Friday, August 09, 2013

French Metal Friday: Gang-1993


As I can't remember off the top of my head when I did the last "French Metal Friday" I figured that I must be about due or even long-overdue. This week's feature though comes with the back-story that I have no idea  when (or even why) I downloaded this album off of iTunes. There must have been something I liked about it though so, with some free time on my hands (which is a rarity for me it to often seems) and curiosity drawing me towards this album, I settled in to listen to this release all the way through. Before I get to what I discovered there is a little bit of information online that I've found about this French act. Oh, for the record it's not a good idea to just type in words like gang and 1993 for a Google search. It might not have been in those exact terms, but either way Google brought up both porn sites and articles on gang violence. Lovely. Not quite what I had in mind folks. Anyway, the band was formed in 1990 in Fismes, Champagne-Ardenne, and originally went by the title Gush X. The oh so cleverly titled album "1993" was their full-length debut from, you guessed it, 1993! Sure, that album art might make you think of something along the lines of hard rock or even traditional heavy metal (it actually makes me think of Alice Cooper's 1974 "Greatest Hits" LP), but not hardcore punk/thrash! And that's just what "1993" is. This album, as well as it's two follow-ups apparently, were part of the "first era" for Gang. From 1990 to 2000 they played music along those lines (hardcore/thrash) before a line-up change saw them move towards a more traditional metal sound (2000-2010). That's what I manged to pick up from their website which I eventually discovered. Anyway, back to "1993" and it's punk thrash mentality. While it's not a mess of an album (as there are some good ideas through-out this 21 minute release) it's an odd kind of release that opens with the sound of a baby crying on the cut "Baby's Killer". Even though there are 8-tracks on this album it's almost more line an EP as it's only around 21 minutes in length! The longest track on "1993" is the heavy-handed, punk thrasher "Breakin' Off" at three minutes and thirty six seconds while the album's closing track, "Goin' Down", only has a run-time of a minute and forty seconds. So, it should really come as no surprise then when I say that none of these numbers overstays it's welcome. On "1993"  it's my guess (as neither the Metal Archives of Gang's website spells it out completely) that Bill (aka Laurent Bocquet) handles lead vocals which are, shall we say, most definitely of the punk or hardcore variety. Steve (aka Sylvain Cotté) handles guitar and backing vocals on "1993" while the pair of  Philty and Pat handles bass and drums respectively. In a way this album could be considered crossover I suppose as it definitely merges gritty hardcore punk with fairly straight-forward thrash metal. At first the album reminded me of  a way more talented Torn Flesh meeting early C.O.C and Jerry's Kids in a dimly lite basement for a late-night jam, but as I listened to it a second time I did find myself thinking that it goes to great lengths to hammer out a more distinct take on hardcore-infused, 80's thrash-inspired heavy metal then such a weird mix up of acts would suggest. That's not to say that it's a brilliant album or frankly even a good album. It's more along the wave length of "above-average" which means it's not a classic or must own or anything like that, but it's also not a stinky turd of a release either. No, if anything at all it's pretty indicative of what happened when crossover suddenly became all the rage only this 8-track release was released way after the fact. That does make sense when you look at how (in some places during the late 80s to early 90s) some scenes were behind the times. It's likely that Gang was exposed to crossover after it had already started to teeter out so "1993" marked their desire to play this all-or-nothing form of thrash metal punk. Given that potential, particular desire then this could be looked at as a decent start, but I left this album hoping (for their sake) that they improved on their sophomore release.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home