"C'est La Vie"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Somebody Else
02. Deep Blue
03. Lily
04. Modern Slave
05. C'est La Vie
06. Head Rush
07. Kings of Ignorance
08. Rain
09. Human Condition

RATING: 6.5/10

Call it djent, call it tech-metal, call it whatever the hell you want at this point: there's still a huge amount of this stuff around, isn't there? And whether you can't get enough of it or feel that this proudly state-of-the-art subgenre has long since run out of gas, NOVELISTS FR seem to have found one highly credible way to outlast their aspiring post-PERIPHERY peers. It might seem like stating the obvious, but NOVELISTS FR have focused almost entirely on crafting great songs for their second full-length album. If 2015's "Souvenirs" debut seemed a little perfunctory and cookie cutter in part, it did at least showcase a gift for non-standard melodic hooks. "Noir", 2017, was far better and contained a handful of thrilling, tech-friendly moments. But on "C'est La Vie", the French band go for broke, eschewing the elaborate complexities of djent's cerebral contingent in favor of a bright, shiny and endlessly accessible strain of subtly prog-tinged metalcore. In contrast to the hordes of bands still peddling distinctly unimaginative variations on metalcore's early-'00s blueprint, NOVELISTS FR sound liberated by their resistance to the utterly fucking obvious.

"C'est La Vie" stands or falls on how much impact these tunes have first time around. There are plenty of bendy riffs and flashes of electronic trickery to keep the djent purists happy (if, indeed, such people exist), but songs like "Somebody Else" and "Kings of Ignorance" are proudly straightforward rock songs at heart: it's just that they arrive wrapped in the textures and tones of more left-field fare, resulting in an often invigorating and indecently perky new hybrid. Getting to the point quickly suits NOVELISTS FR well, and frontman Matteo Gelsomino has one of those gently distinctive voices that rescues more generic moments from sounding too, well, generic. At its best, as on the uplifting sugar rush of "Deep Blue", "C'est La Vie" sounds like an album with huge mainstream potential, give or take a polyrhythmic tic or two.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).