It seems that ROBESPIERRE apart of being a dominant figure in the French urban revolution, is also the name of a deeply obscure band of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, known only to the ultra die-hards of the genre. All these until a couple of years ago, when Buried by Time and Dust Records released their demo collection and made them known to a larger audience.
And what usually follows a demo, is a full-length album, and ROBESPIERRE (at least 2/3rds of the original band) didn’t deviate from this approach. The came back together and recorded some new tracks for their debut album. I don’t know if the songs are new compositions or leftovers and frankly, little I care. What’s important is the music itself and ROBESPIERRE‘s album is quite peculiar.
The band prides itself in being one of the heaviest bands of their time time, but I cannot see how is this justified. They are neither as heavy as VENOM, nor as fast as RAVEN. Instead, they are drawing influences from bands like WITCHFYNDE, BLACK SABBATH, early DEMON, WITCHFINDER GENERAL etc. This means that there are loads of heavy riffs, some fast and some mid tempo songs and an eerie occult atmosphere floating around. And everything would be fine if the compositions were a little more bit interesting.
Although the sound is quite reminiscent of that certain era, the songs are quite blatant: most of them sound like filler tracks taken from a 80’s compilation album, not to mention they seem rushed and poorly developed. The vocals carry through the songs, but sometimes they sound they could be more fitting to a a punk band (to get what I mean just listen to the opening track “Punish Oppressors”) and the guitar leads are oversimplified for this kind of music. There are a couple of great ideas here and there (for example the magnificent “Dwelling in the Shadows” or the song “The Black Mirror”) which could turn out to be great songs but something is missing. The rest of the songs are mostly uninteresting, apart from some sparse good moments (“Men of Violence” or “Feed the Fire”).
Don’t get me wrong, “Garden of Hell” would be a great album if it was recorded back in the 80’s and was released today as a reissue. But since we’re talking about a new album, then we need to understand that it needs more than a couple of good songs to stand out the masses. However, I am pretty sure that they will find their audience, therefore there is no point in grumbling here.