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Hangman's Chair: A Loner

Hangman's Chair are a doom metal band from Paris, France. Their new album entitled A Loner, is scheduled to be released on February 11 via Nuclear Blast.

It’s not often that I’d start a review with a comment on the album art, however in this case it believe it is noteworthy - the album’s cover art is stark - A white washed scene of an old man hunched over in a bus shelter is contrast with the album title ablaze in vivid Neon lettering. Whilst this isn’t the typical doom metal album cover (imagery of Satan ripping on a bong?!), the imagery has a sense of hopelessness, with a modern metropolitan twist, that compliments the aesthetic of the music well.

I was previously unfamiliar with Hangman’s Chair, but after listening to this album and some of their previous work I would say they have a relatively ‘signature’ style when it comes to constructing songs. They’ll often have one guitar plucking chorus-soaked chords or playing a atmospheric lead melody, whilst the 2nd guitar and rhythm section anchor the song with a down tuned groove/dirge. In some respects, their approach shares some similarities to Pallbearer, albeit Hangman’s Chair bring more of a modern sound to the table. Cédric Toufout’s vocals are really strong. I would suggest that the strength of his vocals is arguably the reason that they are signed to a major label such as Nuclear Blast.

The album itself is quality from top to tail - I don’t feel the need to skip any tracks on the release. Whilst I enjoy the entire album it must be said that it has such a consistent sonic palate that the songs can almost blur into one if I’m not paying attention. It’s hard to pick standout tracks due to the stylistic similarities throughout the release. However, if I had to pick, the strongest track on the album is probably the opener “An Ode To Breakdown”. The band state that this track represents their new stylistic direction well and I would agree that it is a good representation of the album generally.

Reflecting on this album’s sound some more, I might not have even called the album ‘Doom’ if I hadn’t read the accompanying press release. The band’s sound actually reminds me a little bit of another French band; Klone. Klone play an emotive brand of atmospheric, Progressive Rock. In a lot of ways that’s what I’m hearing on this release (rather than pure ‘Doom’). However, with that said the tempos are slow and the mood and lyrical themes are dark so I can see how the doom tag can fit too.

This album is a strong release and well worth checking out. If you’re not usually a Doom fan, don’t let the Doom tag put you off as there is a significant amount of melody in the tracks. This release should appeal to most fans of rock and metal.

Track List:
1. An Ode To Breakdown
2. Cold & Distant
3. Who Wants To Die Old
4. Storm Resounds
5. Supreme
6. The Pariah And The Plague
7. Loner
8. Second Wind
9. A Thousand Miles Away

Added: January 27th 2022
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 539
Language: english

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