Capello is often in the shadow of the rest of the sound. It is always there and you feel Capello’s presence throughout but sadly not always with enough clarity, though thankfully Down the Way is one song where she is allowed space to shine, and the lady can play as shown on further album pinnacles, 1902 which features William Ribeiro of Moghan Ra, and the scintillating and dirty Wasted Generation. Every song it should be said is a beast of a collision for senses and heart on this album, Thrash Your Neighbour especially savage and memorable, and leave only thorough satisfaction.
If Stop Pretending does as stated lack enough original inspiration to stand as a best of year contender it does stand as one of the better corrosive and inventively sculpted releases, one which for most is one formidable introduction to Heart Attack, a band we will hear a lot more of.
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