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Arising Empire

September 15

It’s not often – actually, NEVER – have I gone into an album review knowing absolutely nothing about the band or their music, but you know what they say? You have to have a crack at something before you can judge it…

So it is with little to no fear I plunge straight into French metalcore outfit Resolve’s new album Human.

Leading with the title track amid a swirling cavalcade of abstract noises Resolve waste no time at all getting into things with an unrelenting outburst of aggression that almost knocks me on my ass.

Drummer Nathan Mariat bludgeons the life from his kit in an emphatic display of power and precision that is as intense as it is confronting while guitarist Antonin Carre bashes frantically at his strings as though they were tightening around his throat.

When vocalist Anthony Diliberto reigns carnage over the top things get real damn fast. So far, so great!

There’s a nice contrasting style that weaves its way in, with the anger and contempt allayed somewhat by a round of clean vocals over more controlled music. But that doesn’t last as Diliberto soon tires of the niceties and re-engages in sonic warfare, fighting for dominance over a sonic landscape void of peace or mercy.

The respite fades in and out as clean vocals scrap for minimal territory, with the resulting yin and yang interplay of emotions providing a solid backbone to a frightful opening salvo.

Death Awaits surprises a touch with a calmer intro of an almost soothing nature. But that lasts only long enough for us to catch our breath as the boundless energy from this French foursome returns with venom and the world once more starts spinning under the sheer weight of density on offer.

A pattern is starting to emerge of clean/harsh vocals but whereas I would normally be starting to tire of the competing vocal assaults by now, Resolve’s mixture of genres is strangely alluring.

The clean sections don’t sound like an afterthought and actually serve a purpose, offering varying degrees of separation from what would otherwise be a one-sided trip into oblivion.

Older Days throws another spanner in the mold with an industrial tinge infused with heaviness that is soon offset by an almost R&B vocal interlude that adds yet another layer to Resolve’s sound.

Diliberto barks, snarls and menaces his way through the backbone of this track, but the softer underbelly refuses to yield and holds its own with poise.

And it works.

Continuum is up next with an electronic intro that blends into a stripped-back and subdued number that highlights the vocal talents and diversity at Diliberto’s disposal. His transition from demonic fury to angelic restraint is seamless and effective – hell, I’m probably wrong, and these guys have two vocalists – but if it is just Diliberto he is one talented musician!

He taps into his rage in the second half of Continuum before a sudden downturn ushers back in an element of hope. And we all need hope in our lives…

Bloodlust fires out of the blocks quicker than Hussein Bolt and with more grunt than Mike Tyson before pulling back somewhat in a sonic haze of tranquility that you know won’t – or can’t – last.

Which it doesn’t as David Banner once more succumbs to the more powerful inner Hulk and shit gets even messier.

Musically Resolve are all over it – and then some. Timing, tempo and structural changes grab at you from every angle, the only surety being there will be no respite until Resolve are ready to deliver it.

In Stone has a bottom-end piano-type intro that is heavy as fuck despite its introverted nature. And then it gets weird.

I honestly don’t know how to describe it, but it’s almost other-worldly the way it skews abstractly, a myriad of emotions constructed through musical scores only adding to the confusion.

Weird, yes. Good, fuck yes.

Comfortably Dumb restores the balance with an all-out aural assault complete with a guttural scream to wash away the lingering memories of doubt and Resolve have gone from zero to 200 in the blink of an eye.

The drumming is relentless and aggressive, almost challenging the guitar and bass to keep up but when your music shifts as much as that of Resolve keeping up isn’t a problem. If you hang in long enough you know there will be at least momentary respite from which to get things back in order.

This is possibly the most straight-out slab of apathetic destruction to date on Human, with even the moments of levity managing to remain threatening and dangerous. Can I have a five-minute break now?

I decide to push on, with Ignite next to blast the speakers, and it’s as if the Gods of Metal have taken pity on me with Ignite a poppier rock number rather than a slab of metal-drenched adversity.

There’s even harmonies and moments of levity here but despite my growing feeling of exhaustion it isn’t long until I have recovered enough to skip through the rest of this track in search of more destructive territory.

Which comes courtesy of Move To Trash with an almost nu-metal style guitar intro that quickly descends into darkness. This track revisits the harsh/clean nature of earlier tracks but elevates itself considerably with the constant nu-metal accents that paint a fresh and as-yet-untried sonic landscape on Human.

New Colours has a Tron vibe happening that is only fuelled by a massive keyboard intro and introverted nature. Diliberto once more shows off his chops, and although I am in awe of his harsh vocals the contrasting forces created by his moments of clarity are also an integral part of Resolve’s sound.

Moonchild wraps the album up with another left-of-centre track that has its foundations rooted deeply in 80s rock. It is almost stadium-worthy and not what I thought would be my last journey with Resolve, but if there’s one thing my first date with these guys has taught me is to leave all expectations at the door and instead open yourself up to the fragile brutality that is music.

As with life there are no guarantees, but in saying that I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

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