“IrremeDIABLE” is the ninth studio album from French Progressive Death Metal band MISANTHROPE. Okay, calling them “Progressive Death Metal” is a bit of a stretch, but that’s probably the best tag one can give them without giving out long and confusing descriptions of the band’s genre. From the opening seconds of “Les Retourneurs De Pierres” to the last moments of “LXXIV L’irremeDIABLE”, what you get is an album that grabs influences from Classical, Jazz and Funk, and weaves it into the backbone of Melodic Death Metal. Sprinkle on some Black Metal atmosphere to this strange concoction, and something vaguely resembling MISANTHROPE’s sound should come to mind.
The musicianship on the album is terrific. The guitar work is superb, sometimes going into the realms of frantic Death Metal (“L’infinie Violence Des Abimes”), to some Progressive/Power riffing in “Le Maudit Et Son Spleen” to Hard Rock on the intro of “1857”, it’s extremely diverse and dynamic. The bass is also played in most excellent fashion. It sounds like it was played with fingers, which gives the instrument a warm sound, and since it’s not repeating the guitar lines, constantly veering into familiar territory but going off in its own paths, it just works so wonderfully to give a very eclectic sound to the band. That leads me to the songwriting. It’s been a long while where I’ve received a promo where I can distinguish the songs from another, where the songs don’t just bleed into each other, but “IrremeDIABLE” is one such album. No riff is out of place, no melody or chord too excessive or misplaced; the songs are well-crafted structure-wise, but are unpredictable and often twist and turn in unexpected ways.
Now, this isn’t a release that is for everyone. There are keyboards on this record, and they are layered one on top of the other, alongside the guitars and bass, so this creates a very dense and confusing atmosphere at times. However, repeated listens unearths the richness of the album and peels back those layers so it is all laid out on the table and the previously confusing music makes sense. It’s an eclectic, creative, diverse and most importantly, an amazing record from a band that clearly doesn’t get enough recognition.
One of the best releases of 2008, bar none.
(Online August 24, 2008)