Regarde les Hommes Tomber - _Regarde les Hommes Tomber_
(Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
France is known to be a hotbed for some of the finest atmospheric hardcore bands within the underground; in a sense, the French underground has also spawned a very specific sound that incorporates both atmospheric hardcore and black metal elements, resulting in an inseparable amalgamation of an apocalyptic, if restrained, sound -- one that is very much reflective yet ultra heavy, where black metal's aesthetics used to a certain degree as 'mold-breakers', spicing up the music with a dose of untamed insanity and some fast parts, kicking the otherwise slow pace of the music in its ass with a barrage of blast beats to make the whole affair a tad more interesting.

The self-titled debut album by Regarde les Hommes Tomber ("Behold the Fall of Men" in French) is not different, in general, from the above mentioned, yet at the same time it is in a class of its own. At first glimpse, one may think the whole concept of _Regarde les Hommes Tomber_ revolves around John Milton's "Paradise Lost" or Dante Alighieri's poetry regarding their vision of heaven and hell, sinners and saints and fallen angels defying god -- or both; since we have no mention of these apparently influential sources in the booklet's liner notes, we can only make an educated guess.

Upon a closer look at the texts, the graphic symbolism and a short study of the lyrical content, the whole Biblical story of the Tower of Babylon is being revealed to us, with the mentioning of Shin'ar, King Nimrod's kingdom where the tower had been located according to the story, and other Biblical references -- hence, probably, the mentioning of the falling men; the very builders of that gargantuan tower falling to their death after they had sparked the wrath of god, or something along those lines.

At any rate, the well written English texts encapsulate the religious flavour of the Biblical texts and their dark narrative, from the initial aspiration to challenge godhood and literally touch the sky, to the eventual and literal downfall of man, the confounded masons, the mixture of languages and the deadly confusion that had befallen the men building the infamous tower of them all, thus marking their doom.

The music is on par with the apocalyptic lyrics and the general surreal, dark theme of the whole of the album; from the excellent opening instrumental track "Prelude" to the very closing moments of "The Fall"; the album emits a strong apocalyptic vibe, either by the colossal guitar sound or the quasi-tribal drumming; the riffs are all purely tragic and malevolent, and the atmosphere choking and melancholic.

Less dense than Overmas and not as monolithic as Rorcal, Regarde les Hommes Tomber breathe forth something else: a sort of tamed nihilism that's grand and alluring with many ups and downs and breaks and full-on violent attacks. They are like their peers but very much removed from the plethora of bands in the sense that their apocalyptic vibe is the strongest feature of the music, darkening the sonic skies of the album and in turn darkening every listener's horizon with a religious, almost pious, unholy reverence ("For He is guilty / For we are men / For He is the weak"), taking a Biblical story and reversing its morals, lending to one of humankind's most famous legends a novel interpretation altogether.

A somber, corrosive and atmospheric concept album, an epic journey through a story made incontrovertible by the crafty hands of these French musicians, creating one of the darkest sonic epic tales out there. Embrace this album passionately, rotate it as many times and as loud as possible, read(!) the texts and prepare to be blown away by a spiritual experience the likes of which are rare and far between.


(article published 30/6/2013)

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