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(49:51, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Generation Addict I 7:48 2. Generation Addict II 4:07 3. Mandibulbe 3:45 4. Initializing 2:55 5. Rouleau Compresseur 6:47 6. Matebulbe 7:39 7. Metalloide I 5:36 8. Metalloide II 4:09 9. Metalloide III 3:24 10. Net Intelligencia 4:31 LINEUP: Guillame Fenoy – guitars; machines Sofiene Yahiaoui – guitars Romain Gayral – bass Sebastien Touzeau – drums With: Raphael Cartellier – Mellotron, Hammond Sebastien Gramond – synthesizer Thiebault Piegay – vocals Romuald Dumas – vocals Dominique Lucidi – vocals Kik Mastan – vocals
Prolusion. The French outfit MANDIBULBE was formed in 2008, consisting of members with backgrounds in bands such as 4/3 Trio and 109. The quartet finished recording its debut effort "Praxis" in 2009, and was subsequently signed by Musea Records, which issued the album on its Parallele imprint in April 2010.
Analysis. The metal scene has been a vibrant one the last couple of decades, and as the interest in this musical expression has grown among musicians the number of outfits seeking to explore musical possibilities of a more adventurous nature within the genre has steadily grown as well. Mandibulbe is another example of such a band. On their mostly instrumental debut effort, Mandibulbe provides a multiplicity of compositions that should serve the needs of those looking for challenging metal music quite nicely. Steady rhythms are a species of backbone for the proceedings, while the guitars cater for the more intricate mannerisms of their exploits in a myriad of different ways. Layered staccato riff patterns with arrhythmic tendencies, pace-filled riff bursts of a more technical nature and inclination, dissonant and frequently disharmonic resonating riffs provide for the more aggressive parts of their exploits. In the calmer passages, lighter undistorted wandering guitar textures are utilized quite deftly to contrast the proceeding or preceding sequences which take on a harsher expression, and drawn-out atmospheric soloing on top of darker riffs and riff constructions with various degrees of distortion and pace set up additional atmospheres that explore the tension created by utilizing expressions of a different tonal delivery and intensity. And while it's easy to suspect that bands like King Crimson and Tool may have been strong influences on this outfit, its tendency to stick to staccato riff bursts in particular may also point towards more generic references in the direction of hardcore and rap metal as stylistic references of note, and on the final track the latter of these is given a run by the band alongside a handful of guest vocalists, the description vocalist obviously used in a rather liberal sense in this particular case. Rap metal isn't a genre well know for its great singers after all. Still, it's intriguing to encounter a band bridging the borders between a technical variety of instrumental progressive metal on one hand and the often ridiculed rap metal genre on the other, and I suspect that quite a few progressive-minded metal fans might want to skip this final effort, even if it is a rather enjoyable and energetic example of that type of music.
Conclusion. Instrumental progressive metal is the name of the game for Mandibulbe, with a sound technical approach and quite a few experimental facets. And while it may not be a stellar example of this type of music, it is a well-made effort that should sit well with those who have an affection for material of this kind. And while the final track's foray into the rap metal universe may alienate some listeners, the other nine pieces on "Praxis" should address the needs of a sophisticated metal audience with a taste of instrumental exploits quite adroitly.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 12, 2011
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