Title: La chaleur nous accable
From the opening track, “La violence”, it’s clear that France’s Coven have something special. Although this is their debut record, they sound incredibly accomplished both in their song writing and playing.
After a short, subdued intro, the group burst into a huge, epic crescendo, before retreating back into more forlorn subtlety, only to rise again into another emotional peak. This is a theme repeated many times over the course of the EP and though the band has found a formula that works for them, it never sounds stale or boring.
Second track “Cortege de faim” introduces some clean(er) vocals to the mix, providing juxtaposition to the sonic tapestry that keeps the listener’s attention and helps provide depth to the cathartic, gang vocal led climax.
By third track, “Detruis les cartes”, it’s clear that Coven know their strengths, but keep finding ways to introduce new elements from across the spectrum of punk and hardcore, as two-step beats and youth crew chants bolster shimmering post-punk guitar work, before delicate melodies over understated drumming fade the track to a stop, only to erupt into another soaring culmination.
“Marasame”, the shortest of the record, offers a brief respite from the intensity, with the anguished screamed vocals buried under sparse and beautiful melodies that create an ethereal atmosphere until final track “La pluie” concludes the onslaught.
The final track offers more variety in terms of tempo, with frenzied drumming punctuating the tremolo guitars before the band calm things down for a final time, with compression squeezing the instrumentation while a sample plays, until the gang vocals return to create a huge and abrupt finale to La chaleur nous accable.
To say that this record keeps you guessing the whole time would be disingenuous, but the band have enough tricks up their sleeve to keep things interesting to the point it never becomes totally predictable. With both their quieter and louder sides exhibiting real complexity and competency, this is a record that doesn’t repeat itself. While the vocals and instrumentation on this record are flawless, where Coven really shines is in their dynamics. Their gentleness combined with their heaviness is what makes La chaleur nous accable an exciting and captivating screamo record.