Plebeian Grandstand
False Highs, True Lows


3.0
good

Review

by Arche USER (86 Reviews)
August 13th, 2016 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Volatile, sadistic, impenetrable - and a little bit hard to get on with.

False Highs, True Lows is a maelstrom. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with the Toulouse band’s previous output, as both 2010’s How Hate Is Hard To Define and 2014’s Lowgazers showcased their relentless approach to blackened hardcore; however, their third full-length is different in the sense that most of the hardcore elements have been toned down, or removed completely. Adrien Broué’s vocals are as tortured as always, most frequently manifesting themselves in either an anguished howl, or a growled, seething monologue. Simon Chaubard’s layered guitar work sounds straight out of the catalogue of Deathspell Omega – dissonant arpeggios jangle and dance with Ivo Kaltchev’s unremitting blast beats, creating an evil wall of noise that triggers the sadistic part of the brain. In short, at least in theory it’s everything we can expect from following Plebeian Grandstand’s evolutionary trail – fast, utterly lightless, and with a heightened emphasis on the atmosphere one can create from black metal.

However, this increased focus on their blackened elements has come at a price. While Plebeian Grandstand’s output has never been particularly easy to digest, False Highs, True Lows has precious few moments that are memorable post-listen. Ivo Kaltchev’s blast beats, while undeniably impressive in both their technicality and stamina, have the dynamic range of a vitriolic child, going from 0 to 100 to 0 again with very little in between. Chaubard’s guitars, while again technically fascinating, simply lack the warped tremolo-picked hooks that dominated their first two releases, and there’s only so long the aforementioned sadistic part of the brain can wait for something more tangible before it goes wandering. Indeed, False Highs… is the kind of album that feels like a world-beater for the first ten minutes or so, and then slowly, gradually, becomes a slog to get through. Where this approach is eventually challenged during ‘Tame the Shapes’, with slowly building guitars forming a truly chilling atmosphere, it feels like a breath of fresh air; or at least, it would do if it didn’t continue, largely unchanging, for five or so minutes, before yielding to effectively as things were before.

Assuming that the French quartet’s brief to themselves was to make the most unforgiving, heavy record that they could, it’s undeniable that they’ve succeeded. In short blasts, it's is a technical black metal lover’s wet dream, and on a song-by-song basis, there’s really not a huge amount to complain about; unfortunately, as a package there simply isn’t enough notable to make relistens all that appealing. False Highs, True Lows is a maelstrom – and, like a maelstrom, it’s hard to tell where you stand when you’re caught in it.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
August 13th 2016


5651 Comments


Honestly, writing this saddened me as both How Hate Is Hard To Define and Lowgazers are, in my opinion, amazing albums. Maybe I've been a bit harsh, but I really couldn't click with this despite my best efforts. Still, it's not awful. Corrections, suggestions and whatnot as always welcomed :] Name your price download here - https://plebeiangrandstand.bandcamp.com/album/false-highs-true-lows

Maco097
August 13th 2016


2999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not a bad review. Band is decent but if I really want this kind of BM I would just listen to Deathspell Omega.

Archelirion
August 13th 2016


5651 Comments


Yeah, basically. This feels a little bit lifeless, and not in a good way.

iloveyouall
August 13th 2016


6319 Comments


how hate had one or two decent tracks, but the last two have both been shit imo

ZippaThaRippa
August 13th 2016


10484 Comments


Based on the name I thought this band was indie pop or some shit

ZippaThaRippa
August 13th 2016


10484 Comments


Color me surprised

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2016


11680 Comments


Really glad this has a review. I need to spin this again, because as you said, not a lot of it sticks other than a general idea of that it sounds like. It's certainly no Lowgazers, but it's solid enough, it just ends up being pretty middle of the road due to the lack of variation.

Anyway, great review as always man, I agree completely too.

hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
August 13th 2016


1099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think i dug this more than most people, but i def understand where the criticisms come from. great review, keep it up

Digging: Inter Arma - Sulphur English

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 13th 2016


25080 Comments


really great review aaron


don't know why i've never checked these guys out

Digging: Lord Snow - SHADOWMARKS

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2016


11680 Comments


Lowgazers is where you wanna start bro, that album rules

Archelirion
August 14th 2016


5651 Comments


Thanks guys :] Their first has got a tinge of the 1990s metalcore sound about it, blended with BM - it's pretty damn fantastic too. If you do check them out, as Scuro said, you want one of the first two first at least.

Flugmorph
August 14th 2016


20869 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thx for reviewing this

Digging: La Dispute - Panorama

botb
August 14th 2016


12836 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really enjoy this record but the really long track could have been so much more. This has some of their best material as well as some of their most dragging and uninspired.

botb
August 14th 2016


12836 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also, how hate is hard to define is where you want to start are you joking, that album is incredible. they just really came into the blackened influence more on lowgazers.

Tyler.
August 14th 2016


16667 Comments


Jammed the first few songs. Paused it got a minute and forget to ever listen to it in full. Didn't grab my attention sadly

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2016


2976 Comments


pos'd, great write-up. I liked this album, but that is about all I can say.

"This has some of their best material as well as some of their most dragging and uninspired."

basically. sounds like a band trying for the "mature" approach, whilst compromising a lot of what made them great to begin with.

EvoHavok
August 15th 2016


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another rad review, Aaron!

Archelirion
August 15th 2016


5651 Comments


Cheers guys! ^-^

teamster
August 18th 2016


4034 Comments


Band is really great - thanks for the review

deezer666
September 9th 2016


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Almost forget this came out. Span again. Utterly forgettable which is a shame as previous stuff was the shit.

Digging: Waste of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis



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