January 17th, Tuesday. One of those calm yet restless days in the institution. Today marks the third day I am entirely focused on one particular album, 'Heal' by No Terror in the Bang, hailing from Rouen, France. This is the second official studio album by the French band with an ambitious plan and concept: cinematic metal, which I strongly recommend checking out after reading the review.
NO TERROR IN THE BANG - Lulled by the waves - (Official lyrics video)
No Terror in the Bang isn't a band you'd easily forget. After publishing reviews of "Another Kind of Violence" and "Poison" here on Metalhead Community magazine, many details about them lingered in my memory before their new work came back to me about a month ago. Whether due to my mental state, mood, or life circumstances, it took some time to digest the music and articulate my thoughts. Although I am entirely convinced of their vision, concept, plan, branding, potential, and artistic taste, I still feel having no desire to listen to the album again after finishing the review, for an unknown reason, leaving me somewhat confused.
First and foremost, the 'Heal' album deserves top marks for its professionalism, above everything else. As someone who believes that God is in the details, No Terror in the Bang is gifted enough to offer such work mainly in-house, which now their entire plan in creating this album makes perfect sense. The project, from start to finish, was created and developed by people with inspiring artistic taste.
Musically, the album distinguishes itself with its boundary-pushing concept: a well-balanced incorporation of cinematic music elements performed by a modern djent/progressive metal band. Although I've heard other artists working on this combination before, No Terror in the Bang does it differently. The cinematic music side was masterfully crafted by someone who sounded confident. I respect his entire work from start to finish for his ideas, musical language, and instrumentation, but most importantly for the way he positioned himself towards the greater good.
On the metal side, the band shows a great level of musicianship, exceeding what normal people can achieve. The compliment mainly concerns three major points: thematic and conceptual work, sound characterization and production, and, of course, the unmistakable significance of their vocalist, Sofia Bortoluzzi. Although she often reminded me of Tatiana Shmayluk of Jinjer in her ability, tone, and style, she always maintained a healthy distance from her and all her other influences. I think her promising performances in the album qualify her as one of the hottest prospects and one of the most talented female vocalists I have heard in recent years. She is musically mysterious, powerful, artsy, shady, soulful, and has the necessary metal in her spirit. Yet in fact, I'd still argue that the 'Heal' album isn't yet her ultimate performance, she still has so much room to improve.
Technically, the 'Heal' album was envisioned in a well-produced, post-modern character that now exemplifies a successful blend of cinematic and metal worlds. As a music enthusiast with a lifetime investment of 36 years in music and various arts, I am highly satisfied with the world they have created, which now qualifies the album as one of the finest-sounding records, distinguishing itself for many reasons.
No Terror in the Bang, band photo
Although the 'Heal' album objectively doesn't really have any weaknesses, a few points kept me thinking during these three days. For an uncertain reason, I don't feel the urge to consume more of it, as mentioned earlier. After questioning this repeatedly, I still haven't found a convincing argument, but let me try to explain.
First of all, while everything the album does flawlessly and exceeding expectations in many different areas, it doesn't necessarily leave a musical mark in your memory. A melody, a vocal line, or a guitar part - surprisingly nothing. After listening to it for three days long, I can't play at least one melody on a guitar right now, and that says something about it.
Secondly, it sounded somewhat too digital for my personal taste, to the extent of preferring digital sounds in its entirety. As a guitarist, I've stopped enjoying listening to plugin guitar sounds for a long time now, and now argue that the 'Heal' album lacks a foundational element in its guitars: the force of air that amps create. Dynamically, the guitars sounded overly limited throughout the album, and I yearned to hear them with real amps capturing all the air, punch, and live feeling. This change would give you timeless guitars in your album, as nobody can guarantee these current guitars won't sound outdated in 20 years.
Lastly, the main weakness of this album for me would probably be the drum sound. In my perspective, drums sound overly digitalized, carrying a trendy and familiar character from the modern metal world. Sadly, the drums didn’t seem to have enough significance to me, especially from such a highly detailed and artistically embellished work like this.
No Terror in the Bang, band photo
In conclusion, 'Heal' is unquestionably one of the most successful conceptual works I've recently come across. A masterfully crafted cinematic metal concept that explores both cinematic and modern progressive metal worlds, performed by a gifted collective that distinguishes themselves with their performances, story, branding, concept, and artistic value. Strongly recommended metal. Thanks for reading.
No Terror In The Bang album front cover artwork
released January 12, 2024
No Terror in The Bang is a Cinematic Metal band from Rouen, France.. It weaves a chiaroscuro universe, between fragility and fury. Band’s name recalls a quote from Alfred Hitchcock, evoking the calm before the storm and the tension of his films : “ There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it. ” NTITB’s songs alternate between dreams and nightmares, turbulence and frenzy.
Personnel :Sofia Bortoluzzi : Vocals, lyrics,Alexis Damien : drums, keys & orchestrationsBrice Bouchard : Bass & doublebassClément Bernard : GuitarsEtienne Cochin : GuitarsRomain Greffe : live keys & orchestrations
Recorded and mixed by Sebastien Langle, Mastered by Pierrick Noël at Atelier MasteringAlbum cover artwork: LOUISE DUMONTLayout by MYTHRID ARTBand picture credit MARIE GUILLEMETTE
No Terror in the Bang on the Web
A little extra;
- Focus on Anticipation: Hitchcock is emphasizing that the actual event (the "bang") is often less terrifying than the anticipation leading up to it. This reflects the idea that the human mind can create more fear and anxiety while waiting for something to happen than the event itself typically warrants.
- Psychology of Fear: The quote speaks to the psychological aspect of fear, where the unknown or the expected plays a more significant role in creating terror than the known or the actual event. This is a common theme in suspense and horror genres, where the buildup and tension often evoke stronger emotional reactions than the climax or resolution.
- Manipulation of Tension: Hitchcock, known for his mastery in the art of suspense in filmmaking, often used the concept of anticipation to heighten the emotional response of his audience. By delaying the "bang" or climax, he increased tension and fear, making the eventual release more impactful.
- Human Imagination: The quote also highlights the power of the human imagination. Often, what we imagine or fear might happen is more intense and terrifying than what actually occurs. Our minds can embellish and exaggerate potential outcomes, leading to heightened states of anxiety and terror.
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