Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows


Album

False Highs, True Lows

Label

Throatruiner Records

Year

2016

For Fans Of

Mayhem - Leviathan - Deathspell Omega

Summary

Step into the darkness, it's quite welcoming.

Rating

80 / 100

In this technological age where music, like people, is connected instantaneously, geographical barriers are simply redundant. Location is a neat fact rather than an influencing feature on the chosen style of a particular band. See, with music so immediately available (it’s why we can so conveniently review an album of this sort after all), certain genres can be explored irrespective of origin. France’s Plebeian Grandstand are the latest black metal enthusiasts. Now the country is not totally ignorant to the genre, as the small group of bands that made up Les Légions Noires had some say, but it’s still refreshing to see metal represented in many countries. Therefore, something tells us PB’s new album ‘False Highs, True Lows’, put out by good folks at Throatruiner (if you’re not following their catalogue you’re missing out), is going to be an important album in 2016.

Like expecting an airline sandwich (that soggy economy kind) only to then receive a well-cooked, succulent steak with all the trimmings, you many not anticipate much going into ‘False Highs, True Lows’ – at least to those unfamiliar with the band – however the eventual offering, like the wondrous meal instead delivered, will soon satisfy every need.

Plebeian Grandstand exude confidence and exhibit change on their new album. The transition is fluent and natural, although still apparent. The metallic hardcore, wall of noise approach has been replaced by a prominent black metal identity throughout this new collection of eight-tracks. Following the roots of predecessor release ‘Lowgazers’, the new album from the enthusiastic French lads is again a barrage of sonic intensity. However, where ‘Lowgazers’ beat the listener into submission, this full-length suffocates fans with its bleak, consistent approach.

Low Empire’ takes cues from contemporary black metal with greater polish to the production, equal parts crisp and dense. However, where the aforementioned and following track, ‘Tributes and Oblivions’, excel with venom, ‘Volition’ shows the earliest signs of contrast, with atmospheric elements seeping in. Comparatively, interlude ‘Mineral Tears’ sounds like it was lifted straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing, while ‘Oculi Lac’ conjures images of that snow-capped cavernous home in the woods.

If speed and menace are your musical traits of choice, it’s the beginning where you should indulge. As the album develops, like the band’s sound, ‘False Highs, True Lows’ becomes a decisively dark, moody release, which is highlighted by penultimate track ‘Tame The Shapes’, a seven-and-a-half minute instrumental doom affair that will test the patience of those without an ear for the style. Appropriately though, the record ends like it began, with force instead of subtly.

Conclusion

The antithesis of test-tube metal, there is no fluff or excessive marketing claims given to Plebeian Grandstand. ‘False Highs, True Lows’ is a misleading title, as it’s these types of refreshing releases that make you scratch your head and wonder why more bands aren’t adopting the same level of sincerity and output.

Tracklisting

1. Mal Du Siècle
2. Low Empire
3. Tributes And Oblivions
4. Volition
5. Mineral Tears
6. Oculi Lac
7. Tame The Shapes
8. Eros Culture

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