Released By: Scarlet Records
Release Date: January 17th, 2020
Genre: Power Metal
Anthony Agnello – Vocals
Loïc Manuello – Guitars
Bruno Caprani – Bass
Julien Agnello – Drums
1. March for a Prophecy
2. Prism of Memory
3. Voici L’Homme
4. A Silent Curse
5. Faith and Vision
6. Back in Light
7. Under the Tree of Life
8. According to Darkness
9. The Hunger Theory
10. Symbolic Story
One of the most satisfying things as a music fan is seeing bands who start with great potential but don’t quite live up to it right away, improving themselves over time until they can either fully meet or even shatter any expectations their fans may have. Such was the case with French power metal band Darktribe back in 2015, when they followed up a promising but ultimately flawed 2012 debut, Mysticeti Victoria, with a fantastic sophomore release, The Modern Age. After hearing the band come into their own, fixing all previous flaws while also showcasing what they’re capable of, I couldn’t wait to see how their sound would evolve from there. Now, the band is set to release their third album, Voici L’Homme, and while it doesn’t quite match its predecessor, it’s still a great album, which largely follows in the same footsteps.
On their first album, Darktribe played a fairly traditional brand of European power metal, and while The Modern Age was similar, it introduced some more modern elements, including much harder hitting guitars, some very modern sounding keys, and some pretty strong progressive elements. For the most part, Voici L’Homme follows suit, though if anything the band has gone further with the prog elements, as many of the songs are fairly laid back and restrained, as far as power metal goes. There’s still plenty of full speed, epic, hard-hitting sequences, for sure, but many of the tracks have extended slower-paced sections, as well as times where the music comes close to ballad territory, with a strong emphasis on lyrics and atmosphere.
In that regard, the album is a conceptual release, based around The Bible, specifically The New Testament, and so listeners can expect plenty of references to Jesus Christ, his disciples and the like. The lyrics are quite well done, and do a good with the source material, without ever getting overly preachy, and the brief uses of narration on “Faith and Vision” and “The Hunger Theory” are handled quite nicely.
Performances are strong across the board, with the guitar work being the biggest highlight, as this is indeed a very guitar-driven album, with plenty of heavy riffs, nice solos, and some very good melodic guitar work. There are some keys used, at times, but they’re largely in the background most of the time, and I don’t find them quite as prominent as they were on The Modern Age, though they are used quite effectively, whenever they appear. Vocalist Anthony Agnello gave an excellent performance on the previous release, after struggling a bit on their debut, and for the most part, he sounds great again here, with his powerful, smooth voice fitting the music nicely, though there are some occasions where he seems to be struggling at singing in English, just a bit, as was the case on the debut. It’s not as noticeable as it was there, though, and he sounds great most of the time, but on the title track, in particular, I find he sounds just a bit awkward and uncomfortable during the verses. Production is crisp, clear and powerful, and everything sounds excellent all around.
Along with vocals, the biggest improvement on the previous release was some excellent songwriting, and in that area, the band has once again not disappointed, as Voici L’Homme is a consistently enjoyable release throughout, and while some tracks stand out above the rest, there aren’t any weak or mediocre tracks to be found. Following a nice intro, opening track and lead single “Prism of Memory” comes charging out of the gates, with some fast and furious riffs, before slowing down a bit during an opening verse that starts fairly calm, with vocals drums and backing keys, but after a while, the guitars kick in and the music picks up the pace, leading into an excellent, explosive, melodic and very catchy chorus, which stands out as easily the best on the album. Agnello shines here, with his voice carrying the song perfectly, and his performance is flawless, while the vocal melodies are excellent, and the music is wonderful. Also nice is the extended, very melodic solo section near the end. Overall, it’s an excellent track and stands as my favorite on the album.
Following such a strong opener, the title track is a slight letdown, though it’s still pretty solid, overall. It’s a fairly calm, slow-paced track, with an emphasis on piano and fairly light symphonic elements, to go along with some very melodic guitar work. I already mentioned it earlier, but this is the one track where I find the vocals just slightly off during the verses, though, to Agnello’s credit, he does shine during the chorus, where he alternates between English and his native French, clearly sounding just a bit stronger and more confident with the latter. While the track is solid throughout, it picks up momentum big time around 2/3 of the way through, with a heavy, explosive section where the pace fully picks up and the vocals become more intense. In similar territory is “A Silent Curse”, an excellent track, which starts with some nice melodic guitar work and some very nice modern-sounding keys. It alternates nicely between speedy parts and slower sections at first, before slowing down for the majority of the track, including a nice chorus, but it fully speeds up again around halfway through, for an explosive instrumental section, which is easily the highlight of the track.
Slowing things down a bit is “Faith and Vision”, a fairly mid-paced track with some nice lead riffs, more nice, very modern keys, and some very melodic guitar work during an excellent chorus. It never fully speeds up, but has a bit more energy throughout, compared to the previous two tracks, and is a very enjoyable song, overall. Next is “Back in Light”, another personal favorite. It opens up with a nice, speedy instrumental section, and it’s another track which alternates nicely between some slow, nearly acoustic sections, and some slightly speedier, though still very melodic sections, with the chorus being quite memorable and catchy, while the second half has some excellent instrumental work. Symphonic elements are a bit more prominent here than on most songs, and they’re used very well, to give the song an epic feel. Another fairly slow-paced track is “Under the Tree of Life”, which moves along at a fairly relaxed pace throughout, with the guitar work being fairly heavy, but not too intense. As far as power metal goes, it’s quite laid back and calm, with some very nice melodies, a strong chorus, and nice instrumental work throughout.
Moving towards the end, “According to Darkness” is one of the heaviest, fastest-paced tracks on the album, with some particularly chunky guitar work during the verses, though the chorus is very upbeat, melodic and has a very classic German power metal feel to it, in the best way possible. It’s a very fun, catchy track, and fans of power metal should be quite pleased with it. The longest track on the album is “The Hunger Theory”, which has some nice instrumental work early on, including a brief speedier passage, but it’s a fair soft, laid back track, overall, and is closest the album comes to having a ballad. It’s a nice song, with a nice chorus and great use of symphonic arrangements, but it feels like it’s missing some kind of spark to make it special, and does overstay its welcome slightly.
Closing out the album is “Symbolic Story”, another heavier, fast-paced track, with a very modern feel to it. The guitar work here feels a tad more aggressive than it does on the rest of the album, and while the verses move along at a more of a middling pace, there are plenty of faster sections throughout, with one sequence near the end being especially explosive and intense, mixing some of the heaviest guitars on the album, as well as some thundering drums and some pretty epic keys, all together. It’s an excellent track and stands just behind the opener as my second favorite on the album, which means the album ends on a definite high note.
After how great their previous release was, I was excited to hear what Darktribe would put out next, and for the most part, Voici L’Homme has lived up to my expectations. While it isn’t quite as strong a release as The Modern Age, it’s still a consistently entertaining album, which continues with what worked before, while continuing to add in more progressive elements. Fans of the previous release should be pleased, while power metal fans looking for something that can be heavy at times, while also being a bit restrained, a bit more progressive and a bit less cheesy than the genre standards, would be highly recommended to give this album a listen.
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.