The Undercurrent

Written by: MY on 21/05/2007 23:27:51

It has always fascinated and bewildered me how a country with the vast size, population and history of culture like France has never ever produced a metal (or even rock) band of any consequence internationally. A few came close...anyone who has an interest in the early 1980s will doubtless have heard of Trust, a French outfit probably best known for writing the song "AntiSocial" that Anthrax famously covered on their "State Of Euphoria" album. Trust's weakness, though, was that their stance was far too political for the time and had a distinctly anti-English angle that prevented it from happening for them internationally. Another band I remember well was OUT from about 5-10 years ago who had a Colin Richardson produced record and a vocalist who fronted the Meathook Seed project that Shane Embury put together a while back. Aside from that, I am really stumped to come up with any other contenders. How can a country that totally leads the way in the house and dance music genres be so embarrasingly off-the-radar in the world of metal? It's not like we're talking about Uzbekistan or somewhere, is it?

Fortunately there is a saving grace for the land of baguettes and philosophy.... They are Scarve, a band who have been simmering away and rising slowly but surely over the past decade. And rightly so, this is probably the best metal band that France has ever handed out to us- a French band that carves its own identity and isn't just content to plagarise others like many of their national compatriots. Following a couple of previous strong records, I've been handed the pleasurable task of checking out the newbie...and it's good. Really good.

Admittedly, it'll only appeal to the fans of the clever and different but I'll put my hands up here and admit that I do fall into that category. There are some of the most insane time changes and riffs here I have ever come across, but it never gets too clever or pretentious for its own good. It just doesn't once get boring throughout the whole record but never takes the baton and runs so far away with it that it ever loses any accessibility. It reminds me musically a little of an old, old Roadrunner band called Cynic but a more refined and listenable model. Infact, this is the only record I have heard so far this year where I have enjoyed every track so much I haven't felt the urge to force my near arthiritic old limbs to reach for the skip button. It even gets better and better as it goes along! Quite brilliant.

Hopefully this will be the band that finally puts one of the largest countries on the continent on the musical map. Something that I would personally love to see, particularly if these guys led the way in the technical thrash genre- a genre that I feel never really produced enough good bands (anyone remember Mekong Delta? If you do please write to me, I'd love to be your friend!). I'd recommend this wholeheartedly to anyone wishing to expand their musical horizons somewhat as it is very, very good indeed.


Download: Imperceptible Armageddon, Fathomless Descent
For the fans of: Cynic, Biomechanical, Mekong Delta
Listen: MySpace

Release date 10.04.2007
Listenable Records
Provided by Target ApS

Written by Dan Turner

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