The quality of bands coming out of Rock and Growl just now, to my ears anyway, is something to behold. Having recently reviewed the awesome debut from French maniacs Dead Cowboy’s Sluts, I find myself opening my lugholes to another great metal band from the land of fine wine, croissants and baguettes.
Unchained was created in July 2010 by guitarist Jonathan Rabache and drummer Olivier Gavelle. Their style is an interesting fusion of melodic speed metal combining touches of power metal and a good old grinding of aggressive death metal just for added spice.
They do catch you off guard as they kick off with Infernal Death Machine and its intro thinking you’re heading into industrial territory before it kicks into a thunderously driven slice of heavy. It’s reminiscent of Megadeth if Dave Mustaine were to growl his way through a song instead of sneer through it. There’s some nice melodic licks throughout coupled with running solo work too that introduce this album in a fine manner. No Scapegoat to Blame leads us deeper into hell with more meaty riffs this time replete with power metal overtones that you feel shouldn’t work but come together wonderfully well.
Freedom Through Fire sees Unchained reign in the pace but not the intensity or the brutality, before you’re hit with a chorus that Ronny James Dio or Rob Halford would be proud of as Pierre Jourdan Gassin and Joel Forneris let you hear their more melodic vocal side. If you took the deathly growls out of this one it would feel more like a fists in the air old school heavy metal classic. It’s more akin to Helloween, Priest or the likes and is probably my favourite on the album whereas its follow up track, Russia, does bring a touch of industrial feel replete with haunting background keys over the chorus. It’s a bit of a stomper this one that practically demands you get up and mosh.
We’re transported back to the galloping, deathly throes of the earlier tracks with the relentless Your Funeral that only stops to rip open a few solos before it grabs the reins and throws you to the floor once again. Death From Above, by way of comparison, is a bit more controlled in its attack, driven forward by Olivier Gavelle’s incessant drumming and some great twin guitar work from Jonathan Rabache and Thibaud Vuille throughout.
At this point I’m beginning to worry that Unchained have anything else up their sleeve or if the remainder of the album will follow a similar tack. Stare in the Abyss starts optimistically with an atmospheric intro before we find it once again going into familiar territory and The God Delusion does nothing more to allay these fears. Don’t get me wrong, the musicianship and quality of the songs is all there without a doubt. I’m just finding that it’s all starting to sound too similar and the songs seem to be losing their individuality.
Thankfully the album saves itself and finishes on a high with both Cosa Nostra and Unchained giving me hope for a second album that will have a few more layers. Cosa Nostra, for all its straightforward nature has some great catchy riffs coupled with some wonderful solo work before Unchained brings the album to a close in a powerful and brutally beautiful ensemble piece that gives everyone in the band an opportunity to shine.
Unchained have produced a solid debut album that is let down slightly by a lack of adventure in places. To their credit though, they have brought together a great mix of power metal flourishes backed by solid death metal laced riffs and vocals that can only be built on further with their next release.
Oncoming Chaos is available through M&O Music now
1. Infernal Death Machine
2. No Scapegoat To Blame
3. Freedom Through Fire
5. Your Funeral
6. Death From Above
7. Stare In The Abyss
8. The God Delusion
10. Cosa Nostra
Pierre Jourdan Gassin – Vocals
Jonathan Rabache – Guitars
Thibaud Vuille – Guitars
Joel Forneris – Bass/Backing Vocals
Olivier Gavelle – Drums