“Three persons. Three tormented souls. Three happy souls. Three desperate souls. Violence and combat, contemplation and sadness, junction between the ocean and the sky. Mox, Drums and electro, Jouch, Guitar, Voice and electro, and Rico, Bass, Voice. No limit. From Metal to Synthetic music, from violins to Trip-hop. Melody is a leitmotiv, Rythm is fuel. Let’s be Naïve, once.”
If I ever have a message year to year to do with the music industry, it’s to never write it off the year until you’ve heard it all. We’ve just entered April, it’s early days and the music simply speaks for itself. Naïve’s ‘Altra’ is a powerhouse, full-forced record that transcends modern day music in a way few acts dream of. ‘Altra’ has a high chance of appearing in many “Best Of 2015” lists, a world over. The quote above is direct from the band; it’s plastered over their site’s and their fan pages. It sums them up well, a great wall of text. It represents what this French three piece has to offer the hard rock and metal community come 2015. The quote identifies the subtle and obvious contrast, the slight and extreme uses of electronica, even down to the often equally confronting and condensing themes presented throughout the record. The album itself becomes monolithic as you find yourself playing it over and over again in order to find all the hidden gems and routinely favorite parts. ‘Altra’ is an album for the senses, to be enjoyed over and over again.
Sometimes, I wonder simply whether the country an act comes from has anything to do with the quality of music they release. I mean people talk about “scenes” within music, but do they truly understand the fascination with Sweden’s death metal, USA’s Cascadian metal or Norway’s black metal (these are just some loose examples)? France is a melting pot of talent, absolutely brimming with talent, making a name for some of the more (slightly) commercial friendly metal, mixing together some fresh elements. The result is fantastic. At times it’s weird to be so positive about metal. Known for its bleakness, despair and aggression it’s hard to put an optimistic spin on what is great negativity. The genre itself is a demonstration of emotion in all forms, allowing the listener to emerge themselves completely in what ever mind frame he/she likes. It’s ‘how’ albums do this that creates a need for praise, acceptance and leave the listener wanting more.
Let’s talk about the tracks. ‘Altra’ is not a long listen, but it’s not brief either. With the entire of the record clocking in at one hour it’s easy to see why Naïve’s music is so accessible. The album starts strong with “Elevate / Levitate”, while the riff work of (and contender for “song of the year”) “Yshbel” is the equivalent of audio sex. “Yshbel” blends electronica, furious drum passages, even phrased vocal grouping and the best triplet work I’ve heard in years (Kerry King take note) on rhythm guitar. Yes, the album has some longer track times, but I’ve already said nothing here is intimidatingly long. If you can’t handle a well thought out ride of eight minutes (or twelve in the case of the self-titled closing track). When all of this works together the album sounds full, warm, mechanical and practiced. ‘Altra’ is not a strictly metal album, nor is it fully post rock and it certainly isn’t synthetic through and through. Naïve has crafted a masterpiece of sorts hewing together warm and cold, mechanical and real. It’s no hold bar music, showcasing some immense talent. This is an album to be played all year, even the artwork is sensual.
JOUCH | Voice, Guitar, Programming
MOX | Drums, programming
RICO | Bass