Sunday 25 January 2015

2014/2015: A Tasty Round-Up On French Stoner/Doom! - Part 1

Just a few years ago the (kind of) scene report which follows would have been much shorter... Indeed, France has a growing scene, sure it still lacks of leaders and too many bands are suffering from the limits of their own (DIY) possibilities (for Live considerations more especially) but it is damn solid in quality and diversity.

The list is of course non exhaustive but here's a round-up on a great part of the most interesting releases that came out of the French Stoner/Doom community in 2014; bands will be ranked in alphabetical order... if I forgot anything that you might think essential, you can still leave a comment in the dedicated section (that's its main purpose) thanx ! anyway I hope you'll discover some great stuff here and support some of the contacts linked...

A VERY OLD GHOST BEHIND THE FARM came back in early 2014 with "la came crude" (after a debut album and a split with Wheelfall), a concept album consisting in a single song of 45 minutes ! Still oscillating between blackened sludge and infectious stoner/doom, this 2nd offering marked a big step forward in terms of composition... this album is definitely a masterpiece of gloomy hideous horror !

After a promising debut EP in 2011, BARABBAS took more than 3 years to record their 1st full length "messe pour un chien"... a long process that was definitely worth the wait ! During a deadly hour and 8 songs, the band amazingly improved its punchy Trad' Doom with ominous atmospheres and a solid work on lyrics and refined harmonies... a fantastic release really !

The "sombre Novembre tour" with the magickal Goatess was an awesome blast and saw the saints gaining a lot of fans and confidence... If they come to play somewhere near your door in the future, don't miss their redeeming sabbath !!! hopefully now some label could be interested to release this crushing masterpiece on vinyl... ? meanwhile make sure to visit their bandcamp -

With "chasma hideout", BRAIN PYRAMID released a brillant album last summer... The fuzzy psyched-out Stoner trio signed with Acid Cosmonaut Records and toured France/Spain/Portugal right away... Too bad that Ronan Grall (voc in Huata but playing the role of bassist here) left shortly after because he definitely brought something special to their sound but Baptiste and Gaston will keep things fuzzing on and bring the band far for sure...

Pretty unknown (even domestically, probably because a bit isolated in the East of France -Strasbourg-), BULL TERRIER managed to put out a very interesting debut album with "be like water"... The quintet finds a great balance between southern grooves and psyched-out Stoner Rock; giving especially an above the average place to long twirling guitar soloing, this band's pretty different from any other around.

CONVICTION is the one-man band of Amduscias - vocalist in Temple of Baal (one of our very best black/Death metal bands), there's a great demo on bandcamp to download for free... an interesting homage to the good old gloomy Traditional Doom... assuredly to follow, moreover if the experimented guy finds a line-up to complete new stuff and play live -

FANGE is the new band of Ben from Huata and Baptiste from Brain Pyramid, another new proud of Roazhon (Rennes if you prefer, capital of Britanny) hahaha ! the guys also got ideas when it comes to play some of the harshest Sludge you can think about, eyeing on noise with industrial and even old grindcore hints. "Poisse" their debut EP is sick, dig it !

FATHER MERRIN finally released their debut EP "all is well that ends in hell" and we've got here a serious combo delivering crushing Doom METAL with utter conviction and well digested influences (even if old Cathedral is never too far)... They have a massive metallic sound bathed in gloomy heaviness which takes a pretty impressive dimension on stage !

FORSAKEN PEDDLERS is THE perfect (new) band to get into if you like epic Heavy/Doom Metal, "songs of fate and freedom" is absolutely recommended for fans of Candlemass and Atlantean Kodex... a debut recording of such quality is simply rare -

JACKHAMMER from Rennes is a monster of Metallic groove in the Nola vein, very gnarly with great vocals... They're playing regularly in the western part of France and their 5 tracks EP is a very good introduction to their loud and kickin' sound...

MARS RED SKY 's "stranded in Arcadia" is - with no doubt and by far I guess - the french album that had the more success in the worldwide scene in 2014... This 2nd album is a little jewel where the band's unique fuzz and vocals take a new dimension. The deal with Listenable rds seems to have opened new doors to a band that lives for the LIVE and never disappoints wherever they play !!!

After a long delay, MOURNING DAWN "les sacrifiés" has finally been released in 2014 by Total Rust Rds and it really makes another proof that France is particularly at ease with blackened sounds ! the kind of great band that first suit to Black metallers, then catch doomsters attention with alternatively slow, atmospheric and tortured doomy moods... great work that hopefully should maintain a certain dynamic for composing more quickly new stuff !

PRESUMPTION's EP "from judgement to the grave" is a nice introduction to this young Doom'n roll band from Le Mans that still needs to develop its identity but in no way lacks of faith and energy, that's a name to follow for sure -

SERPENT VIEW comes from Toulon (Mediterranean coast) but their Doom has nothing exotic at all, the instrumental band crushes like rarely these days on our soil ! at times versing on impending sludge/doom, at times more atmospheric with a taste for tribal-like percussions and pagan moods... this really needs to be discovered and hopefully will lead to more sometime this year -

If you're into punchy Heavy/Doom Metal with sharp guitars and a slight epic edge (which could remind the mighty Obrero at times), "The Godless" by STONEWITCH is a refreshing little demo that you would dream of getting from the hands of your postman... musicianship is more than pretty tight here, a great metallic bath into the early 80's metal, that's damn good !

WITCHTHROAT SERPENT consist of long experienced musicians coming from various horizons of the (extreme) underground, if the band reckon an obvious admiration for old Electric Wizard, the guys are playing more tightly than your average new band and perfectly got it for occult and weedy atmospheres... it looks like this band could become something quite important in the near future; find them again in the 2015 section...


ZOMBIE KING four Tracks EP "calling the unknown" didn't catch all the attention it deserved; this female-fronted Stoner Rock band sometimes remind me Royal Thunder, not just for the great vocals.

Written by Steph LeSaux

Part 2 will appear on Doomed & Stoned very soon. Will add link when article has been published.