Ooh matron bare breasts on an album cover, that’s not going to go down well on the record shop shelves! Mind you who the hell buys their albums in the shops nowadays and it is no doubt an artistic statement and hardly exploitative like some of these nasty death metal bands go out to shock with. Eye catching cover aside, just who are Eths, as if you live outside France you may not have encountered them? Luckily I have, as I quite enjoyed their last album Tératologie which came out in 2007 and even managed to catch them live supporting Christian Death and interview the Marseille based band around the time of its release. There is absolutely nothing about Eths that is easy to pigeonhole. In fact when they started out in 1996 named ‘What The Fuck,’ that particular name although not going to win them any subtlety awards was pretty apt. At the front we have the excellent vocals of singer Candice who’s lush and gorgeous vocals can be quite sublime. She is however not a lady who needs backing up by any beast as far as her voice is concerned as she is quite capable of unleashing cadaverous rasps, growls and hisses too and often comes across as quite possessed. Musically the last album had a real nu-metal feel to it but that should not put you off as it was bolstered by a death laden tumult too and this and the deathcore approach has certainly been expanded here on album III, a title that speaks for itself.
The first bar of opener ‘Voragine’ sounds like it has been lifted from A Clockwork Orange theme, which is slightly disconcerting before the song properly and very solidly boots in with muscular drumming and humungous roars. It quickly changes as the vocals go all sweet and honey flavoured, really making you wonder if this can be the same singer. Melody is rich and the song twists and turns drawing you right into its grasp. Although vocals are in French on some songs Eths will be releasing an international version of the album with four English versions of the French songs, which is what I have here. Still like label mates Kells the fact things are in French here does not spoil any enjoyment for me, hell some of those venomous roars are way beyond translation anyway. There is plenty of groove about the numbers as well, the likes of countrymen Gojira would not be a bad reference point as songs like ‘Harmaguedon’ limber up and bounce all over the place with mosh heavy sensibilities. Adonai, is a real standout amongst nine other really good tracks, it was the one that was chosen for a video clip which is honestly as out there as the music itself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7OKJgPuY6M and had me wondering if I was watching a post apocalypse Exorcist or something. The visual elements are backed by both brutality and a to die for chorus.
The solid pummeling of Inanis Venter with ranting stomp laden delivery wouldn’t be out of place on a Slipknot album and would be a good song to drive the disillusioned on the streets as they spill out the estates and riot in the streets of Marseille. You find yourself waiting for a pure ballad but you never get one. For every moment that things do go syrupy the brutality is again quickly enforced. Another album highlight is ‘Sidus’ with heavy orchestral embellishments driving the pace along. The best way to listen to this album is turn it up, the production is excellent and it rages away from beginning to end, each and every song giving you shades of light and dark and delivering a nice firm ass kicking during its running time. As the apocalyptic strains of ‘Anatemnein’ deliver a final judgment it is evident that III is a really good album and one that the band deserve being heard further afield with.
(8/10 Pete Woods)