Review: Hazardeur – Rational Gaze

Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Released: May 1st, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Global Conquest – Recent Releases

When I think of progressive death metal, there’s two sets of groups that come to mind: French titans Gojira and Gorguts, which don’t use many symphonic elements; and early Opeth and Ne Obliviscaris, which feature all kinds of orchestration. Hazardeur joins the Frenchmen in the non-orchestral category. If that interests you (as it should), stop reading and just listen to this.

The debut effort (!) from Hazardeur is absolutely loaded with fantasic riffs and top-notch drumming that doesn’t overshadow the rest of the album’s sound. The production mix is crisp. I can’t think of any major flaws, other than the fact that some songs tend to meander a little bit, becoming a little too long as a result of their own creative process.

If it’s possible to pick the best songs on here, I’d start with “Voices Of The Devious,” with varying tempos ranging from slow to blistering. There’s a riff during the faster sections which surfaces a couple times that is utterly stellar. “Destined To Deceive” is a crushing number once you get past the short intro. “The Sixth Great Wave” is another nice track that has some swift riffs and blast beats.

Out of the other songs, the only ones that didn’t fully garner my attention were “Manipulating The Unconscious,” the album’s longest track which boasts a more traditional structure. “God Of Our Times,” despite being shorter, has a similar flaw. I consider these to be minor nitpicks in the grand scheme of things.

As an added bonus, the lyrics are easily understandable. Many songs deal with global political issues while not necessarily being partisan to one side or the other (read: Megadeth to the right, Ministry to the left); plugging in Napalm Death lyrics in place of Hazardeur’s would yield a similar result.

This is one of the rare albums in which I consider it very likely that others will pick a song that I wouldn’t have ranked in my top three as one of their favorites, and I’d say “You know what? That makes a lot of sense.” This should appeal to a wide spectrum of metal fans, and as of now I consider this to be among the best albums of the year with potential to ascend even higher.

Overall: I would expect to see Hazardeur drawing a big crowd at European metal festivals within the next two years.

Rating: 4.0*

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