Perhaps I’m searching for and applying meaning to everything these days, but the folks in Mal Aux Yeux knew something was brewing when naming their recent full-length. Loosely translated to “Sequestered by the Future," the inadvertent soothsayers from Northern France went with the prescient moniker, Sequestre par le futur, when stamping their latest. Whether or not it was intended as a harbinger of extended isolation, it serves to bolster the whole “art imitates life” thing.
Recently released by the up and coming label Gargouille Association, this wildly varied batch of songs is sure to frustrate genre purists and anyone comforted by the readily pigeonholed.
Mal Aux Yeux (“Eyeache” to us Stateside) employ everything and then some from traditional hardcore punk and its myriad sonic cousins. Song of the day “Le Soleil Me Fait Mal Aux Yeux” stands as perfect an introduction to their audial collage stylings as anything else found on the album:
True to European form, they immediately ante up with hyper-melodic screamo not altogether unlike their local legends Amanda Woodward. There’s a scathing vibe to their erratic and violent sway that calls to mind the Ebullition era. Yet, they still manage to tack on a black metal tremolo riff that’d feel unwelcome in the hands of lesser bands.
Vocally, they alternate cleans with something akin to Todd Burdette’s bellicose work in Tragedy. Between these earachingly loud slabs of hardcore lies their brightest talent. As if baiting the listener, a dead stop is but a segue into a bizarre and carnivalesque upstroke passage. Not so much ska which, under the right circumstances, sets afloat my boat, but more so something owing to, uhhhh, crack rock steady. Here me out, y’all, because they pull it off.
In the words of our wisest 20th century sage Paula Abdul… “opposites attract.”
Elsewhere across the album, these punks keep ‘em guessing and, even upon subsequent listens, it keeps me sufficiently surprised. Your gifted a wildly assorted blend of crust, hardcore, screamo, and a dash of post-metal’s ambitious atmosphere. The manner in which they meld these seemingly disparate genres is no small task.
Based in Bethune, they hail from what’s told to be mining country and they’ve applied the lesson to their pastiche approach to crafting memorable songs. Nothing’s off limits or out of bounds. If it plays, it stays and I’m here for it.
Now the region can at last lay claim to having something more potent than the hyper-local maroilles, a cheese likened online to rocket fuel... MAL AUX YEUX.
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