Just based on the cover, which features a skinned rabbit dressed in lacy dollclothes (rather than the usual demiglace), you can already predict that this will be some sort of loopy, eccentric goth-metal. Eths certainly has a touch of the avant-garde, but musically, it’s a more familiar blend of metalcore and nu-metal. Comparisons to Slipknot and Dir En Grey wouldn’t be far off, but it’s Otep that most frequently comes to mind here.

That’s largely due to vocalist Candice Clot, who showcases a wide variety of personas throughout the album. She trades off between a bestial, ragged roar and a pleasant clean vocal on most tracks, but also lapses into distracted muttering and a sing-songy murmur from time to time. I’m not a big fan of the sing-songy delivery – the nursery-rhyme cadences are too much a throwback to early Korn (which was fine then, but hackneyed now) – but overall she gives an impressive performance. The fact that it’s all delivered in French adds to the exotic mystery of the band’s aesthetic.

As for the music, Eths relies too much on a nu-metal swagger on some tracks, as on “Ondine” or “Hydrocombustio.” Perhaps it’s just an aversion to the practiced, look-at-me-I’m-all-crazy-and-shit attitude that every band back then felt they had to employ, but I kept itching to skip ahead when a song started moving in that direction. Luckily, Eths is also able to speed up to a more aggressive, groovy churn as well – “V.I.T.R.I.O.L” and “Priape” being two of the most notable cuts, bringing to mind Pantera and Lamb of God.

The most successful tracks on Teratologie are the ones that aim for a more progressive and narrative experience, where each of Candice’s personas has its correct place. “Ileus Matricis,” one the album’s strongest, starts with morbid whispering above a mellotron lullaby and then explodes into a rage. It’s like a placid madwoman in the attic turning feral when the orderlies arrive to take her away. The song thrashes and foams until it’s lulled into a quieter mood again, with clean singing and piano accompanying the descent back into uneasy calm. “Holocaust En Trois Temps” also fares well due to a long, Tool-like break at its core, with droning guitars and distant wails accompanied by a steady, jazzy beat. Closing track “Liquide Ephemere” is also a more complete, illustrative experience, ending the album on a darkly triumphant, romantic note.

Ultimately, I found Teratologie to be a choppy experience, mostly due to the disagreeable nu-metal employed on a number of the tracks. I found Candice’s varied vocals and the more illustrative, textural elements scattered across the album to be much more appealing, though. When they’re put to good use in thrashier or more progressive tracks, there’s hope that their next disc will be even stronger. All that being said, I don’t know that I’ll be returning to take in the full Teratologie experience again.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 24th, 2008


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