It is not exactly shocking these days to run into a band that blends a variety of metal styles into its music. The odd MESHUGGAH time signatures and the schizophrenic pace-changes are staples of a seemingly ever-growing movement. France's HACRIDE have created an album in "Deviant Current Signal" that mixes Swedish melodic death and thrash metal with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD histrionics and (of course) the occasional MESHUGGAH rhythm oddity. It is an album that demonstrates the band's impressive chops and is an interesting listening, even if I do not find it to be shining with brilliance or (for the most part) overflowing with originality.
The compositions are filled with spastic outbursts, given reprieve by brief touches of atmospherics, and the occasional proggy solo. Samuel Bourreau's vocals are harsh and barely decipherable, the guy obviously not concerned with easing up on the throttle. As jarring as things get, I never found any of it to be distracting or annoying, an indication that the band paid some attention to flow. The textures are often coarse and the programmed elements are there for accent purposes. Rather than focusing too much on the unpredictable, songs like "Flesh Lives On" move effectively from AT THE GATES thrash to slower, groovier parts before blasting off into a more unorthodox universe. A saxophone part on "Protect" offers the album's most memorable moment.
HACRIDE is a band with a bright future. That said, groups like TEXTURES come off more confident, even more cutting edge, than HACRIDE. That is not a slight against "Deviant Current Signal" and I fully expect many fans of non-traditional metal to get something out of the album. The band members' command of their instruments is unequivocally strong as well. While I find myself nodding in approval as the album plays, a feeling of basic satisfaction with several captivating parts present, the album as a whole does not suck me back in when it is over. That counts more than virtuosity or experimentation.