The Pitch: Switching things up with the debut EP from French progressive metal quartet Black Neon District.
What I Like: Standing Waves serves as another breath of fresh air as I dive deeper and deeper into the darkest chasms of black and death metal. In stark contrast to that content, Black Neon District sport a bright and uplifting sound that ejected me from the usual depressive fog. This is in no small part due to the fantastic riffs on this record. Combining djenty rhythms with freeform, jazzy leads; the seemingly endless hooks had me bobbing my head from side to side with each infectious note. Think Animals As Leaders meets Textures.
And while I was often distracted by the incredible axe work, the drumming on Standing Waves is no less impressive. There's a great example of these musicians battling for the spotlight Whiplash style towards the end of "Resurgence." Black Neon District round their sound out with a purely clean vocalist, once more drawing me to comparisons to Textures. While some may be turned off by the lack of screaming on the album, it didn't bother me at all. Believe me, I love mixing up harsh metalcore vocals with a good melody, but Maxime Cuillerat delivers that rare performance that is captivating from start to finish.
Critiques: There are parts here and there on tracks like "Ghost Line" that start to drift into dullness, but even then you're only seconds away from the next ripping guitar solo.
The Verdict: Standing Waves was a pleasant surprise that reminded me why I put so many unpaid hours into this site. There is a lot of raw talent out there just waiting to be discovered, and I am thankful to help even scratch the surface by promoting a talented group like Black Neon District. Definitely check these guys out.
Flight's Fav's: Emergence, Resurgence
-Review by FlightOfIcarus
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