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Henriette B - Tales of Reality Award winner

Henriette B
Tales of Reality
by Ofer Mashiach at 08 September 2016, 6:07 AM

I must admit, Metalcore is that one subgenre that I had a hard time to catch up with. Of course, being an attentive listener, I've never rejected anything outright but nevertheless, failed to see the appeal of this niche. Occasionally I could find elements that aligned with my understanding of metal music at large, but these have been spurts and the overall patterns and aesthetics had me ducked, not letting it go through me, but rather fly over my head.

And then I listened to the talented Swiss five-piece band that is HENRIETTE B.

Having released their debut EP, "Red Dawn of Humanity", in 2014, these gifted musicians have continued to work hard in the studio and perfected their style with the current EP, "Tales of Reality". And what a reality check it was! Not being familiar with the previous efforts of these lads, it hit me by surprise, pushed me out of my comfort zone and I got hooked immediately. It finally dawned on me; this is the face of metal in the mid-teens of the 21st century. These guys know that they are doing. Unlike some other bands I had the opportunity to listen to, the musicianship is superb. Each song is well crafted, evolving gradually and invoking various feelings of awe, strong interest, and I dare say, elation.

Each song has its own character; they all sound cohesive and never seem to follow a certain formula. The album is abundant with intricate riffs that, even though they are highly technical, they add artistic value and are not there just for the sake of showing off technical skills. I was intrigued by the overall atmosphere, which mirrors well the lyrical themes of the album; at times eerie, at time straightforward, and sometimes even other-worldly, the kind that might be associated with deep-seated pondering of our very existence. The drumming is versatile, ranging from slow drumming to blast beats, well supporting the excellent riffs.

As a final comment, the only drawback in this release is the vocals. They sound flat and one-dimensional with slight variations, if any. They seem out of place when pressed against the background whirlpool created by the instruments. This discordance had me exploring their 2014 release, and much to my surprise, I discovered much more versatile and dynamic vocal approach. But since this release is so strong, in terms of musicianship and originality, rather weak vocals can't poop the party. By now, I'm a fan.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Utopia
2. Face or Flee
3. The Other Side
4. Visions
5. The Mistakes We Made
6. The Hidden Kingdom
Ian - Vocals
Vinche - Guitar
Thierry - Guitar
Fabien - Bass
Fabio - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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