23 November 2015
Mass Hysteria - Matière noire
Even at this time of year, we still have time for another round of cover roulette here at ATTIWLTMOWOS!!!! This review is coming mainly due to that image above - as regular readers to this blog will know, I do like to review albums based on the strength of a cover and this is the latest edition to that pool of music. Coming from the beautiful city of Paris, France we have the band Mass Hysteria. Formed in 1993 they have been gaining attention in their homeland, but I will be honest and say this is the first that I have knowingly heard about them. To say I know much about the French metal scene is a little far from the truth as well, but it is nice to hear another act this year after hearing the beautiful French based artist Sylvaine. The main reason for this review though is that beautiful artwork, the person covered in oil (or black paint - I've not made my mind up about that one to be fair) is a striking image in anyone's eyes. Now as I am not fluent in French, I will be using a translation website for the lyrics; so let’s see how this album is as striking as their cover.
Starting the album is "Chiens de la casse" which is either translating as "Dogs Case Sensitive" or "Dogs of the Brain" (I apologise to Mass Hysteria here - the internet is not always a reliable place) which starts with some sinister strings and then goes head first into a massive riff that grabs your attention straight away. On translation, the lyrics seem to be about the anger of youth who are wanting to be let loose and gain their independence, it is a statement which the youth have cried out for years and is always past on to the next generation. It is a strong opener which grabbed my interest straight away, it really does not need to be translated to be shown to be an amazing tune and that main riff is just plain dirty - love it. "Vae Soli!" is next (I think this translates to "Only Woe!", again the interlink is being really unhelpful) and I cannot tell you what the lyrics are about as there are none out there. Anyway, I can tell you that the song itself starts off with the sound of a child's xylophone being used and then comes a riff that would make a Rammstein song a top ten hit around the world and it should propel Mass Hysteria up to similar levels if there is any justice. It is a great song, the guitars sound huge, the drumming is manic and the bass/keyboards are nailing it as well. I wish I could translate those words, but even without that information I find myself falling under the charms of this song. The third track is called "Vector Equilibrium" which keeps up the pace as if the devil himself was in pursuit of the band. Once again I cannot find a translation for the lyrics, but the music speaks for itself once more. If this band was from America, they would be ruling the metal world - seriously this song has a kick ass solo, the different dimensions used in each section, those riffs which drop with such power, the choir keyboard used throughout the song is all fantastic - it just smashes into you and you want to play it again and again.
The fourth track "Notre complot" ("Our plot") starts with a sample of a female voice in a crowd taking about someone pacing them self and then the band drop a riff which leads with a guitar tone I have not heard since the System of a Down song "A.D.D." before morphing into an industrial/nu-metal nightmare vision which reminds me of the sound from the first American Head Charge album. This band do not know how to do subtle, but when it sounds this good quite frankly they do not need to know it. It is a good song, but the ending is a little sudden for my tastes. "L'Espérance et le Refus" ("Hope and Denial") follows on and I have all but given up on trying to find the lyrics at this point. This song is another that reminds me of other bands (Rammstein once again), which is a bit of a shame as it sort of detracts me from the band and almost places my focus on an unrelated act. But the song does enough to keep you engaged and the band still sound as tight as bolt. It is just a song that sounds as if it has been done before, played very well just also very familiar. "Tout est Poison" is the next song which means "Everything is Poison" and this song makes the hairs stand on my neck, it is the right level of noise, massive riffs and pace to engage you for full length of the song. It swirls around and give a feeling like you are part of a machine going through the gears. It is a great number, actually it is one of the best of the album and they have all been of a great quality. "L'Enfer des Dieux" (translates to "Hell Gods") starts with a military style beat and the choir synth sounds again and you feel you are on a treadmill being dragged towards the flaming pit, with no hope of escape or rest bite (even if you wanted it). It is a strong sounding number which is played very well, but it is one that does not feel as solid as other song on the album. Not bad, but not great either.
"À Bout de Souffle" (which either translates to "Breathless" or "Out of Puff") is another song which I struggle with, it is down to the similarity between songs at this point and this is something that I find in most industrial albums. It is well played once more and if it came on during a random playlist or at a club, I would be down the front moshing like a good 'un; but on this album it is a little bit of a filler track if I am honest. "Matière Noire" (translates to "Dark Matter") is the title track of the album and it brings everything back on course. Starting with a sample of some sort of military campaign, the song just brings a little bit extra to proceedings and there is a few changes which have been lacking from the last couple of songs. With one of the strongest riffs and vocal performance of the album, it just smashes you to a pulp, chews you up and spits you out. It could start a fight in an empty room and it all sounds like it will be a massive anthem for them. The penultimate song is called "Plus que du Metal" (translates to "More Than Metal") which sounds more electronic than metal, hence the title. I am guessing it goes back to that rap style that was mentioned when I was reading up on the band and it has a solid nu-metal style to the song. It is a decent number that at least sounds slightly different to other numbers on the album. It is not the most amazing song on here, but I find myself still enjoying it never the less. The end song is called "Mère d'Iroise" (translates to "Mother Iroise") which starts with an ominous keyboard sound, it soon give way to that standard industrial/nu-metal that has been the main focus of this album. It is a slow number comparatively to end the album on, it does not burst out of the blocks and takes its time to reveal itself. It is a good song, but it does not feel like an ending song if I am honest.
I like this album, it is a solid metal release which is not in my native tongue but the music transcends languages. They sound like a tight unit and they have made an album that is very interesting sound to the metal/industrial world. However.... however, it does have the thing that quite a lot of industrial music has and it is has very little in the way of variation to the tracks. This is a blessing and a curse really for me as I love the sound, but a little bit a flavour to the songs would have been nice. It is still a very good record and if you like your industrial to have a metallic flavour, you will probably like this record.
7 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out
Top track - Vae Soli!
You can purchase either the digital version of the album or the import from Amazon here
You can follow the activities of Mass Hysteria on Facebook here
You can stream Matière noire on Spotify here
You can stream Matière noire on Deezer here
You can stream Matière noire on Tidal here
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