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Novelists - C'est la Vie Award winner

C'est la Vie
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 January 2020, 9:18 AM

NOVELISTS is a Prog/Core mash-up band from France…one of the originators of the genre, and perhaps the best example of it as well. Through two prior albums, they unleashed a sound full of anger and hate but also with lovely moments of melody that shine through the darkest of clouds. “C’est la Vie” is their third album and is due for release on January 24, 2020. The album contains nine tracks.

“Somebody Else” leads off the album, with plenty of sparkly guitar melodies and then their trademark Djent rhythms. Clean vocals combine with atmospheric passages and harsh vocals here and there, but the song really shines with melodies. Florestan’s guitar solo shows his prowess on the axe. “Deep Blue” opens with a heavier rhythm and a combination of clean and harsh vocals. The harmonies in the chorus would pierce the veil of any collection of thick, grey clouds. Towards the end the harsh vocals really come through with rage. “Lily” opens with clean guitars and vocals that have a slight edge to them. Then, the harsh vocals stick to your ribs. The harmonies really shine in the chorus. This is one slightly new area for the band, and they do it very well, along with the ambient bridge.

“Modern Slave” features some dark and heavy rhythms out of the gate. This is more of the older NOVELISTS coming through. Harsh vocals dominate the landscape as do these heavy guitar accents. Again, that atmospheric passage following the second chorus is just beautiful. The title track has an expansive sound from the beginning, with delicate guitar melodies and clean vocals. The clean female vocals are unexpected but really bring some beauty to the table. “Head Rush” opens with a heavy and aggressive rhythm and clean vocals. The yin and yang on the album is quite balanced. The harsh vocals are very intense and really cut through the cleans like a hot knife through butter.

“Kings of Ignorance” opens with this spacy sound, leading to heavy guitar accents and harsh vocals. The spacy sound lingers throughout, creating this dark and mysterious ambiance. “Rain” opens with an ambient passage of pure beauty. The hairs on my arms and back begin to stand up, as they let the melody shine through pulsing guitar beats. Some fantastic lead guitar parts really amp up the melodies here. “Human Condition” closes the album, with a slightly more frantic pace and harsh vocals in the verses. Harmonic clean vocals gleam in the chorus, while the harsh vocals are very bitter.

Overall, on their third album, the band has very much found their stride, and honed their sound into what you would expect from them. One thing they did a bit different and very well are the bright moments of melody and the more ambient passages that allow the songs to shine like a star in the night sky. The core of their sound is still very fervent, but that constant push and pull between melody and rage is perfectly done. You are going to love this album!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Somebody Else
2. Deep Blue
3. Lily
4. Modern Slave
5. C’est la Vie
6. Head Rush
7. Kings of Ignorance
8. Rain
9. Human Condition
Matt Gelsomino – Vocals
Florestan Durand – Guitar
Amael Durand – Drums
Nicolas Delestrade – Bass
Record Label: Arising Empire Records


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