France’s Epitaphe have been kicking it old-school since 2009, but are only now releasing their debut album. Now, I thought my band was lazy, but this is next level. My respect for this level of laziness caused me to get off my arse (not literally, of course) and Google these latte-sipping, croissant-eating, mid-afternoon napping Doomsters. The internet tells me that they formed the band as teenagers, honed their craft, and spent as long as possible piecing together their debut.
The album opens with the 19 minute track “Smouldering Darkness“. 19 minutes? Oh! I’m lazy. I don’t want to have to pay attention for 19 minutes. And the last track is 20 minutes? Fucking hell! These two songs alone are longer than Deicide‘s “Legion“. Am I going to have to battle through this album? Let’s press play and find out.
I really like the slow, despondent, lonely guitar riff at the start of “Smouldering Darkness” and how Epitaphe play this riff off against heavier, faster riffs. One criticism I have is that the words “Smouldering Darkness” are said so often in this song that if I hear them paired together again, I may go Lorena Bobbitt on someone. Halfway through this song and, to be honest, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. This is a reflection of the album as a whole. Some of the riffs are great, while others aren’t as strong. Some of the transitions between riffs are awesome, while others seem forced. I love the Death Metal vocals, but I’m not a fan of when the singer veers his Vespa into the Black Metal lane. Some of the drum beats are quirky (even jazzy), and some of the basslines floating under riffs are killer. But, I’m not a fan of the guitar tone in parts. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently bad here. It’s just not my chocolate soufflé.
Now, Epitaphe‘s Death Metal and Doom games are strong, but their Black Metal and Prog/Rock games are less well refined; much like French wines are less well refined than Australian wines. That said, all wines taste like cough medicine to me so Epitaphe’s version of Black Metal may be Champagne to others. On that note I’ll end by saying that this is a decent debut. Let’s hope they hone their skills further and return with a second album, preferably within a decade.
Rating – 4/5
Judge for yourself! Go on, you know you want to.