Metal is a language that spoken worldwide. That said you never know where the next cool band will come from. Enter Paris, France’s Yorblind. Obviously, there are many great metal bands from France, like Gojira (DUH!), Dagoba, Gorod, and Betraying the Martyrs, but this is my first exposure to Yorblind. Formed in Paris in late 2002 by guitarist Michael Bry, Yorblind have already released two full-length albums, “Melancholic Souls” in 2005 and “Reflexions” in 2010. Like many bands, Yorblind has had their share of lineup changes over the years. The most recent is the addition of vocalist Rash Roberts. He made his debut with the group on their recently released third full-length album “Blind…But Alive,” March 13, 2015 via Klonosphere Records.
Opening track ‘Blind…’ is about two minutes of introduction into Yorblind’s new sound. The record permeates with a groove the band has not had before. When you are blasted by ‘I Am Not,’ you will know what I mean. A riff heavy track with Raf Pener of T.A.N.K. helping Roberts on vocals, it has little flecks of electronic beeps and buzzes in the last minute of the track like mosquito’s dive bombing the mic. ‘The Scapegoat’ is more of the same with little patches of speed dropped in. Roberts again has a partner in vocals, this time in Cyd Chassagne of Magoa. Those electronic swishes are back also, this time peppered throughout the song. ‘The Exploited’ gives us another guest vocalist, Julien Da Silva of Lokurah, and more groove heavy riffs. ‘The Self Centered’ starts out murky, but finds its punch quickly thereafter. This track and the next, ‘The Master,’ are two of the few tracks that there are not any guest musicians on. ‘Genesis’ brings a growling vocal to the groove with Krys Denhez of Mur helping out on vocals. ‘The Teacher’ opens almost like a Judas Priest song, but then flows into another heavy, stomping groove. Cyd Chassagne helps again with vocals on this track. Closing track ‘…But Alive,’ is another instrumental. It guests Mathieu Pascal of Gorod and Antoine Marais on lead guitars. The track does not feel like and ending, as much as an interlude between passages.
The difference in Roberts’ vocals could be the reason for some of the stylistic changes found on “Blind…But Alive.” Gone are most of the guttural growls and blackened shrieks, replaced by rage-filled yells and tuned screams. Also gone are most of the blast beats and “traditional” death metal themes. This version of Yorblind is less old At The Gates, and more version 2 of The Haunted with Peter Dolving, and much more. If my first exposure to Yorblind had been one of their previous albums, I probably would not have thrown them on the pile with a hundred other melodeath bands. However, with the addition of more melody and a heavy dose of groove, this new version has me paying a lot more attention.