Klonosphere Records: Noein + Scarred + Dwail + Checkmate + Lopsided + Hyperdump

1

Klonosphere Records

Reviews by Jason Guest

KlonosphereFrench label Klonosphere Records have long been releasing fine quality music. With a few already reviewed here at MR – Demented, Klone, Trepalium, Pictured – here we take a look at six more releases from the label that prove that France has more to offer to the world of metal than just Gojira.

  • Noein – Infection Erasure Replacement
  • Scarred – Gaia / Medea
  • Dwail – The Human Concert Part 1
  • Checkmate – Immanence
  • Lopsided – Holda’s Grace
  • Hyperdump – Syncretism

While you’re reading this, you can download a free 18-track sampler that includes the bands featured in this article from the label here.

 


Noein – Infection Erasure Replacement

Formed in 2007 in Rouen, Upper Normandy, Noein’s first release appeared in 2010, the EP The Initial Tale serving well to introduce the band’s technical industrial metal to the world and gain them opening slots with Eths and Gojira. With 2013 bringing to us the band’s first full-length, Infection Erasure Replacement, it’s easy to see why. Akin to the likes of Strapping Young Lad, Meshuggah, and Fear Factory, Noein combine dark and industrial atmospherics with their groove-laced industrial stomp. The darkly ominous, almost sci-fi atmospherics give rise to the mechanical beast of opener ‘IER’. A protracted and therefore ambitious opener, when its groove riffs spill over into ‘Liar’s Dream’, the full force of the band’s intentions for the next forty minutes is made abundantly clear. The riffs of Nico, Adrien (guitars), and Cindy (bass) are equal parts razor wire, mechanised mercilessness, and cold calculation; behind the kit is man-machine Sylvestre, his precision drumming bringing heft to the already hulking mass; and while Jenni’s brutal snarls are manic and murderous, her clean and melodic vocals show she’s more than a bolt-chewing death machine.

As melodic as they are massive, with their wall-of-steel sound, Noein’s dynamics are balanced well across this well-structured album. With three telling instrumentals (their titles combined as the album’s moniker) marking a narrative progression through the album, their depiction of a dystopian future dominated by corporate-engineered clones is both chilling and captivating. With such an impressive album, Noein deserve much more attention. Highly recommended.

Noein – Infection Erasure Replacement8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. I-E-R
  2. Liars Dream
  3. Born To Resist
  4. Infection
  5. The Hand
  6. Human Update
  7. Erasure
  8. D-Mox
  9. Destroyed By Fear
  10. Will Live
  11. Replacement
  12. Nick Of Time
  13. The End

Scarred – Gaia / Medea

Luxembourg’s Scarred began life in 2003 and so far have released only one album, 2009’s New Filth Order; four years later and ten years into their existence, album number two has arrived. Usually, the longer bands leave it between releases, what follows is usually (but not always of course) below par, the band having somehow forgotten what it was that made their earlier releases a success. Not so for Scarred. With Gaia / Medea, they’ve managed to land just on the right side of that fine line between success and failure. As with their 2009 album, Scarred have not allowed themselves to be hindered by genre boundaries.

While there are similarities between Scarred and Gojira, they are far from a mere facsimile and have their own well-developed sound. So much so that by the time track three, ‘The Great Pan(dem)ic’ is upon us, it’s clear that Scarred need not rest in anyone’s shadow. Combining thrash riffs with heavy grooves and intelligent melodies, their syncopated, polyrhythmic assault proffers as much creativity as it does substance. Diogo Bastos and Bertrand Pinna’s guitar work is tight and razor sharp, their leads dynamic and work to embellish the intensity of their respective tracks. With Laurent Kessel’s drum work and Jeff Jonas’s bass lines (unfortunately too low in the mix) hammering down in the low end, the chunky grooves and technically-charged riffs are colossal. And with Sacha Breuer’s death grunts and melodic growls at the fore, Gaia / Medea demonstrates a band that have matured significantly since their last album.

Scarred - Gaia-Medea7.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Gaia
  2. Cinder
  3. The Great Pan(Dem)Ic
  4. Psychogenesis
  5. Low
  6. Mosaic
  7. Idiosyncrasy
  8. The Knot
  9. Empire Of Dirt
  10. Medea

Dwail – The Human Concert Part 1

From Toulouse, Dwail’s dissonant dirt is a mass of hardcore filth. Fast, hard, and merciless, with a progressive edge to their sound, The Human Concert Part 1 is an incredible piece of work. With contorted riff after contorted riff and colossal chords and a brick wall sound, it’s hard to believe that Dwail is only a four piece band. Opener ‘A Ray Of Light’ is loaded with disconcerting arpeggios, collision course riffs, and disjointed arrangement, and isn’t about to let you off with anything less than a severe pummelling. The same goes for ‘Under The Bombs’ and ‘District One’, both tracks as unremitting as the other and tightly packed with intense riffs and precise drumming. But ‘LD50’ is where Dwail shine like no other. The first three tracks are incredible, yes, but here, Dwail’s intent is honed to perfection. And as good as the atmospheric ambience and understated momentum of ‘The Human Concern’ is, it’s the erratic (and controversially-titled) ‘Gang Rape’ that will see many bodies atop many an audience. If you are human – and I assume that you are, at least partially – then you should be concerned that you’ve not heard of Dwail before and get hold of this now.

