There is no genre quite so difficult to nail as Progressive Death Metal. There is a fine art to striking that perfect balance between thunderous, crushing grooves and keeping the listener perpetually wondering what they’re going to hear next. Thankfully, French quintet Pitbulls in the Nursery have done a wonderful job of doing just that with their second full length release Equanimity.
Hailing from the small town of Rambouillet near Paris, Pitbulls in the Nursery are making quite the name for themselves over in Europe, having shared stages with the likes of fellow Frenchmen Gojira and Benighted and Belgian beasts Aborted.
Equanimity is a thoroughly entertaining listen. The ten tracks consist predominantly of intense aggression and frantic speed with acoustic, almost relaxing interludes throughout. Bands such as Gojira, Opeth and perhaps even The Blackening era Machine Head are obvious reference points, along with strong undertones of Meshuggah. Vocalist Tersim Backle showcases his talents brilliantly, switching from powerful growls to clean singing and sinister whispering hisses.
The variety of sounds on pretty much every track on the album is most enjoyable. Tracks such as Soul Bones and Reality possess some fascinating both eerie and trippy qualities to them, making for an infectious listen that has you constantly guessing which direction the song is going to dart off in next. For those who prefer straight up, no frills attached metal, Equanimity has some stonking corkers on it in the form of The Oath and Insiders. Both tracks have a thunderous, speedy vibe to them, think a super heavy version of Killswitch Engage with some funky basslines and knock out riffs.
Despite being a powerful and fascinating album, due to its flirting with clean singing and strong Machine Head feel to it, it will not appeal to those with two feet firmly in the extreme metal camp. Pitbulls in the Nursery are definitely technical death metal, however their sound resides much heavier realms of Gojira than your standard, run of the mill death metal.
Equanimity is a powerful and captivating album that will be an instant hit with any fans of, or even anyone who just appreciates progressive metal. Fluctuating between fast paced, explosive technical metal and trippy, almost relaxing progressive sounds, this is not an album that will go by unnoticed by any stretch. For those who like to be kept on the edge of their seat Equanimity is the perfect album for you.
(7/10 Eilish Foxen)