Tentation
Le Berceau des Dieux

France may well be known by most as being the land of wine, cheese and romance. But those of us in the world of all things metal also know it’s home to some of the finest, most forward-thinking and respected metal acts in the world. Gojira, Deathspell Omega, Alcest, Blut Aus Nord – the list goes on and on and on, but it’s a small example of bands who represent some of the best of the best in their particular subgenres.

Of course, a country that holds art in such high regard, theoretically, SHOULD be home to such talent. But while the French have put themselves on the map for Black Metal, Technical Death Metal and a number of other territories, the realm of pure, straight-up Heavy Metal hasn’t traditionally been on of them. That is, perhaps, until recently. I’ve personally been Stan-ing for France’s Herzel and their amazing record  Le Dernier Rempart ever since I heard it earlier this year. Last year’s Fortune’s Gate from the incredibly fun Furies has yet to remove itself from my regular rotation. And now, out of the Occitanian gates of hell (see what I did there?), comes Tentation, who are primed and ready to make sure this French Heavy Metal thing sticks around for the long haul. ALLONS-Y!

For those of you out there who just can’t get down with non-English lyrics, I guess go ahead and skip this one. But that’s really, REALLY too bad for you, because once again the strangely alluring mix of French lyrics over a Heavy metal backbone are proving to pack a punch. I can’t really fully explain why it works so well, but it sounds awesome – the only real downside being that it’s fucking Heavy metal and as such, I’d love to more easily sing along. But that’s a me problem. My lazy ass could pick up a Rosetta Stone at any time and get to work. But great music is great music, and Tentation are proving that point in spades with a potent base that brings together the best parts of Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Diamond Head with a certain Francofied-flair that I can’t necessarily put a tangible description to – like an exotic, bohemian temptress luring you in with the hypnotic movement of hips or pursing of lips… Wait why did this review get so erotic?

One thing’s for sure, this album is catchy is hell. Earworm melodies, great riffs, simple but well-executed song structures, everything is made to put a little spring in your step and bop along in your car, at the grocery store, wherever. From the great gang-vocals of the chorus and mighty-as-hell lead/solo on “Lachute des Titans”, to the killer Priest-inspired riffs of “Conquerants,” to the Mercyful Fate/King Diamond-inspired ballad of “Baldr,” there is absolutely no shortage of authentically-played throwback nostalgia to enjoy here. I simply don’t know if I could be friends with someone who could listen to the Power Rangers-reminiscent riff of “Blanche” and not have even the slightest of grins on their face. DON’T LAUGH. IT’S FUCKING GREAT.

Once again, we’re treated to a Heavy Metal album that really is the whole package. In my book, that album art is in a neck-and-neck battle with Silver Talon’s Decadence and Decay for my favorite of 2021. The production does justice to the period the music is drawing inspiration from, without being afraid to throw a little extra modern polish on it to make it an even more enjoyable listen. And most importantly, the band delivers the goods with a textbook example of strong songwriting and solid-as-steel musical chops – so much so that I, once again, cannot be bothered with the fact that I have no idea what these guys are singing about. It’s fine, I’ll make up my own story in my head. And once again, just so we’re all crystal clear, If there was any doubt that Cruz del Sur/Gates of Hell are THE premier source of Modern Traditional Heavy Metal, take that doubt, soak it in gas and set that shit ablaze. They’ve knocked it out of the park yet again. Vive Tentation!    

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
September 22nd, 2021

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