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Tentation - Le Berceau Des Dieux Award winner

Tentation
Le Berceau Des Dieux
by Chris Hicklin at 01 November 2021, 8:31 AM

It’s not unusual to hear Folk Metal acts singing in their native tongue, but as a general rule of thumb, the Traditional Heavy Metal scene has always skewed heavily towards English lyrics. So with that in mind it is refreshing to hear a European Heavy Metal act singing in their own language, especially when that language is French, surely as poetic and versatile a language as English. Although active since 2012, in that time TENTATION have managed just a single EP and a handful of singles and split releases with other bands. “Le Berceau Des Dieux” (The Cradle of the Gods) represents the band’s first attempt at a full-length LP and is as assured a debut as one could hope for, from a band that has had the best part of a decade to prepare.

Taking aim with an opening barrage of metal is “L’Exode” (The Exodus), a track that is musically firmly rooted in the conventions of the NWOBHM. One of the first things to note is the unusual vocal stylings of Patrice “Darquos” Rôhée, there’s very little grit or grunge to his voice. No high-pitched wails, no guttural growling to be found here, he stays within a narrow set of octaves and delivers clean, carefully enunciated lyrics. The technique of recording the same vocals twice and then combining the takes is often used to cover up lazy vocals, as it is easier to do several average takes than one perfect one, but here it is being used to lend the vocals a spectral, other-worldly feel that is highly effective and atypical for the genre.

The band wastes no time in kicking things up to the next gear on “Le Couvent” (The Convent) which blasts off with a much faster and more aggressive riff, bordering on Thrash, almost. The song seems to be about a group of Nuns that unleash a terrifying demon in their Convent. There’s also a touch of the theatrical at play here, as Rôhée makes a rare break with his preferred style of vocals and delivers a spoken word section over an eerie organ piece and unleashes a sinister laugh that KING DIAMOND would be proud of.

We head back to NWOBHM territory and dip into some Ancient Greek mythology on the chugging, “La Chute Des Titans” (The Fall of the Titans), this song very much has the feeling of 1980s MAIDEN, with its vocalised chants in place of chorus lyrics.  It would be remiss of me not to point out the similarities between “Interlude” and “Nothing Else Matters”. It was the greatest stroke of genius to create a song that revolved primarily around open strings, as in doing so METALLICA created a song that almost anybody with at least one hand and a guitar could make a decent effort at playing, thus ensuring their music would be heard in guitar shops across the land for all eternity. Similarly, “Interlude” makes plentiful use of vibrant, ringing open strings, and the chord sequences resolve in a similar manner in places too. It’s a beautiful piece in any case.

The album makes a little room for something more downbeat on “Baldr,” a track that begins as a windswept ballad before exploding into life halfway through. Lyrically the track seems to be referencing the cremation of the titular Norse god, making mention of his flaming longship, this richness of imagery saturates the album and enhances the listening experience greatly.

More theatrics can be found on the quirky synth driven “L’Enfant De Gosthall,” a short GHOST-like instrumental that serves to set us up for the grand finale, the unambiguously titled “Heavy Metal” where everything we have come to expect vocally from the album is thrown out of the window as they recruit not one but three guest singers to throw down with the band. Patrice Le Calvez (TITAN), Iron Jérémy (IRON SLAUGHT) and Jey Deflagratör (HEXECUTOR) all bring their considerable and distinct vocal talents to bear, treating us to a cacophony of growls, screams, wails, and everything else in the pantheon of Metal vocalists. Combined with the almost Punk delivery of Rôhée’s contributions and some furious rhythm section work from bassist Guillaume “Guix” Pastor and heavy hitter Laurent “Lole” Metivier, it is a slightly lighter and more convivial approach, a perfect way to finish this ambitious work.

Across the whole album the production is pristine and the musicianship admirable. Handling all the guitar duties necessitates a somewhat restrained approach by Guillaume Dousse, his work is not showy, there’s little extravagance in his playing but rather it is clinical and precise without sacrificing any of his abundance of feeling. Will this album change your world? Probably not, it is a glorious tribute to the past with more than enough unique characteristics to prevent it from ever feeling hackneyed or derivative, but it is not attempting to reinvent the genre. I look forward to the next one, let’s hope it doesn’t take another 10 years. Encore!

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. L’Exode
2. Le Couvent
3. La Chute Des Titans
4. Interlude
5. Le Taureau D’Airain
6. Conquérants
7. Baldr
8. Blanche
9. L’Enfant De Gosthal
10. Heavy Metal
Lineup:
Patrice “Darquos” Rôhée - Vocals
Guillaume Dousse - Guitar
Guillaume “Guix” Pastor - Bass
Laurent “Lole” Metivier - Drums
Record Label: Gates of Hell Records
     


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Edited 21 January 2022
 

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