Hit me harder with compassion!
-- The Great Procession --
|■||Post neo metal|
|■||Mister XXX||Other things|
Review written by David Hardy.
What could it be?The Great Procession is a band that hails from France, it's fucking punchy, and if you put it on the images of the current demonstrations and CRS charges, it could be a 100% French report... well, I'm getting a little carried away, but you can imagine that it's heavy stuff.
So the question you will ask me and rightly so is: "What kind of metal are we talking about here? Well, it's something that officially oscillates between post-rock and post-neo metal... well, with that, we don't really know more, because personally I would say it's something between doom and deathcore... does that give you an idea?
After having asked some information to guitarist Etienne I could learn that the lineup was in full change. So, yes, of course, the alignments still have to be made, the periods of departure and arrival are often a decisive moment for the artistic orientation.
So let's go and discover The Great Procession and their eponymous album.
" Throw me to another sun" .... Fuck you, what da bass leading!! Let's be clear, this track is one of the most aggressive songs on the album, it's particularly well put together with a big low mid and a bass that holds everything together, leaving the more melodic part to turn our eardrums on! Typically we touch a little bit of dark riffing or grunting (with the bass right there to amplify it all) but in any case it slaps the face like an old fat bourbon brought back from a Carolina reaper juice, an ice cube and a twist of lime and a glass of salt. (I'm not a mixologist so I don't guarantee the use of this recipe nor its taste, it's just what this track makes me think of. Use my improvised recipe at your own risk).
The second track "Celestial Star" starts off strong, with the hard-hitting drums causing some good head banging! I find it more homogeneous than the previous one in terms of sound and overall style but on the other hand I don't understand the "brass bridge" in the middle of the song. I understand that there is one for the transition, but its realization remains a mystery! Well, it's not shocking but... well, there could have been better stuff to do here I think. The ending part features a heavy, grinding guitar riff that's quite "in your face!" In a pleasant way.
And then comes the shocker of the eponymous Great Procession album! Stylistically, "Sylvan Cycle" commences very far removed from what we'd already heard from The Great Procession thus far (starting with a rather prog metal intro). And since this track enters without any transition from the previous track it does make for a small shock, but fortunately we quickly find ourselves with a similiar style as was present in the first song. A bass that holds the song's heavy base with an iron hand and everything else that comes to graft on it. Personally I love it, such as during the smart vocal and instrumental explosion during the 1:50 part... the growl which comes just after is too much behind in the mix for me and deserves to be more in front, even in front of the guitar. Around the 3:50 part we feel a little bit of post rock coming... and I'd say yes to that, sir!
"The upper Part of your Universe" starts off very dark and menacing with marching beats and then performs a rather impressive style change towards a more dreamy post-metal form. In fact, one wonders how all that versatility possible in a single 4-minute title. The whispered break, however, is a little weak to my tastes! A small blow of compressor to bring the whole thing up would've been nice. But both parts, minus the interlude, hit differently but equally hard! Bravo! Next up is "Lament of Chimeras" and its almost seven minute runtime gives a clue on the overall style of The Great Procession. To hold a too violent style for 7 minutes straight would be madness for a band as diverse as this one, and so we're on a kinda post rock progression which makes for a very nice album mid-track. A high quality instrumental to make for a well-deserved break. Is it to blur the paths between multiple rock & metal subgenres?
Then comes "No Light for Anyone" gives puts the spotlight on the vocalist Julien. Other than that I've got nothing special to say about this track. In fact, it passes like fine milk! There's a little industrial at around the 3:20 mark (Ministry, anyone?), it's rather frontal and well done! Then, the bass still gives us very beautiful melodies and bases, I do however reproach the bassist on the album a bit for playing frankly too softly, there's not enough incisive. I think a secondary mic on the bass player to capture the attack of the strings could help, but it won't solve everything!
The penultimate track on The Great Procession's first album is "Duality" and gives us back a little bit of vocals in full range and I like that! Julien's voice should also be praised for his full voice singing! This is a track that I like a lot but I can't quite explain why, maybe it has something to do with the rhythm or overall delivery, but it just makes me want to listen to it again and again. Finally there's the lengthy ending track "Annihilation." I like the little break with features an intense duet of guitars and drums with toms that seem to have a depth of 2 km and a skin stretched like a Cuban taking a nap in the sun. It's a nice track, it reminds me of nice things... but I have a little difficulty to understand why this track does what it does because, let's be honest, I do not see what it echoes.
8,1/10 an excellent debut, I'd even say an excellent album altogether! Well recommended if you're looking for something experimental.
In the end what to think of this album?
I almost forgot, what would be the metal subgenre that could categorize The Great Procession? Let's proceed by elimination: I can't compare them to Theragothon, nor to Iron Monkey or Crowbar, nor to Katatonia, so in my opinion we are much more on the metalcore path rather than doom. Yet clearly aren't in the fast tempos, it's not the double pedal at the bottom of the box. The vocals, although mainly guttural also has touches of full voice. In other words, it's not simple to put a subgenre on The Great Procession. Let's say that if you liked "No one is innocent" (Utopia period) but you would like a little more heavy, that you liked Pro Pain. On paper we could talk about neo death sludge melodic metal to properly describe this band's style.
I agree that it lacks solos (even short ones), I agree that some vocal passages could be put forward a little more and I agree that some moments tend to be a little out of place compared to the "fat" of the album, I also agree that there are few full vocals and that this could/should be put forward a little more, but let's be clear... what The Great Procession shows us thus far is that it's a VERY promising for somethingcore with a "in your face you dirty rat!" attitude albeit slower but with a power so raw to kill a hedgehog with an anti tank missile!
Personally I can't wait to hear more from The Great Procession! This is a band that we'll have to keep an eye on because they are in a phase of change, but if the guys how to make the right decisions and find the right members that will fit the style they put forward, the future will look very bright for this fledging act!
My favorite tracks: "Duality" despite a long ending. Honorable mention to "No light for anyone" because of the too delicate bass playing at some points, otherwise, I clearly like it a lot.