Friday, March 14, 2014

French Metal Friday: Existance-Steel Alive

Mausoleum Records

It's been awhile, but French metal band Existance are finally releasing their long-awaited and highly-anticipated debut album. The last time we checked in with this young act (which incidentally features  vocalist/guitarist Julian Izard who, as the son of H-Bomb's Didier Izard, has heavy metal flowing through his veins!) was w-a-y back in 2012. At that time the band, which was formed back in 2008 and whose sound could just as easily be compared to N.W.O.B.H.M greats of old (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Blitzkrieg, Saxon, Demon, etc) as classic French heavy acts up to and including H-Bomb(!), had recently seen their 2011, self-released and self-titled, demo re-released by High Roller Records and many of us thought that these young French metalheads (which now features the additional line-up of guitarist Antoine Poiret, bass guitarist Thomas Drouin and drummer Alexandre Revillon) would soon enough be making a real name for themselves and tearing apart the scene!!! So, when their full-length debut album didn't materialize right away something just didn't sit right with fans and supporters (of which I'd like to count myself as being both!) alike and we were left scratching our heads as to how and why this band wasn't under the bright lights and on every one's lips and minds! Whatever the reason for the delay though the wait sure as hell was well worth it as the aptly-titled "Steel Alive" (Get it?) simply slays the dragon my friends! This 11-track MONSTER of a METAL release was recorded and mixed at Boss Hog Studios in Ham en Artois, France with Maor Appelbaum (Anvil, Dokken, Halford, Malmsteen, Sepultura) handling the mastering job.Production-wise it's spot on and music-wise? Starting with "Legends Never Die" (a number that slowly works it's way forward before going full-force into power metal, via Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, territory!) the band takes up the challenge of representing a scene that gave us legends like Trust, Nightmare, Vulcain, Warning, ADX and of course H-Bomb! As the album moves forward (and Julian Izard proves he's just as strong of a vocalist as his father!) it's a remarkable accomplishment, but it seems to grows stronger with good numbers like"Black Viper" and "The Siren" giving way to ABSOLUTE crushing riff-rockers like "Dead Or Alive" (which is simply wicked with it's phenomenal lead guitar work!), "Slaughter" and "Burning Angel". That's not to say that opener "Legends Never Die" is anything other then top-of-the-line heavy metal as it does more then just get the job done! It's a solid way to start off a release that (from the start to when the creepy "From Hell" wraps things up in style!) is both a homage to classic heavy metal and a statement that here are still (younger) acts out there that will gladly wave the banner of all things "loud & proud" like this talented four-piece! But, onward we should match and the track "Burning Angel", while (only slightly) a bit slower and more melodic, shows off the band's maturity as songwriters while the title cut is simply top-notch epic metal! Then there is the track "Get Away". With it's nice and heavy back-drop (thanks in no small to the skill-level of bass guitarist Thomas Drouin and drummer Alexandre Revillon!) "Get Away" is old-school, hard & heavy magic, made with love and appreciation from a band that has greatness well-within it's reach! "Prisoner" is more Iron Maiden-inspired power metal (nothing wrong with that folks!) and with the speed metal great "Close to the End" and "From Hell" (a bit Blitzkrieg-like all around) wrapping things up rather nicely "Steel Alive" (again, clever title and one that I just love!) proves to a great debut-album for this French act and a release that should fill the gap in your collection rather nicely if your a fan of all things classic heavy metal and N.W.O.B.H.M.! Find out more about this talent-laden French lot at their Facebook page below and you can read my review of their (sweet ass) self-titled release right here:


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent review and amazingly talented band ! EXISTANCE just sounds awesome guys. Just rush to check their STEEL ALIVE album now: you'll be blown away ! Olivier

4:20 AM  

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