As an American, when I think of leading countries in the European heavy rock and metal underground, France is generally not on my radar, really at all. The obvious choices would be the UK, Sweden, Italy, and even Germany, but not so much France. Mars Red Sky comes to mind, and they alone would put France on the map. Slift blew everyone’s minds in 2020 with the stoner-prog epic Ummon, and of course, there’s Gojira who have obviously ascended to global-metal heights. Decasia, a heavy psych power trio based out of Paris, made enough noise with their previous EPs that Heavy Psych Sounds scooped them up and are releasing their debut An Endless Feast For Hyenas.
The band recorded An Endless Feast For Hyenas in a barn in the French countryside, attempting to achieve an organic, improvisational feel. Opening with a slow build-up, before blasting off to stoner/prog space with Ilion, reminds me an awful lot of their aforementioned countrymates Slift’s opener and title track on Ummon, both tonally and rhythmically. Two different bands, but the tone and energy are similar for sure.
Ilion serves as a killer opener, as it really moves, but it also introduces each band member’s individual skills. Guitarist and vocalist Maxime Richard showcases some slippery riffs, killer tone, and some well-placed psychedelic shred. Vocally, he sounds good, singing, but not crooning, and his voice hovers above the music well. Bassist Fabien Proust makes his presence felt with a fuzzy, rumbling gallop, as does drummer Geoffrey Riberry, who seems totally in sync with Proust, yet able to throw in some well-placed fills, as both have room to shine individually.
Decasia shift gears slightly with the mid-tempo, trippy Hrosshvelli’s Ode. Richard shines bright on this track as vocally, he shows off some eyebrow-raising range, emotion, and dynamic, while his riffs are of the proto-metal variety, and his lead work is also very lively. Proust and Riberry are right there with him though. This is a super tight rhythm section, perfectly capable of holding it all down as Richard blasts off.
The heavy psych instrumental Altostratus gives way to the slow, psychedelic buildup of Cloud Sultan, before morphing into a soaring stoner and prog epic that shifts gears multiple times, as Richard again displays his excellent tone and soaring vocals.
slippery riffs, killer tone, and some well-placed psychedelic shred…
Skeleton Void is absolutely killer and is the centerpiece for me. A driving beat, and catchy bassline are served up by Proust and Riberry as Richard supplies some trippy, single-note guitar work that reminds me of Colour Hazemeets 80s UK post-punk. Richard flies off into some killer, fuzzy riffage, before unleashing some spacey shreddery. Skeleton Void is heavy, trippy, rhythmic dissonant, echo-y, and everything in between. One of the cooler songs I’ve heard in 2022 so far.
Soft Was The Night is another trippy-instrumental interlude, giving way to the slow-burn, heavy psyche of Laniakea Falls, another stoner and prog epic that takes the listener on the proverbial sonic journey. Richard‘s vocals sound great, he shows his range, and dynamics again, as well as his oft-mentioned guitar tone. Proust and Riberry both shine and again stand out individually, Proust displaying some pretty deft fretwork dancing on his bass as Riberry’sfills and cymbal crashes are well placed and timed.
Sunrise follows a similar, if not more rock path, as it builds slowly, but instead of going the heavy psych/dynamic route, it gives way to a driving, riff-y rocker. Hyenas At The Gates closes with the crackly, live-sounding, title track as Richard and an acoustic guitar hauntingly take us out. I would guess they recorded this in the previously mentioned barn. There’s a lot of cool echo effects on Richard‘s voice and he actually sounds ever so slightly like Dax Riggs. Hyenas At The Gates serves as a trippy, spacey closer to a dynamic, almost dizzying record.
An Endless Feast For Hyenas took a while for me to absorb as there’s a lot going on, but in a good way. All three musicians really show their skills on their respected instruments, all three really shining, especially Richard and Proust, so much so that it’s kind of hard to believe this is a debut album. It’s a fully realized, fully accomplished record made by three musicians who obviously know what they’re doing, and the sound they’re trying to achieve.
An Endless Feast For Hyenas sounds fantastic too, well-produced, well-recorded, retro, but warm, and, the band’s attempt at achieving an organic sound realized. I mean this record is worth it for Skeleton Void alone, but the whole album is great from start to finish. I can see why Heavy Psych Sounds signed Decasia, as they now seem to have found another addition to their already-stacked roster of killer bands.
Scribed by: Martin Williams