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ADX - Non Serviam

Non Serviam
by Daniel Fox at 04 December 2016, 9:13 PM

I’m breaking out my inner linguist, today, with the French Speed/Heavy Metal band ADX. This abbreviation stands for “Acier Doux” which, when translated to English, can mean “soft steel” or “mild steel”; a piece of metallurgical jargon. Why a Speed Metal band would want to refer to themselves as “mild steel” is beyond me, so I can only assume they arbitrarily decided on a metal-sounding (which, incidentally, it is not) adjective-noun and called it a band name… As many are wont to do.

The band, commendably, have had a long history, beginning in 1984, with their first full-length released in 1985. Like quite a few bands who have been around the block, they had a hiatus from 1998 until 2006, before they re-commenced studio work. Since their inception, they have enjoyed a total catalogue of ten albums, with the latest having just been released, titled “Non Serviam”. For us mono-linguist English speakers, the title belies the content as, save the title track, the album’s entire lyrical content and song titles are in French.

“La Mort en Face” follows the compulsory somewhat-epic album intro, and is a heavy, riff-driven track quite reminiscent of ICED EARTH. While the vocalist doesn’t quite reach the high notes, he offers a sufficiently powerful delivery for the song. I’m kind of straining to be complimentary, especially since I cannot understand the lyrics, so to set the premise for the rest of the album; the instrumentation and composition is definitely what’s doing it for me. There are moments in this album, however, where he displays a strong control of vibrato, much like Mark Shelton from MANILLA ROAD. However, in most cases, the masterful guitar work does all of the singing. This band does not play the basic, rhythm-rhythm-rhythm-solo formula that most tend to fall back on. Nay, this band does not merely settle. The riffs are melodic, and the leads are really fucking melodic, and they wail, and they cry, and when the cacophony dies down, the fist pumps resume.

Rolling onto the second track, the band surely know how to make a dynamic album – something that, interestingly enough, does not happen very often. The mix varies remarkably in this song, with a razor-sharp bass tone cutting through the heavy chugs from time to time, adding a serrated edge to the riffing. The vocals are particularly gruff in “La Complainte du Demeter”, and are much easier to get used to and, if you’re feeling brave, sing along to. The title track is a much thrashier number, with venomous vocals (which, unfortunately, sometimes err on the cringeworthy side), but backed up by hyper-technical riffing, and is made incredibly obviously as a true ‘anthem’ track. “L’enigme Sacrée” is one of a couple of standout tracks in the second half on the album, with perhaps a few ACCEPT influenced shining through, alternating between heavy verses, melodic choruses, middle-song solos and all-round glorious twin guitar harmony; true Euro Metal. The track to follow, “Cosaques”, is certainly one of the tracks more dominated by melody, and ventures quite freely into the realm of Power Metal, with a much more colourful vocal delivery and ‘epic’ sounding riffs.

There is a reason this band has been around for over 30 years; they are master craftsmen metallers, perhaps on par with the German kings. While I (superciliously) remain unconvinced of their band name, and their use of French lyrics in this album might be a hindrance to the enjoyment of English-only listeners, it is musically fantastic enough to be worth a listen regardless.

4 Star Rating

1. L'aube Noire
2. La Mort en Face
3. La Complainted du Demeter
4. B-17 Phantom
5. Non Serviam
6. Les Oubliés
7. L'irlandaise
8. L'enigme Sacrée
9. Cosaques
10. La Furie
11. Théâtre de sang
Phil - Vocals
Dog - Drums
Betov - Guitars
Nicklaus - Guitars
Julien - Bass
Record Label: Ultim Records


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