Héboïdophrénie is a form of schizophrenia part of psychoses in psychopathic expression and is one of those band names that you can imagine came well before they had written any music.
“Let us think of something dark, dingy and mental lads, Heboidophrenie you say? What about Wank Spanner? Meat Fuck? Foreskin Snapper? Yes, I know this is a democratic band…yes, OK… I can see I have been outvoted 4 to 1…OK… Heboidophrenie it is”
Obviously, that is a conversation that is just happening in my mind and probably (maybe, definitely) did not happen but it does make you wonder where these names come from. Still, it is not about the band name (it is) but what is under the hood that really matters. So, what to make of these French Death/Thrash/Gore metallers? Formed in Bordeaux in 2010 and with one full length behind them (2013’s ‘Origin of Madness’), this new release see’s the band returning to active duty with what is an interesting collection of songs. Interesting in as it veers all over the place in terms of musical touchpoints. If you took a look at the album cover (yes, I know that’s not important) you would be expecting something along the lines of pure gore/death metal/splatter, employing genre tropes mastered by say Autopsy, Aborted et al. Certainly, the lyrical content does stay into this territory with such genius lyrics as below –
“Take the scalpel and become the butcher. An arm or a leg, no matter as long as she screams with pleasure”.
So far, so gore/misogynistic, and other song titles such as the admittedly comedically brilliant ‘HFC’ (Humans are Fucking Cooked), ‘Hipster Slaughter’ (especially prescient in these dire times of people with stupid beards who eat cereal for dinner as a statement) and ‘Flush the Meat’, tick all the boxes when it comes to servicing this particular genre of music replete also with mandatory samples of screams, torture, sexual shenanigans and general nastiness.
But, as I have found often in recent times, do not literally judge an album/band by its cover (scary lunatic chap, standing in a mortuary with a knife in front of a menagerie of human body parts). Because under the pulsating heaps of masticated corpses on show here (see I can do it too), the actual musical content from Heboidophrenie (such a pain in the arse to type that out every time, surely just copy and paste it?) is actually pretty decent. It definitely has more than a severed foot in the so called Deathcore camp in it’s slower moments, all pummelling drum triggered double bass with a rumbling bottom end that is razor sharp but also manages to groove ever so slightly. It does also have vocals that switch between piggy squeals, to barked deathcore/metalcore. It segues between death metal moments of speed, to a slower thrash flavoured stomp before epic sounded guitar solos’ bring everything back to something more akin to say Whitechapel, Carnifex but with some older Vader-esq moments with Cannibal Corpse overtones. Now that may sound like a band flitting between several musical camps in terms of musicality in the hope of currying favour with a broad base of support, but it works.
It may not be the most original thing you hear this year, but it defies the conventions it employs via their band name, samples, artwork and other scene accoutrements and manages to deliver an album that’s pretty decent. I would, if I were them (which I am not obviously), I would ditch the gore scene paraphernalia that the obviously feel they need (at this present time) and concentrate on the music because that’s the real find here.
(7/10 Nick Griffiths)