In December 2014 we had the pleasure of premiering a full stream of Hit the Head, the fascinating debut album by the French noisemongers Corbeaux, and today we’re fortunate to deliver a full stream of their full-length follow-up, Kind Words.
But there’s very little about this new album that’s kind. If anything, it’s more bleak, more unsettling, and more cataclysmic than its predecessor. It’s also even more accomplished and self-assured, even if you’ll find almost no solid ground on which to plant your feet or comfort for your addled mind.
In this disorienting amalgam of post-metal, noise rock, and abrasive experimentalism, about the only thing that sounds reasonably well-adjusted and strong is the drumming. It’s exceptionally good, and whether the drummer is turning out head-spinning somersaults or head-smashing grooves, it’s the tether you hold onto as everything else is buffeting you about like a leaf in a cyclone.
The drummer is not the only strong anchor point in the rhythm section. If anything, the bass is even more massive, with a corrosive, highly distorted tone that, when joined with the gut-punching drum sound, may make you think you’re witnessing an earthquake or an avalanche from an uncomfortably close proximity. That sense of things coming unglued and falling apart is only magnified (dramatically) by what happens with the guitars and the (sparse) vocals — which vary from agonizing wails to wrenching yells.
The songs are loaded with feedback, dissonant riffs, and discordant arpeggios, along with an array of other bizarre, demented sounds. “Corpse Pose” and “The Light Has A Voice”, in particular, are intense, frenzied experiences that convey a sense of mental breakdown and emotional wreckage. Yet Corbeaux seem well aware of the risk of overloading their listeners with too much demented intensity, as fascinating as it is.
They segment “Corpse Pose” with a slow, ghostly miasma of feedback, pulsating noise, and grim notes. They slip in a lilting, almost jazz-like guitar motif in “Old Tired Horse” and turn “Old Dying Horse” into something slow and doom-drenched. They put a spark of light in “Helena Markos” with a rapid, rippling, multi-layered guitar performance. And with “Mouth Shut” they provide an almost peaceful interlude of drifting ambient music — though its atmosphere is ghostly and forlorn.
While the band have a pronounced fondness for engaging in unpredictable and unsettling instrumental machinations over the huge rumble of their rhythm section, they also lock into tank-like, head-busting grooves, the guitarists at least briefly underlining the pulsing and pounding. And there’s also something within this jarring music that conveys a determination not to give up, even in the midst of catastrophe.
Kind Words isn’t for listeners who are looking for something easy, memorably melodic, or conveniently headbangable. And it won’t make you optimistic about the future either. But it does provide a consistently fascinating and persistently galvanizing experience for those listeners looking for music that vividly captures the abrasion, discord, and disappointment that comes with life’s struggles, and maybe the resilience of life as well.
Kind Words was recorded and mixed by Amaury Sauvé (As We Draw, Birds in Row…) and then mastered by Magnus Lindberg Productions (Cult of Luna, Abraham, Coilguns). It is being released today by Ravens Rock (GB), Vox Project (en), Drown Within Records (It), and Ideal Crash (Fr). The album was financed by contributions from fans. You can order it here: