Band: Novelists FR
Album: C’est La Vie
Label: Sharptone Records
Location: Paris, France
FFO: Northlane, While She Sleeps, Erra
Novelists broke into 2020 with the definition of a metalcore album. All the elements required within the genres field are put forth 10 fold throughout each song here. The opening track “Somebody Else” instantly reminds me of another artist though. The guitar tone and play style is very reminiscent of instrumental band Polyphia. Within 20 seconds it breaks into a more full riff, sounding more like their own sound. It’s in this first verse you get a good taste of the clarity in their production. Their production has actually never been bad, but the focus has shifted more towards the vocals. Matt manages to keep his screams just as strong and his singing just as smooth as any Novelist fan is used to.
The first song that stands out amongst the rather generic sound is Lilly. It begins with a rap style vocal. Not something I was expecting. And although different, not something I can say I enjoyed. It is followed up by one of my favorite tracks though - Modern Slave. It has everything I love in a metalcore song. Very catchy chorus, cool breakdown, and a well put together solo. The title track “C’est La Vie” is placed after to settle the dust with the most laid back tune on the album. The feature, Camille Contreras has a stunning voice on this song that fits the vibe well. Fast forward to another favorite of the album, Kings of Ignorance. With a spacey start, it blasts into a heavy riff by the 25 second mark. Instantly making it one of the harder songs on the album. It’s sad that this is one of the shortest songs because it is truly the most exciting. Florent Salfati brings a different energy to the song that kicks it up even more. My favorite feature on the album out of the four that there are. Even though there are only 9 songs on this LP, it comes in at 37 minutes. With the way these songs are put together, that leaves a pretty good pacing across the board. The album finishes with nothing too special. Just another song that can be compared to the rest.
“C’est La Vie” translates to “That’s Life”. The title does what an album name should; allude to the theme of the songs on it. The music is interesting enough to have multiple listen throughs, each time catching more on to the messages of the songs. This album may have an all around good message to it behind the usual groovy riffs, but I can’t say it tops or even matches their previous effort “Noir”. The opening song to their second LP alone has what I see to be more poetic writing. The overall project feels bigger. The pacing to C’est La Vie matches Noir’s quality at least. But Noir is longer, and seems to have more effort put into each song. More sounds to listen in on such as the saxophone in “Monochrome”. Whereas on this new LP, the only turn a song might take is yet another reverb driven ambient break. The songs on Noir seem to have more of an identity and know what they want to be.
C’est La Vie is not a bad record. But it is, just another metalcore album. At the end of the day, that is the one truly negative thing that holds this record back. I applaud Novelists for sticking to their roots and still making good work, but from what I heard, there’s nothing innovative or new going on. Which I think is a very important thing to have nowadays. It is what keeps this album from being it’s best it can be.
Strongest Song: Modern Slave, Kings of Ignorance