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H-Bomb > Attaque > Reviews
H-Bomb - Attaque

Overlooked, But Upper Echelon French Heavy Metal - 83%

DeathRiderDoom, January 11th, 2014

While not necessarily known for being the hotbed of metal that neighbouring Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands are, the French aren’t without some phenomenal bands. In the classic scene we have the almost unparalleled Sortilege - a band of godlike talent and status, with the excellent Blaspheme and prolific ADX rounding out the ‘Three Musketeers’ or scene-leading bands of the period. Slightly lesser known though, are some further noteworthy acts, such as the celebrated Warning, the obscure Steel Angel and the speedy Vulcain. With such a quality crop, a newcomer could be forgiven for thinking all French metal was some sort of miraculous anomaly, whereby every band in the country is of some remarkable standard. For a while after my initial foray, I was close to thinking as much. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, but this upper crust of bands really is a strong class, and i’d sit H-Bomb, with this excellent full-length, up there with the big boys. There are actually some fairly crappy bands from the French scene with the commercially successful Trust, being a notable stain on the scene. This really is the essential band once you’ve discovered the the Three Musketeers, and the full length offering Attaque is a punchy, consistent record absolutely worthy of its noteworthy reputation among the metal underground.

H-Bomb’s sound on here is a great traditional metal variety, with a good degree of heaviness, fantastic song craftsmanship, catchiness, great riffs, solid production, neat choruses, and overall a very well flowing, professional, polished and memorable feel. The songs are really well thought out. While you have your faster cuts, and your mid-pacers, things on here are solid and all seem to have these really cool riffs and a high degree of catchiness. Solid old school metal for beer drinking and fists in the air action. ‘Crache et Crève’ for instance, is typical in that it starts with one of these memorable, cool intro riffs, then gets to work crafting mid paced catchiness with neat vocals and guitars. ‘Fou Sanguinaire’ is a lovable track for the same reasons. Our vocalist does a solid job throughout, with loud energetic shreiks and calls, those smooth sounding French vocal harmonies, and there is just such a well constructed mixture of organically flowing riffs and leads - seriously polished and well directed songwriting in general. This is above average stuff. Fou Sanguinaire has a great chorus with fantastic vocals whereby Didier Izard evinces a lot of power and attitude with his hoarse, driven aggression and melody. ‘Substance Mort’ is a ripping pacy number that again opens with a cool, simple intro riff - again super memorable and catchy - and rips into well crafted action with a neat, simple chorus. These songs really get stuck in your head - a testament to their quality in flow and the talents of the songwriters. H Bomb definitely doesn’t have the most original or mindblowing solos, but the songs all flow so well, with the guitars being effective and natural feeling, through the various passages. The vocals may not match that of the inimitable ‘Zouille’ either (a feat that is seldom equalled), but the vocals of Izard are solid and powerful. In any case, the crisp, professional production job on this one really helps toward a final product which sounds crisp, and enjoyable - a solid balance between the instruments is apparent, guitars smooth and rockin’.

While this record is a very solid, high calibre outing, testifying to a talented band better than the majority of French rivals, H-Bomb are arguably overshadowed by Sortilege, Blaspheme and ADX. Firstly, they *should* be overshadowed by Sortilege - everyone should. Sortilege is one of the greatest traditional metal bands of the 80s, worldwide. But H-Bomb, with this solid full length are never frequently absent from discussion of French metal of the 80s. Arguably this is due to their less prolific discog. Besides this offering, they offered up a debut EP in ‘83 as did Sortilege, as well as another in ‘86 - arguably being drowned out by the more industrious ADX, and Blaspheme with their more numerous outings. In my opinion, this should be the only reason to leave H-Bomb off the cards - don’t get me wrong, the aforementioned three scene leading bands are all fantastic artists worthy of note, but H-Bomb is pretty close to as good, and definitely derserving of a slightly bigger audience. The boys churn out a charming record here that’s tough enough, flows well and is just really likeable and well written. Don’t contribute to the heinous crime of overlooking this great band, go grab this record now.