Pictured – The Strand of Time

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Review by Jason Guest

That their 2010 demo The Dwelling was named as one of the best melodic death-metal works of that year by French webzine Metalorgie may not mean too much to most outside of France, particularly when there’s so much of the damned stuff available by bands with labels that have a broader international reach. What it does mean however, is that the world of metal is missing out on a lot of music that it needs to hear. And so, with the support of Season of Mist and Klonosphere, Brittany’s Pictured are about to get the kind of exposure that such bands deserve for their latest album, The Strand Of Time.

Marking a significant development in their sound, the album’s aggressive nature is contained within nine tightly structured tracks executed with the concentrated precision of a surgeon. Though highly technical, the accomplished thrash savagery of Niko Beleg and Sebastian Le Bellec manages to maintain as much in the groove and feel stakes with the rhythm section matching their dexterity with as much muscle as they can muster. And with his guttural grunts and laceratingly acidic vocals occasionally taking in a melodic approach, Beleg’s venom-laced vocals add that edge to the tracks that makes them that much more abrasive. That the production is outstanding means that Thomas Coïc’s drums and Sylvain Coïc’s bass lend the tracks the low-end weight they need. It also means that the hard work that this rhythm section has put into their respective lines is audible and instead of suffering the fate of many a rhythm section of being overshadowed by the guitarists, their musicianship can be appreciated.

The Strand Of Time may be generic in some respects and Pictured are up against some pretty stiff competition from more established bands of this ilk, but this album shows that they can hold their own. This deserves to put this French mob among the masses. Check it out.

7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Another
  2. Metal
  3. Howling Forest
  4. Black Bile
  5. To Hell and Back
  6. Curses
  7. The Dwelling
  8. Stranger
  9. The Strand of Time