Review: “Self Titled” by Sangheilis

Inspired largely by the American and International scene in the Metalcore, DJent, Deathcore and Nu-Metal registers and citing everything from Chimaira to Northlane from Venom Prison to Type O Negative as an influence, Sangheilis are a band that raise eyebrows in their genre shifting. They hail from Rouen in France and formed in 2013 with their debut EP “Awakening” appearing in 2016. Since then there has been a line-up shift with Julien Larcheveque (Guitar) and Médérik Henin (Bass) exiting stage left, however the core remains intact with Victor Bourgais (Guitar), Hugo Couder (Vocals) and Florian Lelièvre Chapo (Drums) now joined by Mathieu (Guitar) and Tristan (Bass). They take their name from The Sangheili (Latin: Macto cognatus, meaning “I honor my father’s blood“), one of the main enemies in the Halo Universe, a reptilian-like alien race of fierce, proud, strong, agile, intelligent warriors and skilled combat tacticians. Sangheili are named after their home planet, Sanghelios. Known to Humans as Covenant Elites…

When bands release a self titled record, it’s often said that it represents the bands sound as they see it going forward. Rarely is that actually the case and that’s largely because bands write over time and their style changes as the writers change as people. If every album a band wrote sounded the same, then life would be really boring. An image of finesse, brutality, harmony and orchestration are said to be watch words of Sangheilis, which makes this new release a mouthwatering affair. Introduction piece “Valhalla” sees synths blended with programmed drums that sets a tone but seems a little bit raw and unpolished. Those synth patterns remain behind the scenes of “Until The End” and while the segue between the two tracks isn’t as seamless as it could be, the later is something of an anthem. As a first track proper, it shows off the bands capabilities, bringing some familiar sounding Metalcore moments and some fresh ideas. Switching into Groove Metal territory with some satisfying riffs “Beyond Errors” has plenty of bark and bite with Couder able to produce some Death Metal roars if he should so choose. The spoken word atmospheric parts is the only place that you hear his accent coming through, the band have a distinctly European sound, despite their US influences. Gang chants in “Mindless” are a nice surprise with Couder adding some Deathcore vocal depth on a track that should go down as a live favorite with the vocal chant ability. It’s a stomp-a-thon through sections of staccato riffage but manages to shoehorn in a Tool esq moment with a bass drive that is as fun as it is unexpected and the leads in the final third are monstrous. “Beastkiller” is a much more challenging listen, it’s unhinged clean sung moments becoming something you might not appreciate the first few times around, the compensation for that is Couder offering up some David Draiman inspired moments mid track. There is the sense that Sangheilis have tried to do something different with this one, injecting some In Flames isms and while some of it works initially and will no doubt work live, the rest takes some getting used to. Saving the best until last “Apocalypse” works much better with the Melodic Death Metal characteristics and a couple of random rap screamed lines adding to the experimental aspect. As a varied listen this EP works really well, it may serve as a gateway release for fans to broaden their horizons [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Valhalla
  2. Until The End
  3. Beyond Errors
  4. Mindless
  5. Beastkiller
  6. Apocalypse

Sangheilis” by Sangheilis will be released on 25th September 2020 via Music-Records

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