With a band name like Charge, you need a sound with a suitable intensity of energy and boldness to it, and that is exactly what the French metallers provide with debut album Sweet Lies. It is a storming onslaught of voracious and volatile rock ‘n’ roll, a multi-flavoured adventure which might have a few minor issues but provides a seriously exciting and potential soaked incitement. The band has been around since 2004 and have tucked a couple of EPs under their belts but Sweet Lies is their first thick nudge on appetites beyond the Paris and French rock scene, and makes a rousing invitation many will be compelled to eagerly embrace.
Forming around eight years ago, Charge quickly brought out the demo Ain’t My World, recorded with producer Francis Caste (Zuul FX, The ARRS) who returned to work with the band on their first official EP 8 Miles Away in 2009. It is fair to say both as well as a live presence dishing out adrenaline driven and raucously varied metal, brought potent attention and a swiftly growing fan base locally. The band’s line-up has been through a few changes since day one but now with the release of the album, vocalist/rhythm bassist Ravin, guitarist Sacha, drummer Loïc, and lead bassist Lionnel are now looking at broader spotlights to breach. Consisting of the songs from their EP and new tracks produced by Spirou (Bérurier Black), all mixed and mastered by Caste, Sweet Lies opens with a contagious riot and just does not look back.
From the first surge of the initial groove, the album and its opener Alone has ears and imagination hooked. The potent first breath is swiftly a surging torrent of bass riffs, thumping beats, and squalling sonic enticement, a magnetic start soon providing an inescapable onslaught of anthemic bait. Thrash and groove metal collude with heavy rock and punk essences in the now riotous affair, whilst vocally Ravin, though at times a little wayward, just fires up the gripping turbulence further. The union of basses brings a great growl to it all and provides rich depth to song and subsequently album though Charge does not exploit the opportunities they offer enough in some ways. With both openly skilfully played, the band never quite finds the experimental potential explored by for example Morkobot, but it is a dual attack sculpting thick irresistible bait and resourceful adventure as evidenced straight away by Fantasy.
The second song has a much more restrained start but one soaked in menace and predatory intent. The twin prowl of certainly not identical bass provides a bestial and sinisterly charming proposal pierced by the forceful jabs of Loïc and entwined in the just as rabidly delivered and resourcefully crafted sonic laces of guitar. Eventually the controlled stroll succumbs to a brewing intensity, erupting in a ferocious rampage but one easily slipping through the gears in all directions. There is an element of post punk to the colder acidic hooks and of nu-metal in the psyche enslaving devilry, everything coming together for one thrilling stomp.
Both 84 and That’s It keep album and emotions ablaze, the first merging raw elements of pop punk with melodic rock and more whilst turning each flavour into a cauldron of hostile and infectious endeavour. Its successor is even more contagious, bass and guitar grooves aligning with gripping hooks for a flowing tempting within the lure of the other growling almost carnivorous bass and the senses punishing beats. It also spins a weave of melodic and milder tempered exploits which adds to the irresistible romp before making way for the pungent drama and addictiveness of Just Want More. Also as punk as it is metal, Russian band Biting Elbows coming to mind at certain points, the track is a barbarous and wholly catchy incitement on ears and passions, and as the album just increases in potency and persuasion with every listen.
The sheer force and busy assaults of songs does at times hide the individual skill and invention of the band members, but each only impresses and shows a hungry imagination throughout even if, as suggested earlier, they have the potential to explore greater triumphs not quite realised here. With songs like the following One though, there are no complaints just more anticipation of their future. The track is a juggernaut of heavy duty riffs and towering beats insatiably rolling with the handbrake off over the senses. To that vocals scowl and roar with impressive potency whilst tangy grooves and even spicier hooks leap out from every corner and twist of the exceptional infestation of ears and emotions.
The epidemic lure and rampancy of the album continues with its title track, punk metal unleashed with addiction spawning relish and aggression but aligned to searing flames of sonic enterprise and the ever seducing blend of ravenous bass invention. Such the potency of its onslaught, even sitting down and listening to the album’s best song leaves exhaustion in its wake.
Sweet Lies is brought to a fine close by Ain’t My World, the most hostile and raw encounter on the release, though the band is as unpredictable as ever slipping slithers of melodic calm and warm melodic enticing into the hellacious storm with skilled efficiency and effect. It is a striking end to an outstanding release. There is often something familiar to songs with the encounter but as everything it only helps make tracks an adventure in recognising their source and in baiting a thick physical offering from the listener to its temptations.
Charge, if not through Sweet Lies, at some point will not be just a treat for the French to bask in and be battered by, though the invitation from this album really should be checked out now by all.