Friday, January 18, 2013

EP Review: Haut&Court - "La Vie"

Alright! That's enough of the soft stuff; let's get back to good old face-rippingly heavy shit! I'm gonna cut right to the chase here: I have some wicked crust punk for you guys today. Haut&Court.

Haut&Court (here on in referred to as H&C) are a young crust band from Strasbourg, France. By "young" I mean young. They're only a matter of months old, having formed sometime in June of 2012. Even then, they've been together for around only around six months, and they've already got an EP under their belts.

H&C are a bit more involved than your standard crust/ hardcore band. They fuse in mathcore-esque odd time signatures and dissonace into their music like nobody's business, all without making things too inaccessible or unlistenable. Instead of that, the math elements add a nice, fresh character to the bands traditional crust punk sound.

Musically, things are as crushing and brutal, as is expected. Thick, heavily distorted guitars blare out with riffs whose notes collide and bleed into each other as well as quick technical passages that really catch you by surprise. The riffs are generally simple but memorable; the classic "caveman" style of playing popularized by S.O.D.'s Scott Ian. There is actually no bassist in H&C, which is absolutely mindblowing, because their guitarist, Bernard has dialed in an absolutely killer tone. It's thick and rich enough that it covers up all the sonic space that most guitarists leave open for their bassists to fill, without making the guitar sound like a bunch of wet farts. I have no idea what amps and pedals that he uses, but holy shit is he using them right.

The drumming is something I find a lot of enjoyment out of on La Vie. Drummer Ravind keeps things chugging along between mid paced madness and high octane fury. He can turn on a dime, starting and stopping for those couple jerky riffs that pop up here and there. He can shred with the best of them too, cranking out breakneck blasts and wicked double bass across the album, as well as the ever popular D-beat, a drum beat guilty of causing worldwide moshalepsy.

The vocals are really something interesting for me. While most bands that play hardcore or some offshoot/ subgenre of hardcore usually change up the music but keep the traditional hardcore vocals, Arnaud sounds like he's got a hybrid voice between Jacob Bannon of Converge's lowest growls and a late '80s death metal  vocalist. It's a really punishing combo that makes for some absolutely awesome vocals.

Production is as expected on an album this crusty. Everything is warm, thick, and rough around the edges. The guitars and drums sound massive, as do the vocals, which is really impressive on Arnaud's part, because I can't hear any layering or multi-tracking to his vocal lines.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Let it Burst, Colision, Wasted Time for Wasted Minds

On a Playlist With: Gaza, Barlow, Converge's heaviest material

Overall Score


In Haut&Court's incredibly small time together, they've managed to make a brutal, skull-crushing EP. La Vie beats the shit out of your ears with it's filthy crust punk attitude and keeps you on your toes with it's little bouts of mathcore chaos.

Visit Haut&Court on Bandcamp, Facebook, and Twitter.

That's all for now, folks!


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