Full disclosure: These guys are friends and I have been a fan since their early days.
Since Kickback‘s break up, there has been no french hardcore band capable of taking up the role of forerunners in French Hardcore. From their root in the thrash influenced hardcore in the mid 90s to their move to black metal towards the end of their carrier, the Parisian legends have left a big void to fill. Outsiders leading the pack, they were always highly regarded but mostly hated by everyone. The perfect incarnation for their hate filled music.
Lodges on the other hand are not filled with hate but they don’t care about the trendsetters and the keepers of the faith. They just play the kind of music they want to listen to. Since the release of their first EP as Lodges in 2013 (the band was previously called Donkey Punch and released two EP) the band has grown tremendously and traded their stop start rhythm for some straight forward song structures and catchier choruses influenced by Life of Agony and Only Living Witness but with the same discordant riffing that Lewd Acts and Integrity at their most melodic (think Micha or Eighteen).
The most striking element on this album are the vocals. Sung or screamed. Olivier‘s delivery is much more confident and varied than ever which makes the choruses very memorable (Trainwreck, Heaven’s night, Triumph over you). Clement‘s drumming has also become more aggressive by putting aside some of the most complex fills of previous albums to focus on a more groovier attack, with still some quick drum fills similar to the ones by Converge and Trap Them‘s drummers. Guitar wise, Kickback‘s influence can be heard mostly in Max‘s riffing. However, even if he shares the band’s passion for anger fueled riffing he has also learned to add small details to every song to make them easy to distinguish, and also more memorable (The Gift, Low expectations, Crocodile tears).
Combined with the vocals , the two instruments make this album the most coherent and memorable collection of songs these musicians have written in both incarnations of the band. The only instrument that does not shine particularly is the bass. Nonetheless, the playing is very solid and the metallic touch of the cords can still be heard clearly through the riffs thanks to the excellent production. But, as far as adding an extra touch to the songs, Simon stays in the background to offer the punch needed to make the song as dynamic as possible.
Lodges has since incorporated a new guitarist from the defunct The Phantom Carriage so his contribution will remain a mystery until the next recording. In the meantime, Lodges leaves us with a very consistent album concluded with a fitting nod to David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks on The new flesh and it’s intro influenced by Angelo Badalamenti‘s theme. After the sludgy conclusion of Crocodile tears, the haunting melody offer an excellent end to a beautiful album that will put Lodges on the map. Independent minded (they are releasing the album on their own label) and with a devil may care attitude, Lodges is not the new Kickback but it’s own beast with it’s own mind.
See god will be out on the 1st of November on vinyl via Closed Door Records