Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Ascension review

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Band: Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
Album: Ascension
Release date: February 2020

01. L'Ascension
02. A New Order
03. The Renegade Son
04. The Crowning
05. Stellar Cross
06. La Tentation
07. Au Bord Du Gouffre

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber pick up right where they left off five years ago and continue to slay.

After others dropped the ball so badly in the last year, it's nice to see an up-and-coming band I'm excited about decide to build upon their strengths when developing their sound, instead of going for a drastic and unsuccessful reinvention. The atmospheric blackened sludge base of RLHT's sound that was so emphatically displayed on their self-titled debut and Exile is back and as compelling as ever. "A New Order" brings both frenetic, razor-sharp riffs and neckbreakingly headbangable mid-tempo grooves right out the gate, and rounds itself off with a double bass drum roll that leads into an early contender for the most memorable riff on the record.

"The Renegade Son" kicks off right where the previous track left off, with frantic drumming and savage shredding; however, it soon fades out to a single guitar, beneath which the rhythm section manages to restrain itself from exploding until the tension has been built to bursting point, at which point all hell breaks loose. This capacity for restraint is only displayed on occasion, such as the melodically inclined extended introduction of "Stellar Cross", but serves to offer sufficient contrast to enable the volcanic blackened sludge that dominates much of the album to shine. This song also features a relative novelty for the band - midway through, listeners are treated to some ominous spiritual chanting, with Regarde Les Hommes Tomber channelling their inner Schammasch quite nicely. Nevertheless, the prevailing vocal style remains the huge harsh roars that, combined with the fiery yet spacious production, sound (as BitterCOld so aptly put it) like the vocalist is "standing on the ridge of a hellish landscape, howling into the winds". The production in general serves to provide a huge sound for the band whilst still suffocating the listener.

Arguably the highlight of the record is "The Crowning", featuring stretches of thunderous tom-heavy drumming, pyrotechnic lead guitar licks and some of the band's more overt inclinations towards a post-black sound. This song is second in length on the record to closer "Au Bord Du Gouffre", another standout cut. Preceded by one of the more effective interlude tracks I've heard in recent years, this final track delivers all the neck exercise one would expect based on the preceding half-hour of music, condensed and refined into a single 10-minute display of intensity that ramps up to an emphatic climax. The cacophony of vocal interjections swirling around the increasingly chaotic maelstrom of riffing masterfully announce the end of this journey into the depths of hell.

Ascension doesn't see Regarde Les Hommes Tomber reinventing themselves or making any huge modifications to their approach; this is very much a case of refinement and maturation of the best bits of Exile. And as excellent as their sophomore was, the difficult third album gives it very strong competition for the band's best work yet.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Written on 25.02.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 5   Visited by: 120 users
26.02.2020 - 17:50
Nice review. I don't think I ever actually listened to Exile, so I think playthroughs of both it and this will be necessary over the coming weekend.
Go tell that long tongue liar, go tell the midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
26.02.2020 - 18:13
Written by Apothecary on 26.02.2020 at 17:50

Nice review. I don't think I ever actually listened to Exile, so I think playthroughs of both it and this will be necessary over the coming weekend.

I relistened to Exile this morning, and I have to say it's an amazing album. I think it might edge out this new one in terms of my personal preference, but they're both really top-notch efforts in this subgenre.
27.02.2020 - 01:03
I really loved their debut back in the day, really need to check out the next two now.
27.02.2020 - 02:42
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Super-hyped! Those already released first couple of songs are massive.
06.03.2020 - 09:49
Au Pays Natal
Best in the genre. Excellent review and thanks.

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