Review Summary: A strong release from a talented female-fronted French metal band
I discovered Kells due to their associations with fellow French metallers Eths
, but their debut 'Lueurs' never grew on me. I enjoyed certain tracks, but found the album repetitive and Virginie's vocals irritating in places.
However when news came out that the band was releasing a new album, I had to pick it up out of pure curiosity. I'm happy to say that, while not exactly the greatest album I've ever heard, this is a perfectly strong and highly enjoyable release. The band's sound has actually changed very little since their debut, but their songwriting has become satisfyingly more open and creative and the production clear enough to make most tracks a pleasure to listen. The vocals here are strong almost throughout, although they occasionally stray into the territory of sounding unnatural and slightly strained. Virginie also provides some rasping shrieks where appropriate, which actually work surprisingly well, such as in the breakdown of 'Se Taire'
The album opens with 'Bleu', a definite highlight, which starts soft but quickly builds up into some nice heavy riffs and soaring vocals. The track evolves nicely and maintains a nice atmosphere throughout, being gentle and heavy and equal parts.
The drums actually play a prominent role in this band, and are actually very solid throughout the release. They are varied enough to keep tracks interesting and prevent the album from becoming bland. The guitars play some nice riffs and aid in creating a variety of atmospheres for different songs, but don't expect anything too technical; you won't find any blazing solos here.
As the album progresses it takes the listener through 'heavy' (Addictions, Nuances etc...) 'catchy' (Se Taire, Que L'heure Temps va Figer) and 'sweet' (Parts of Cristal, L'echo...) but most songs have a mix of all three. Orchestral elements are surprisingly omnipresent and well composed on this album, tracks such as 'Emmurés' use heavy string orchestration to craft an appropriately epic sound in the chorus.
Whether you liked or disliked the band's debut, this album has proven that they have evolved into a much more enjoyable and creative band who will go far if they continue improving at this rate. For those who have never heard of the band before, I would recommend giving this a listen if you are interested in rock or metal (it's hard to categorise, as this rides the borderline of too heavy at times to be rock but not heavy enough to be metal)
As a final note be aware that the band's lyrics are exclusively in French. This shouldn't put you off, but if it does, then it's you who'll miss out on this thoroughly enjoyable album.