|Album Rating: A|
Forceps is not for the faint of heart. It's hard to even categorize the band's sound as punk or hardcore. A more fitting description would be dark, violent noise. With members from other French hardcore acts like Birds In Row, Calvaiire borrow thrashy powerviolence inspiration from bands like Despise You. That sound is retooled with the technical hardcore stylings of contemporaries like Loma Prieta, but mushed between an emotional throatshredding ala Orchid and Pg. 99. The constant shift in time signatures and live production should resonate with the mathcore Botch crowd and wrapped altogether, it sounds like a perverted Converge blueprint gone wrong. Despite lyrics that are written completely in French, the gnarled vocal approach doesn't even seem to matter. The kitchen-sink genre-orgy blurs any kind of language barrier, which presents Forceps as what is is: truly emotional, pissed-off hardcore.
The album greets you with a slap in the face, spitting feedback and erecting a wall of noise right in front of you with "Foi Borgne". The live tracking and raw mastering definitely accents the music, turning up the squeals and chunking guitars into a deafening sludge. Songs will soar at full-speed, then sputter down and crash into a trudge of mud-caked clockwork. Notes ring out as reverb hugs the drums which pump slowly in the background, like on the haunting "Equarrissage."
The diossnant pickings on "Aux Porcs" call to mind Deathwish artists like Oathbreaker while the punkier, fastcore moments in "Simulacre" and "Suture" are likened to moments on a Punch album. "Meurtrières" is a spiral of destruction as the album collapses in on itself, abruptly cutting off a repetition at its least vulnerable moment. The rest of the album fills in the cracks – some faster, some sludgier – but the songs are never predictable.
The music that bands like Calvaiire make fits into a special niche. It's raw and intense, and hardly accessible to a wide branch of the public that dwells on top 40 and mainstream rock and country. Forceps is so rough that some fans of heavier music may find it a little too harsh, and that's fine. But if noisy abrasive hardcore is your thing, Forceps is like a vacation.
Forceps is out now on Throatruiner Records, and you can click here to download it for free. Preorders are up here for CDs, vinyl and tapes, as well as streaming. Calvaiire have created a truly indispensible heavy record for the fourth quarter of this year that deserves to be heard, so there's no reason why you shouldn't download Forceps and break your neck in a marathon of listens.
1. Foi Borgne
4. Atra Billis
5. Aux Porcs
8. Via Dolorosa