Review Summary: If you had any doubt, France can indeed do great metal. Hacride's debut is good enough to prove it. And it is just the beginning.
Hacride has two notable albums in 2007’s Amoeba
and 2009’s Lazarus
, albums with strong personality and exciting, interesting music. But, how good can be their debut album? It is less adventurous, less experimental, less progressive, less “everything”, and yet, Deviant Current Signal
is still a very good album.
Combining a guitar work that reminds a lot of times of that of Pantera’s with a band chemistry reminding that of Tool, the result is a well balanced prog-metal record that is highly enjoyable without pushing too much the envelope. Hacride main concern is less to impress than to show their strengths and capabilities in an effective way. The time for musical density will come later.
Band has it very clear from the beginning that there is no need in rushing things; mid-paced and concise, the album never meanders too much into the progressive field or get too complex. The longer tracks never feel forced and rarely lose the listener's attention, giving the guitar riffs just what they need to fully develop. Guitarist's Adrien Grousset riffs are effective and crystal-clear, allowing the listener to follow their intricacies without losing the whole musical picture. The transitions and progressions are done with musical sense, looking less for impact than for natural evolvement. His classic metal influences are apparent, like the aforementioned Pantera, although less showy: the music is heavy, groovy, exciting, and for the most part, very enjoyable.
However, Hacride's true strength is not based solely on Grousset's skills, but in the organic interaction and contribution of each member; factor that solidifies the best attributes of the band, projecting them to another level. Their capabilities as songwriters are demonstrated in the layout of the songs, that allows each member to find his place in the music, leading to a real collaborative, well-rounded effort (characteristic that will be present in all future Hacride records): Samuel Bourreau’s vocals effectively accentuate the music and give it personality and force, Benoist Danneville's bass support the song's structure and Olivier Laffond 's drumming is varied and tasteful - he never needs to play faster or harder to stand out in the mix.
The album is not without its twists, as there is room for some experimentation and glimpses at ideas Hacride will develop in future releases: alongside Grousset's classic metal influences you will find modern and fresh guitar ideas and effects; on "This Place" you can hear the band playing with some Spanish-like guitars and interesting added percussion; on “Protect” you will find a touch of jazz with a sax successfully integrated, with Grousset echoing the notes with the guitar; they even feel confident enough to put an instrumental in the album's first half.
Hacride will do more spectacular and complex albums, but there is no denying Deviant Current Signal
is a pleasant, refined and surprising debut album that exhibits, even at this early stage, a remarkable talented group of songwriters and musicians that will quickly cement their status in their sophomore Amoeba