L’ Espirit du Clan – Corpus Delicti (Galy Records)

Thursday, 14th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

This one sat in the pile for a while, ignored probably because yours truly cringes whenever he sees a bunch of neo-metallers dressed to the nines in baggy, hip-hop clothing. Needless to say, when Corpus Delicti was popped in, expectations were about as low as Bret Michaels’ blood sugar. After one listen, that sentiment was completely reversed – this is one immensely memorable CD of gasp! – Canadian metalcore.

As indicated by their name, L’Espirit du Clan is French-Canadian ensemble. Lyrics are sung in French and singer Arsene does little to cover it up, which is fine – it’s not really that much of a hindrance. Musically, these cats are a mish-mash of modern metalcore and some oddball choices going as far as The Defaced and mid-90’s Pantera. Beatdowns are kept a minimum and there is little in terms of clean vocals.

Where L’Espirit du Clan succeeds where so many fail is in their melodies, which are both streamlined and unique. The band stays away from the sugary-sweet major-chord melodies that so many metalcore acts fail prey to, instead opting for a more ominous, haunting vibe which is oh-so satisfying on the excellent “Ailleurs” and album standout “Sextour” which employs a cool little speed picking run in the chorus that is merged with a smooth groove.

The guitar tandem of Chamka and Ben come up big on more than one occasion, most notably during album closer “1992” where a gorgeous solo is pulled off over a droning riff that is repeated ad infinitum. The duo are clearly in synch, even adding some weight to the otherwise heinous hip-hop tune “Un Message Du Pain” where a French-Canadian rapper is ushered in for whatever reason. It ends up being the only throwaway track on the album.

There is little legroom to experiment in metalcore and because of that, bands who go into clueless (read: 98% of ‘em) will come out clueless, unaware that their music is a carbon-copy of 80 million other bands. L’Espirit Du Clan falls into that 2%, able to add some dynamics and muscle to what has become the biggest cancer on the metal scene since glam. Very much recommended and dare I say essential, ‘cause it really might be.

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(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)