Plebeian Grandstand is a French group formed in Toulouse. Since spawning from the depths in 2005, the band boasts having already played over 200 shows spanning much of the world. When I first added their third and latest album, False Highs, True Lows, to my iTunes library, I chuckled a little to find the genre simply tagged as "violence." It's the little details that matter. But as I pushed play, the smile was stolen from my face. Was there really another name to describe this onslaught?
You see, Plebeian Grandstand play a style of black metal that can best be conceptualized as Ulcerate meets Tod Huetet Uebel. So much so that this odd amalgmation of obscure groups from different genres somehow became apparent almost immediately. Its got the blastbeats and tormented vocals of black metal, pace changes of technical metal, dark, meandering guitar tones of post-metal, and maybe even the slightest touch of hardcore in the delivery. And piecing these sounds together completes a puzzle unleashing catastrophic results.
"Unbearable, isn't it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world... and its sound is like razors through flesh." True to their word, False Highs, True Lows sounds absolutely violent. It is a dense cacophony of howls, sharp distortion, and thunderous drumming. The only reprieve are the brief interludes and much of "Tame the Shapes," but even these breaks play out quite ominously. Are you truly at rest when the dentist stops to clean his drill?
The rest is an all-out assault. "Low Empire" and "Oculi Lac" will slap the glasses off of your stupid face...and then step on them. Once more, I am met with a drummer who is clearly more machine than man. Good drummers are hard to find, but I take a sense of pride in feeling like I am becoming a bit of a collector here at Metal Trenches. I'll be happy to add this one to my chest. And just as with the aforementioned Ulcerate, the dissonant and chaotic riffs are never far behind. I had been neglecting this album for a while, but I am glad I finally joined the dark side. The cookies are, indeed, delicious. Official release is today, so stream it below.