The 2000’s brought about a deluge of experimentation in metal. The Meads of Asphodel paved way for the avant-garde movement, but bands like Forest of Stars, Krallice and Isis really brought post-rock influenced black metal to the forefront of the time. Nowadays it’s the anonymous post-metal quintet “Regarde Les Hommes Tomber”, hailing from France, that is riding obscurity’s coattails, as a result of the release of their self-titled debut.
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber (translated to “seeing men fall” in English) formed in 2011 and have released their debut album this year through the French indie label Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions. At first glance the band’s debut is full of pretensions, with full sentence long, emotion evoking song titles, roman numeral marked tracks and overtly bleak, historical cover art. But don’t be so quick to judge (as us metalheads often do), Regarde Les Hommes Tomber isn’t pressed off the experimental assembly line. The debut album drips of ambiance, atmosphere and intelligence. Similar to Chicago based sludge quintet, “The Atlas Moth”, Regarde Les Hommes Tombre injects seductive, drone elements into the LP, that compliment the atmospheric resonance found throughout the album.
The album prefaces itself with an almost funeral doom-like prelude, drawing in the listener at once with a slow, hypnotic guitar riff and a slothful, drowsy drumbeat that brightens the sound, leaving one hooked, about halfway through the instrumental. The band’s strength definitely lies in it’s music, as the vocals introduced in the second track “Wanderer of Eternity” are a bit of a disappointment. Common and a bit “core” are the only words I can surmise to describe the vocals on Regarde Les Hommes Tomber’s debut. The mediocrity in the vocals is quickly forgiven however, on the more climactic track “Ov Flames Flesh and Sins.” The track takes the listener on a gloomy ride through dreamscapes, while still evoking the tortured cadence found throughout the album. Perhaps the true strength of this release is the fervor emoted in the album’s ambient interludes, inducing a certain romance in the listener. Future releases predict an emphasis on this aspect of the band. A great example of this can be found on the title track, a tortured instrumental and reflection of doom, inciting beautiful pain on the unsuspecting listener. Fortunately, the vocals improve throughout the album as well, becoming reminiscent of Finnish doom/death outfit’s Swallow the Sun, especially on the standout track “A Thousand Years of Servitude.” The album concludes itself appropriately with the atmospheric and slightly blackened track “The Fall.”
Though this album can not be called black metal by any stretch of the imagination, as it lacks the coldness and rawness definitive of the the black metal sound, post-metal and doom lovers alike should definitely take note of this release. While not highly memorable, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber is most definitely a worthy listen and notable purchase, if only for it’s ambiance and drone characteristics.
2. Wanderer of Eternity
3. Ov Flames, Flesh and Sins
4. Sweet Thoughts and Visions
5. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
6. A Thousand Years of Servitude
7. The Fall