Friday, 8 March 2013

After Taste - Motifs & Ornements: Partie 1


After Taste are another French hardcore/screamo band that have had music released by Orchidscent Records. This record is a six-track EP and its songs are completely in French. I don't know a huge amount about them apart from that are from Dijon and they're a trio. They did do a split release with Kazan, whose album I reviewed a couple of weeks back.

Tracklist:-

1. Novembre: Nous Sommes Les Fils
2. Mars: Les Forets Rouges
3. Decembre: Les Naufrage Des Epaves
4. Avril: Nous Nous Effacerons
5. Juin: La Ou Meurent Les Pensees
6. Janvier: Aux Mortes Branches

After Taste open up with Novembre, where the band make a tremendous post-hardcore racket. The guitars are incredibly driving in their delivery and the drums pound, to match the screams during the verses. After Taste fit these verses between more introspective passages, where they build atmosphere with their music. It all feels pretty brooding at times but when all is played together, you get a huge sense of the emotion and passion that goes into their songs.

Mars is by far After Taste's most expansive song on the EP, mainly down to it's length and the way the band trades off between off-kilter rhythms and tightly wound screamo. The semi-spoken word elements which are solely in French, like the rest of the lyrics, are spine tingling. After Taste also make use of other instruments in this song too. I could hear subtle brass amongst the noise. Toward the final third of the song, it settles into a kind of head-spinning electronica inspired song before dying away to leave ambient noise and quiet instrumentation. All in all it's a pretty opulent song, especially for just the second track on the EP, but it hints a grand things too and shows After Taste's willingness to think and play outside the box.

After Mars, the band settles down into more familiar territory, with Decembre follows the same blueprint as their opener. More dissonant guitar, with subtle melodies that seem to sit a bit deep in the mix. The mix between screamed and spoken vocals is a good one, although some people may find the screamed vocals a bit grating at times. There's still that element of experimentation that appeared during Mars, which is good as well a post-hardcore slant with louder sections giving way to quieter, introspective moments where the drumming and the bass become more prevalent.

Avril goes a long way to underpinning the menacing side of the band, with song structures that are a little different, different tunings in the guitars and some strings underneath the spoken-word vocals which certainly sound more haunting. That said though, After Taste still possess a powerful quality about them, which sometimes gets lost in other bands when they play around with different time signatures. The moments of clean guitar are used sparingly, which is a bit of shame but in the context of the music on Motifs & Ornements, it does work. I've found myself getting well and truly lost in the drumming on this track and trying to air drum (badly!). Another thing I love with After Taste and other bands that sing in their native languages, is how they fit the lyrics around the music. If they translated them and sung them in English with the same music, it just wouldn't work or sound the same.

Juin is one of the most chaotic songs on Motifs & Ornements. The noise level created by the guitars is pretty ear shattering and thanks to the jarring riffs they create, all the more vivid in their intensity. That chaos though makes the quieter moments more beautiful. I like how a band can follow the same blueprint throughout their records but can somehow make each song sound all of it's own. It's a skill that separates good song-writers from mere okay ones. It gives you as a listener something to cling onto and look forward to while leaving you with the warmth of knowing you're in familiar territory. The song closes with a lullaby style outro too.

Final piece, Janvier wraps up Motifs & Ornements with an amalgamation of everything that's come previously. The drums here for me are especially impressive, as a times they sound like constantly firing machine guns, while other times they hold everything together is a uniform and grooving way. The guitars hypnotise you during their more reigned in moments and the multi-layered vocals that come from After Taste, add almost a 3D element to the song, kind of surrounding you from all sides. After Taste feature elements in their sound that will appeal to a cross section of listeners, whether is be the occasional twinkly emo inspired guitar, to the dark-hardcore vibes and the dissonant, head spinning time signatures of more progressive metal. They paint a healthy picture of the French metal/hardcore scene and are another strong addition to Europe's building repertoire of engaging and though provoking bands. Well worth hunting down!

Motifs and Ornements is streaming on After Taste's Bandcamp page below:-


You can purchase it digitally from there or you can buy the physical CD versions from  two of the three labels (I can't find a link for Another Day Records) that helped to release it below:-

Orchidscent Records - http://orchidscentrecords.blogspot.co.uk/p/release.html
Back To Reality DIY Label & Distro - http://www.back-to-reality.org/index1.html#label

After Taste can be found at the following links:-
Website - http://www.after-taste.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/After-Taste

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