French band INSOLVENCY was formed back in 2014, and released an initial, self-titled EP the following year. Since then they have been creating additional material as well as honing their craft on stage. Their debut album “Antagonism of the Soul” is scheduled for release at the end of January 2018 through French label Send The Wood Music.

One of the relatively modern twists in the metal world is to combine elements from metal and hardcore in different ways. Relatively modern, as that combination dates back to the 1980’s, but the more contemporary twist on this mix has been to expand the scope of such style combinations, and then especially in the form of adding gentler, melodic elements into what is mainly described as metalcore these days. Insolvency is a typical example of just that.

Their stylistic canvas covers a rather broad base. Hammering, intense sequences residing in the heartland of aggressive hardcore are placed side by side with quirky thrash metal passages, galloping power metal oriented escapades and harmony-based traditional NWoBHM interludes. In the case of the latter with a nod or two in the direction of giants Iron Maiden from what I could hear, although that may well be by accident rather than design. Atmospheric laden interludes with wandering piano motifs and keyboard arrangements taking their cues from classical symphonic music is also a recurring feature throughout: Those fond of material presenting the beauty and the best, so to speak, will find a lot to be of interest here in that general context.

As far as the lead vocals go, you get pretty much what you’d expect from a band like this. We have an aggressive, shouting vocalist on one hand, and a backing vocalist with a clear, melodic delivery. Occasionally trading spots as far as being the dominant and backing vocalist goes. And while I could be mistaken, what appeared to be auto-tune honed vocals does appear here and there too, always in the backing vocals, although that effect may well be a result of the mix or some applied vocal effects.

The band is tight throughout, cleverly alternating between the intense, the majestic and the gentle, and with more metal than hardcore elements in their music as a whole. The mix is good, the production is of good quality as well. and all in all there aren’t any flaws as such to point towards. And on the other hand, those fond of quality guitarists will take a lot of pleasure in listening to the chops and solo runs of Blackstard and Gondouin.

That being said, I wasn’t taken by this album either. If it is their particular take on this style or merely a case of the songs not managing to convince me is hard to tell of course: Music is a subjective experience after all, and tastes do differ. But for me, this album didn’t deliver anything out of the ordinary. Which, for me at least, indicates that this album may well have more of a niche appeal.

Insolvency has an expansive and fairly contemporary take on the metalcore genre, with something of an emphasis on the inclusion of both melodic and atmospheric laden elements. While I don’t see the band making much of an impact beyond an audience already fond of this variety of metal, I rather suspect that those with an affection for melodic metalcore may well find this album to be a highlight among the early 2018 releases of this specific kind.

 

My rating: 62/100

Track list:
Divided // Tears of the World // Antagonism of the Soul // Violation // Black Moon // Hope // I’m Revulsed By Death // This War Is Not for You // A Leaving Life, A New Beginning // Your Lost Soul // Death Wish

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