LANDMVRKS – Fantasy / Turned Up Louder
Sophomore albums: it’s make or break, right? After a two-week delay, Marseilles-based LANDMVRKS (formerly COLDSIGHT) have dropped their all-important second album, ‘Fantasy’. Considering their debut album ‘Hollow’ (2016) was self-produced and released independently, it was received well by fans and critics alike. They were excellent at what they did, however the sound was quite generic, as we see in so many debut albums, making ‘Fantasy’ doubly important in giving the band a true identity. When the album artwork was released, it was clear that this was a priority to the band. Signed to Arising Empire Records, LANDMVRKS have matured in their sound and have been able to lend talent from Florestan Durand (guitar, Novelists), Aaron Matts (vocals, Betraying The Martyrs) and Camille Contreras (vocals, Bliss Sigh).
They’ve succeeded in honing in on their sound, which resembles music from modern American metalcore bands such as Beartooth and I Prevail, yet has several unique twists. Low growls and djenty breakdowns give the record a more metal edge amongst the posthardcore moments such as ‘The Worst Of You And Me’, and the bouncier tracks like single ‘Scars’ (ft. Flo Durand). Vocalist Florent Salfati showcases his brilliant cleans, screams and low growls in English despite the members’ first language being French, and shakes tracks up with universal ‘ooh’s, ‘uh’s and ‘blegh’s. Tracks 5 and 6, ‘Blistering’ and ‘False Reality’, build the heaviness up, the former sporting a pre-breakdown ‘Motherfucker!’ and a breakdown which only ends as the song fades out. Then comes ‘Reckoning’, ft. Aaron Matts. The band make use of the extra talent by layering his vocals with Salfati’s, a wise use of guest vocals, and executed perfectly.
After this point, the album loses momentum. ‘Alive’ is slow and emotional, with Camille Contreras providing half of a duet rather than guest vocals. It’s somewhat touching but jarring as it feels randomly placed. ‘Dead Inside’ picks up the pace too quickly, whilst ‘Kurhah’ feels like an unnecessary interlude leading to a disappointing end. ‘Disdain’ is fine, but doesn’t stand out, with an atmospheric close tacked onto the end lengthening the song and contributing to the feeling of lack of flow.
Although the last few songs don’t particularly stand out, this album contains some brilliant tracks for –core fans, bringing together talent from the overlooked French metalcore scene. ‘Fantasy’ provides decent singles, and despite the seemingly rushed ending it’s clear that they’ve gained much more of a collective personality.