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Review: 'Fiend'

-  Label: 'Deadlight Entertainment'
-  Genre: 'Heavy Metal' -  Release Date: '7th December 2018'

Our Rating:
Parisienne stoner / doom ensemble Fiend have some pedigree, with Heitham Al-Sayed (guitar / vocals) having played with Senser and Lodestar, Michel Bassin (lead guitar and synths) is formerly of Tremponem Pal and Ministry, and Nicolas Zivkovich, credited with providing bass, screams, and keyboards is formerly of Les Tigres Du Futur.

The seven tracks on offer here bear little resemblance to any of their previous acts, and are very much about the slow burn – as one would expect from any exemplar of the genre. But then again, the slow trudge is accelerated by some thunderous cyclical percussion, and the vocals are very much closer to a snarling industrial howl of Al Jourgensen – but then again, the hefty stoner vibe that drifts through ‘Morning Star’ hints at Melvins in the slower passages. And the sludgy, driving riffs certainly hark back to 80s Melvins, taking the Sabbath template and twisting it, trashing it, driving it int a satanic sludge in the process.

It’s no criticism that Fiend make five-minute tracs sound like fifteen: it’s more a credit to their capacity to slow and bow time as their riffs trudge on – and on.

‘Pillars’ builds a heavy, hypnotic thrum, the downtuned guitars melting into the deep throb of the distorted bass to forge a dense slab of sound, and the Hawkwind-meets-Ministry blast of ‘Vessels’ is nothing if not full-tilt. Likewise ‘5thCIRCUITS’ which hits raging punk metal abrasion and piledrives through at a hundred miles an hour, before tripping off on a tangent with some wild organ action. We’re talking stoner with a twist of speed here.

It’s on the final brace of tracks, the nine-minute ‘aCROWNofBIRDS’ paired with the thirteen-minute ‘The Gate’. Together, they bring all the weight. Bringing the tempo down to a larval crawl, they spiral into a kaleidoscopic riffinity. And while they do ultimately drive home a quintessential stoner / doom album, Fiend demonstrate a capacity for exploring other avenues, which moves ‘Seeress’ beyond the realms of the standard genre template, and it’s all the stronger and more exciting for it.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Fiend - Seeress