So much bands have tried to mix Metal and Techno but very few have really managed to achieve a deft alchemy of the two, without sinking into an inaudible mess or giving up one or the other. We do have a few disseminated tracks which are either experiments (Archetype by DARK TRANQUILITY), jokes (Pogo Power by EXPLICIT FRENCH TERROR), or bonus tracks (Encore from ETHS) but bands that have dared of fully delve into an undertaking fusion are very uncommon.
On the Metal side, we will remember MOSHPIT or THE BERZERKER who will have marked their time albeit we will blame the Techno side to be reduced to a plain metronome like 99% of Cybergrind projects. You also have to take into consideration that at the time, Techno was far from all nowaday’s flourishes where only the kick matters. On the other side, only MICROPOINT has made an attempt with Exit Mankind to my knowledge. The rest is settling for either remixing Metal tracks (Bodyrock by THE SPEAD FREAK covering AT THE GATES or Cell’z Of Chaos by DFAZE SOUND SYSTEM with SEPULTURA) or by adding a simple riff in the background if you diggy dig in the Splittercore depths. There is nothing really concrete on the Techno side and I still have this constant frustration of not being able to satisfy my two favorite genres condensed into a single line-up.
So what to think of INBLEED? Trio from France and more precisely from Bordeaux, with Kakihara on the turntables, Tao H on the strings and Faceless on the microphone. After put out feelers with remixes before moving on to composition on a few EPs, here they are with their first album Ashes Of A Falling Empire under the Hardcore France label. And what is the national favorite style in terms of Hardcore Techno? Frenchcore, s’il vous plaît (got the pun?).
The label allowed them to open a few doors with, in particular, the featuring of distinguished guests on some tracks and a superior mixing quality where ‒ unlike The Horde, their previous release ‒ the mix is cleaner where we clearly felt the software swap between the Metal and Techno parts. This is also what will clearly lean them towards the Techno side, in which INBLEED is categorically a Frenchcore band with Metal elements and not the other way round, in the sense that the songwriting is in Techno’s advantage. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with that aspect, the production is neat, the beat is good, the kicks are powerful and the « razzor effect » is still so prone to pogo.
That being said, the issue with Hardcore Techno remains the repetitiveness which, despite breaks or switching to virtual drums, won’t prevent us from always listening to that same tireless kick. INBLEED will be no exception to the rule by keeping a classic 200 bpm tempo. I would have appreciated a few variations by pulling towards the Speedcore to support the fastest paces, Breakcore for the more technical parts, or move towards a Doomcore in order to insist on a heavier, slower passage, to break this monotony and to bring smart variations.
But there is something that INBLEED is truly skilled and it is about crescendos. Although it is always the same kick that comes back again and again, it is sufficiently well draft that we always want to crush some cinder blocks ‒ very effective on Little Boy. These crescendos play in the dynamic range of the beat and then explode, so you know what to expect when it goes. We will find in a more disparate way some kicks with an « upside down pattern » like on Before The Dawn, which consist of having a jumping feeling rather than a blow effect which brings about major change (if someone knows the exact technical term). More rarely ‒ especially on Afterglow ‒ we will have some sforzandos with drums and kick layering giving the feeling of using concrete blocks instead of sticks by having this classic but neat deflagration effect when it comes to kick n’drop.
Among others, the Techno side remains mastered for the whole. It must be said that the three friends have a better knowladge of this scene. Now, what about the Metal elements? Everything is exposed under We Lost Our Way, the opening track, which begins with a classic intro of the genre before switching to the core of the band. We find a Melodeath grunt-like voice, even Nu metal for the sung parts, recalling Corey Taylor who must undoubtedly be one of the main influences of Faceless. Although a skilled grunt screaming, there is work to be done on the lyrical part which can make you sometimes cringe while the chorus are generally pleasant and catchy.
The guitar will, meanwhile, support the frenzied pace of Frenchcore while remaining ‒ too ‒ discreet but vicious. The riffs are straightforward, lacking in variety and may sound amateurish. Listening to the performance of Benjamin Baret (NE OBLIVISCARIS) on Before The Dawn is enough to realize the difference. On the other side, is it necessary to have a neckjob? Absolutely not, the genre can be pleased with Nu metal riffs, rhythmic being mainly carried by the beat.
Can just adding a guitar make music Metal? Clearly no. This must also be felt in the songwriting. For instance, take DEVOUR who, although making Dubstep, transcribes his Metal influence using electronic drums instead of computer music for his percussions. Suffice to say that the end result is as much more Metal than those who just scratch three chords while hiding behind a basic kick, like 99% of Cybergrind projects. Where INBLEED stands out is through the additional presence of a singer and a songwriting that is certainly Techno but whose Metal influence is sufficiently present to be able to wear the etiquette; and not just at a guitar level.
If you liked MICROPOINT‘s Exit Mankind in 2011, then Ashes Of A Falling Empire is an album made for you since it uses the same codes. However, if your taste is more Metal, go for everything which is J.P. Anderson related (RABBIT JUNK, THE NAMED, SCHIZOID) or Digital Hardcore in general. However, it would be a shame not to take the necessary step back and have the curiosity to listen to this one in the sense that INBLEED has a real desire to ally the two scenes and give the best of themselves.
With Ashes Of A Falling Empire, INBLEED shows they have mastered the basics. Although they have nothing more to prove on the Frenchcore side ‒ it’s a fact ‒ they still have to perfect the Metal influence by taking risks and getting out of their comfort zone. The second half of The Horde from the eponymous EP shows the potential of the band to be able to harmonize everything. Well, in a V8 pimped steamroller way. But let’s not be too unnecessarily onerous and not forget that few bands try and especially succeed in this field in an assumed way and even less with Hardcore Techno. Let us acknowledge the effort and the promising result of a band that wants to give so much, to offer something innovative and, above all, top notch.