Just a quick note before the actual review, since I forgot to mention it in one of the previous posts. All you boys and girls from bands which have, in the past months, sent me a request for being posted here will be written about, even without the previously mentioned physical consent. I don't want to bother you people now with that and will carry the responsibility if some troubles occur. But, bands which in the meantime have already sent me something via mail, like this band and "The Canyon Observer", will go up front a bit, just not to make them wait. Worry not, no one will be neglected and I am really thankful to everyone interested in being on this blog.
"Battle of Britain Memorial" is a four piece act hailing from Toulouse, France. Initially a trio which came together in April 2009, the band expanded its ranks with one more member in the following October and it became their final setup. The band first appeared to the crowd in May 2010 and their recordings saw the light of day one year later, when in May 2011 they released "The Aftermath Of Your Bright Beings". And yes, once again French music manages to highly impress.
This album is truly a beast which succeeded to trample over me upon the very first listen, lashing out a combination of post rock, post metal and screamo. Packed up with six songs and almost forty minutes of music, the tracks are truly massive and composed in such a way that they completely consume your attention. The thing that really intrigued me at first was the fact that every band member has equal amounts of time under the spotlight and everything seems balanced. When I say this I don't just mean the ability of the listener to hear and enjoy every tone when the entire band plays together, but rather instances when a particular instrument steps up and becomes dominant. The perfect example is the opening track, "Welcome to Rapture", which begins with some eerie and atmospheric guitar playing. Later, when the song progresses a bit, one gets the feeling that the drums become the leading instrument, while at the end you get to hear the bass being alone and carrying the song toward the end. This exhibition of certain aspects of the band is present throughout the album and is perfectly executed, since it doesn't sound forced upon, but rather ultimately flowing. Of course, the same goes for the vocal performance which sometimes literally drags the tunes with a forceful command. Swinging between singing so gentle that it seems more like humming at times and a raspy, violent scream, the pinnacles of the verbal sections are quite powerful. I must admit that I really enjoyed the vocals, since the voice is somehow filled with a lot of tension and emotion, the listener having the feeling like it is about to crack any second. Additionally an interesting thing is the use of audio samples which definitely play an important role in this release, because at times they are pushed so much up front that it seems like they are the fifth member of the band.
"The Aftermath Of Your Bright Beings" is a concept album in its core and the flow of the idea is quite good. There is a certain trait of metamorphosis while you listen, since the overall feel of the album changes from aggressive at the beginning and leaning to a more gentle side toward the end. It is not an actual change of style, but much rather a mood swing. Thanks to this, a specific experimental aspect can be sensed in the music and "Battle of Britain Memorial" makes good use of it. Constant tempo changes, the already mentioned tone domination, shifts in mood and the application of samples really paved the way for a high dose of variation when it comes to song composition. Furthermore, this is all enveloped with some excellent production and sound quality thanks to Jérémie Mazan, guitarist of "Nephalokia".
In the end, what to say other than "check this band out". If you are into some music similar to "Rosetta", "Envy", "Time To Burn" and "Arroyo", but crafted in a style contributed solely to "Battle of Britain Memorial", you will not be disappointed. I'd like to thank Jérémy from "Blue Wave Production", the label/booking/promotion from France, for contacting me and for sending the lovely cd, which sadly suffered some damage thanks to a careless postman. You can get in touch with "BWP" via the label's myspace page here and also visit the band's official website found here, where you can download this release. Enjoy!