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Ellipse – A Nos Traitres
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Ellipse – A Nos Traitres

French band Ellipse, have unleashed their newest album citing influence from metalcore legends Killswitch Engage, djent overlords Periphery and hardcore kings The Ghost Inside. All these influences sounds like an interesting mix for fans of heavy music. But do they earn a place with their influences, amongst the greats?

The A Nos Traîtres opens with the tension-building I, with an ominous, delayed pattern which builds straight into Calvaire. The energy is present, the power and deliverance of the punishing drums and dark guitars slides into Metalcore riffing. The instrumentals are some of the coolest hardcore riffs I’ve heard, focusing on neither groove nor melody, but the relationship between them. Il is a beautiful instrumental break creating a calm space between the heaviness as a moment of intermission. The title track A Nos Traîtres follows, slamming you with the hardcore grooves.

The vocals here will be a tipping point. They are almost entirely harsh vocals from the female lead vocalist, and they try their best to capture the mood of the instruments. The growls are pretty brutal and guttural which a lot of female vocalists don’t manage, but here Claire does very well. Her screams are a little different, not quite matching the smackdown of her auditory surroundings; the screams seem to be the weaker side to her voice which makes it a shame she focuses on it for the majority of the album. The lyrics are inaudible throughout, there are almost no moments where you can hear clear words, just a long selection of different screams. This is always an issue for bad harsh vocalists, and with bands like Born of Osiris/ Veil of Maya or Periphery with very clear screams, there is value in hearing them.

The instruments really bring the music to life here, the post-hardcore riffing and melodies are fast and tight enough to deliver some intense energy, and emotional breadth. The bass is tasty, the guitars have the right tone for the genre, and it all sounds well-arranged and mixed. They have a Breaking Benjamin, Iona Grove vibe to them, creating some beautiful harmonies cut together with heaviness in a very accessible and interesting way.

I cannot recommend this if vocals are important to you, but as a technical/ instrumental feat, it’s definitely worth checking out. Tracks like Ruines and La Chute are beautiful, ruined by a vocalist who’s simply not at their level. An instrumental version of A Nos Traîtres would go down very well in the prog-metal scene, and so we now wait for that day with open arms.