Meurtrières – “Meurtrières” EP (Gates Of Hell Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Definitely different and striking, with over 2 decades playing in punk and hardcore bands, this French medieval metal band take it right back to beginning of the 80s and especially Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut! Fronted by femme fatale Fleur, whose clean, soaring power touched by a hint of punk neurosis has to be heard to be believed, this frantic 5 track debut EP is nothing short of intense, if no less lacking in epic glory and a chivalrous romanticism vividly depicted by the rich, Middle Ages cover art. With a classic, no frills NWOBHM guitar sound equally inspired by early French bands like Sortilège, the twin axes of Flo Spector and Olivier are constantly working, whether churning out catchy riffs, galloping out Maiden style, or ceaselessly stealing your heart through plenty of unforgettable medieval melodies. Backed by a matching rhythm in bassist Xavier and drummer Thomas, whose excitable drum and cymbal work entertain with panache, the material is performed with a knightly purity of heart despite its self-financed and self-produced DIY approach. With thundering drums and catchy medieval passion, the swashbuckling riffs to ‘Alientor’, complete with Steve Harris twanging bass form the crucible from which Fleur’s high, wailing voice exudes an instant lure, especially when she screams ‘..En Garde!..’, proving that French is indeed the sexiest language around! Exploding on ‘La Fille Du Cerbère’, it’s even more intense with the catchy riffs sinking their teeth in, while the combination of flowing medieval melodies and Maiden warbling are contrasted superbly by Fleur’s highly strung singing and incredible resonating power. Not letting up on the overpowering ‘Rosae Bellum’, the delivery is thick and fast in its NWOBHM attack, while classily offset by slower, epic passages all the while graced by those deep medieval melodies and not forgetting Fleur’s frantic vocal delivery, which is ceaseless throughout. C’est formidable!