Dwail – The Human Concert Part 18 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. A Ray Of Light
  2. Under The Bombs
  3. District One
  4. LD50
  5. The Human Concern
  6. Gang Rape

Checkmate – Immanence

Paris, France’s Checkmate is a ruthless beast. From the outset, Julian Lebon proves himself a worthy vocalist on a par with the best, his melodic deathly roar as penetrating as it is powerful. Guitarists Fabien Gagniere and Franklin Dumas work well together, the two of them combined into one heaving, multifaceted mass. As is frustratingly common, Simon Cotier’s bass is audible enough to make him out, and it’s the rare occasion such as ‘Blank Page’ that his presence is felt. And drummer Marc-Anthony Marchand is, as you’d expect, machine like. Collectively, Checkmate know what they’ve got and how to exploit it to the full. At over six minutes, opener ‘Days Slip By’ gives a good insight into what to expect from this album: atmospheric arpeggios, carnage-inducing riffs, throat-tearing vocals, and hammering drums tightly bound in track after colossal track. ‘Fake Golden Kingdom’ introduces clean vocals into the mix and a more melodic approach to the songwriting. Opening with the vicious proclamation “I’m the master of myself!”, ‘Invictus’ is a standout track, combining fast paced thrash with slamming grooves.

Checkmate always keep it interesting. No two tracks are alike and all of them bring something different and exciting to the album, their approach to structure and arrangement keeping it interesting and always in accord with the needs of the music. An impressive début and well worth giving a blast… at excruciating volume.

Checkmate - Immanence7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Days Slip By
  2. Fake Golden Kingdom
  3. Invictus
  4. IMA
  5. Moving Backwards
  6. Despite The Years
  7. Blank Page
  8. Fragments
  9. A Maze
  10. By Any Means Necessary

Lopsided – Holda’s Grace

Lille, France’s Lopsided deal predominantly in power and melody, with an emphasis on melody. Their alternative-tinged metal leans more toward the clean and the catchy than it does the moving and passionate, going more for the brighter side of metal/rock than the darker. Whole Nicolas Dumoulin’s vocals stick mostly to the melodic and the emotional, he does occasionally stray into the heavier territories, his hoarse roar adding fuel to his delivery for an impassioned performance. Guitarist’s Christophe Noiret and Stéphane Burlion work well together, playing off of each other to provide some cool interplay and uniting in walls of controlled riffing to exploit their dynamic range to its best. Bassist Yohann J. Bizeul’s lines are innovative, given what he has to work with and Marvin Morelle’s drum work is tight, focussed, and nuanced with enough invention to mark him out as a drummer that knows how to give his band and the songs what they need to make them living, breathing entities.

But – and here’s the rub – Holda’s Grace isn’t a bad album, but neither is it a great one. While it’s comprised of a bunch of well-written tracks that have clearly been given much attention, it’s an album where the musical chances that it provides aren’t taken. It’s got plenty to offer if you like tracks that rock and provide a melody or two to bask in, but if you want an album that pushes those ideas beyond the expected, this isn’t it.

lopsided-applatit6 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. White Dress
  2. For A Black Sheep
  3. Ramparts
  4. Adrift
  5. Gripped By Fear
  6. Madmartigan
  7. Moaï
  8. The Outlet
  9. The Pearl And The Peeble
  10. Sixteen
  11. Another Parallel Road

Hyperdump – Syncretism

Possessors of one of the worst band names in recent history, listening to this EP from Hyperdump (really?) is a game of name the Faith No More track. With vocalist Ws imitating Patton at every turn, he does the band no favours. But then the band don’t do themselves any either. In every song, the chorus from ‘Epic’ could be spliced in and no one would notice the difference. And if it’s not FNM they’re imitating, it’s Strapping Young Lad. They’re good musicians, yes, but this has been heard before. 2012’s Rational Pain was much the same. Like label-mates Last Barons, they are to Faith No More what all those doom bands are to Black Sabbath, what all those groove metal bands are to Pantera, etc etc etc. As a tribute, it’s not bad, but it’d be good to hear what Hyperdump can do.

Hyperdump - Syncretism5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Welcome To My Boy
  2. So Tired
  3. Across A Path Way
  4. Fake
  5. Hyperdump

 

1 COMMENT

  1. […] “ Combining thrash riffs with heavy grooves and intelligent melodies, their syncopated, polyrhythmic assault proffers as much creativity as it does substance”  (Themidlandsrocks) […]

Comments are closed.