ESB / Fantastikol Hole - Split-CD

29 songs
48:02 minutes
***** **

ESB / Fantastikol Hole

With only the tracklists and a short info sheet at my disposal, it’s not that easy to come up with words for this split-CD between the two French extreme metal band ESB and Fantastikol Hole. The first half hour presents us twelve songs from ESB for whom this seems to be the first release. On the surface, things seem still rather unpolished and chaotic, but underneath it is obvious that they are working fervently on their own style which lies somewhere between grindcore, math metal and everything Mike Patton inspired. A sick sense of humour, forays into melodic territories, real live drums and even flirting with experimental sounds makes their half hour a promising start into the music world. Fantastikol Hole were reviewed already with their debut album two years ago, leaving an overall very good impression. This time they attack us with seventeen songs in just as many minutes. I would have preferred slightly longer tracks, because the brevity of their compositions paired with a slightly indistinct production make it hard to discern the intricacies for which they received so much praise for their debut. The programmed drum beats add a layer of clinical coldness that also take a little of the band’s energy, compared to the more organic sounding half hour of ESB.

I remain with seven points, being positively surprised at the wide array of influences processed in ESB’s sound and a little disappointed at Fantastikol Hole who couldn’t quite convince me as in the past. Friends of intelligent grind noise should nonetheless risk an ear or two at this two promising extreme bands from France.

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