As time goes on, genre hybrids seem to grow more and more absurd, from the likes of post blackened hardcore to symphonic ambient drone, there’s no shortage of ridiculous sub-categories of music to scoff at. However, the label of blackened sludge for French five-piece, Regard Les Hommes Tomber, actually seems perfectly apt. Beginning their musical trilogy with a self-titled release in 2013, the quintet have since gone on to release ‘Exile’ in 2015 and now, five years later, close off the chapter with ‘Ascension’.

Far from marking the end of the band’s trajectory, ‘Ascension’ is the beginning of something entirely new for Regard Les Hommes Tomber. What is immediately apparent about this album is how balanced it is when straddling the line of murky atmosphere and crisp production quality – all too often bands lose their sound to the lure of building ambience, which essentially just means their records sound like a massive shoe spinning around in a tumble dryer with no discernible difference between guitar and bass line. The driving chords and fevered note patterning keeps this an interesting listen from start to finish, while the anguished howls of the vocals add a sinister depth that’s complemented by the ever shifting dynamic of the percussion.

What’s next on the horizon for Regard Les Hommes Tomber remains a mystery – if this is the last album they ever decide to release as a band then they are certainly ending on a high note, however, it would be a huge shame. It feels like there’s a lot left for this band to do and they have currently only scratched the surface of their capabilities. Either way, ‘Ascension’ highlights the important point that their upcoming performance at Roadburn in April is definitely not one to be missed.

(7/10 Angela Davey)