vendredi 7 janvier 2022



picture by Marie-Eve Scarey

I discovered Faze very recently with their latest release, the Content EP on 11pm records (I'll talk about it below), and I seized the occasion to dig into the Canadian band's discography. These guys seem to love skateboarding in summer and playing in loud bands in winter (and probably all year long for that matter), bands like the French-oi!-oriented Béton Armé and the noisy hardcore punk CPU Rave (demo and tape).
Oh yes and they've been playing together since 2015 or something like that, so yes it's been a while already. 

 So it all started with this 4-track tape released on Runstate Tapes in 2016 whose psychedelic artwork is full of acid-infused promises, but fortunately appearances can be deceiving and, as astonishing as it may sound, Faze's very far from being a Jefferson Airplane clone or an Austin Powers tribute band (or vice versa).

Faze play some kind of mid-tempo punk with a lot of reverb on the vocals and a bit less on the guitar, which may make some think of some kind of a "psyche" twist but is, to me, more reminiscent of death-rock-infused punk bands like Rudimentary Peni and the like. Ok Faze doesn't sound like Rudimentary Peni, the bass sounds hardcore and they definitely fit in the attitude of that end of the punk spectrum but listen to No Loss and you'll get what I mean.
It's pretty cool but a bit slow innit? Not so heavy either so this first release sits a bit on the fence, definitely showing a very strong potential that could be expressed more openly.
Thankfully Nothing Left, the closing song, adopts a faster tempo which bodes well for the future.

Hehe things start getting really interesting with that second tape released in 2017 on Runstate Tapes and very humbly named Songs by Faze.
Four new tracks that get deeper into the dark corners of gloomy punk shyly explored in their first release, all the songs open with "long" distressing intros which give way to sinister parts where the reverbed out vocals take us far into the dark waters of tormented souls. It's still slow, but a bit heavier though, the songs building up slowly they also get longer (between 2:50 and 4:50)... and that's Slimy Member that comes to mind now! There is the same kind of atmosphere even if Faze tends to play slower and longer songs with a more "d-beat linearity" feeling than a death-rock vibe.
Faze's songs exude despair and malaise, the vocalist sounding like he's wading through a sludge of sticky and slimy problems that his Doc Martens couldn't get him out of. The tape concludes with Prison Planet which is probably the most disturbing track of all, a track made to spread uneasiness and self-depreciation throughout the world... it starts out slowly like a hazy nightmare before speeding up into a full-blown nighttime battle with the most vicious of our inner demons... brilliant!

picture by Phil

And that's the third tape on Runstate Tapes for my French-speaking colleagues from across the Atlantic! Struggling To Enjoy Ourselves While The World Slowly Implodes was released in 2018 and brings us four more tracks (definitely these guys' favourite format) illustrated by a pretty cool collage artwork by Felix Morel.
  And I would say that it picks up almost exactly where Songs by Faze had left it, it sounds quite similar (the guitars sound slightly "clearer" though) and the general atmosphere is roughly the same (I can't really say that it is overflowing with joy and optimism). But I nevertheless feel a new "level of attention" for extra details like a bit of guitar here, a "rounder" bassline there etc... And it does give great results, Crooked Light is a great song, a long and intoxicating song that drags the poor defenceless listener into the depths of the sweaty and dead-end jungle... before No Feelings accelerate it all, fast-forwarding the last chapters of Apocalypse Now in what could be the fast food version for Chinese businessmen of the Coppola movie in a near future... let me tell you there's going to be some puke on the tiling... 
So giving the circumstances what's better than concluding this nice soundtrack for a summer country walk than a tune called Altered State? Yeah right everybody's just out of their bloody mind at that stage anyway...

 Here we finally reach their latest (and best, in my humble opinion) record, their Content EP released late 2021 on 11PM Records (so that's the first time Faze got a vinyl out and also the first time they got anything out on an American label).

To be honest it took me some time to get into this record, I was a bit surprised by the three EPs 11PM records released simultaneously in December (Faze's, Ztuped's and Last Affront's), for some reasons I had in mind a certain type of hardcore identity stuck to the label (Rolex, Loss Prevention, Subliminal Excess, Freon etc...) and... well I was not expecting that. And I actually think it's great to have been taken by surprise by the label's will to keep a strong identity in all the diversity of the genre.

Anyway this time we don't get four but five new tracks (these guys have no limits)! 
 Starting with a quite long intro partially built around that discreet, but magic, trombone Faze seems to love to use at times on stage, Burn it Faster quickly becomes much faster and meaner, taking a real d-beat meets hardcore turn. The atmosphere still has that gloomy and discomforting feeling the boys from Montreal have accustomed my ears to, but this time the whole thing sounds just a lot more aggressive, ready to go for your throat at any moment. 
Let's be honest that kind of nasty hardcore d-beat punk (or whatever else you wanna call it) is quite trendy these days, with labels like La Vida, Static Shock, Symphony of Destruction and many others over the planet competing to find the meanest bastards in the genre (and I'm not complaining as I enjoy all that shit a lot). Faze were already swimming in those waters and they just pushed their concept to the limit, reminiscent of Maladia, Vinegar Strokes and others of that angry gloomy punk sub-genre whose extreme end is made of bands like Koma, Ohyda and S.H.I.T.

But Faze haven't reached that far end yet and even if songs like Can't Understand The Feeling or Tu n'existerais Pu (You Would Not Exist Anymore) (at last a song in French goddammit!) definitely got that pummelling D-beat vibe they keep an "acceptable" level of "buzzing heaviness" if you see what I mean. Born Sinners closes the EP with a perfect recap of the successful band formula: full reverb on angry vocals, heavy (D?) beats and fast "hardcore" parts... and Faze won me over!
A great EP!
And as a famous German band used to sing: It's Only a Faze (ok that's lame but since the beginning I was looking for the right opportunity to crack it, looks like I've failed).

  You can listen to Faze on RAF#29.

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire