EthsI doubt I was the only person who was rather surprised to hear that singer Candice Clot had decided to call it a day and leave Marseille based heavyweights Eths. The band had not long since released excellent album III and had been busy touring on the back of it but the decision was made and due to those age old ‘family and personal’ reasons she is gone. Now Eths have always been an odd band for me as it takes one hell of a lot to get me listening to metalcore, which is essentially their style. However already being partly awed by them musically and by Candice’s brutal vocal stance an encounter live (supporting Christian Death of all bands) saw to it that I was somewhat blown away by the total dynamic on stage. With the front woman leaving I thought that was pretty much it for the band, they would either go on to something completely different or perhaps get a male singer and move towards blandness. They were helped out by the equally impressive Kells singer Virginie Concalves live but she had her own band. This is where new singer Rachel Aspe came into the picture apparently having wowed judges and audiences with her beastly vocals on France’s biggest talent show. This release is basically a showcase proving that Eths are very much moving forward.

This showcase is backed up in three ways. First we have a brand new song ‘Ex Umbra In Solem’ which starts with a sweet vocal caress before bouncing in like a juggernaut with beefy bass sound mighty roars and gravid growls. It’s definitely a song that sets out to illustrate both sides of the coin as the catchy chorus is sung in a sweet, clean fashion but backing it up are layered howls giving the impression the singer is speaking in tongues. There are several styles adopted here and musically it’s suitably brutal and harmonious. But you may think it’s all fine with studio trickery at hand so next we get three live tracks featuring Rachel in Paris last October. Samantha has venomous throat shredding roars from the off and the muscular musicianship and leaden riffs remind why I gave this lot the time of day in the first place. It’s a short sharp display of butchery before Bulimiarexia is similarly spewed out with those recognisable guitar chops and vocals that one can only think do sound remarkably similar to the old singer moving again through several styles. The lady isn’t finished yet and just in case you were wondering about the similarities we have three tracks from III redone with Rachel on vocals pretty much shouting out “yes I filled your boots” in the process and I am sure fans of the band and those who have the album will enjoy checking out the new versions.

So statement backed up I am sure it won’t be long before work is started on a new album and the band embark on a heavy touring regime perhaps getting more attention abroad in the process. It ain’t dead until you hear the new lady sing! Indeed.

(7/10 Pete Woods)