Spirit - Hommes Ou Diables

Spirit - Hommes Ou Diables

(CD, Emanes Metal Records, 2013)

There’s something special about French Metal and regardless of the style, there’s always a bit of an odd touch as compared to European Metal. It’s a bit like Eastern Metal that almost always have a very different feel to it, the melancholy and how harmonies are built. The French version is different in another way but almost as easily recognizable. French Metal tends to be rather rough and messy and this also applies to live performances. SPIRIT sing in French and even if they play rather straightforward, standard Heavy Metal, there’s something about them making them special.

“Hommes Ou Diables” is SPIRIT’s second full length album and eventually became a pleasant record to listen to. At first, the production and performance bummed me a bit because the sound is rather raw and basic, and especially Arnaud Ducrocq’s vocals have a very rough edge. It’s not out of tune, but not very melodic either. But the riffs and songs are rather cool and once I had gotten over the production and the songs started to settle in, “Hommes Ou Diables” became a good one. I like the drive that SPIRIT have in their music, especially in “Jerusalem” where the mix of melody and riffs sound very good. I guess it has a lot to do with the lyrics (that I don’t understand a bit) that make it so different. Despite the language barrier, the title track gets stuck with the melodic chorus-line but still, I prefer the heavier ones, like “Johannesburg” or “Le Klan”. And this is because they have the pure Heavy Metal feeling, while it feels that SPIRIT, at least for the title track, lean towards more modern sounds when the pace slows down.

I doubt this will go down easy for bigger audiences and even metalheads will have a hard time to get into “Hommes Ou Diables” due to the language and the primitive production but also due to the vocals that took a while for me to get used to. Sure, Chris Boltendahl (GRAVE DIGGER) and his alike singers also have a very rough voice, but his timbre is still more musical than Arnaud’s. Also, the guitar tone feels a bit sour on occasions. But the ones who will manage to look past all these and give SPIRIT’s “Hommes Ou Diables” a chance, might find some goodies; I did at least.





01. Vida Loca
02. Nouvel Ordre
03. Jerusalem
04. Fantomes
05. Gori
06. Hommes Ou Diables
07. Johannesburg
08. La Havane
09. Le Klan
10. Welcome To The Usa
11. Chasseur D'images


Arnaud Ducrocq - Vocals
Thierry Tripenne - Guitar, Vocals
Christophe Dedhin - Guitar
Christophe Tripenne - Bass
Jean François Chapelet - Drums