French Sludge/Hardcore act Cowards have only been around since 2012 but they’ve already gained quite the reputation for their all-encompassing aural attack. Their second record, Rise to Infamy, continues this upward trend. A monolithic slab of Hardcore that hits you over the head without insulting your intelligence, unrelenting without veering too much into genre hop scotching or proggy experimentation.
When the feedback kicks in on album opener Shame Along Shame, you know you’re in for something special. Other instruments join in until we have the whole band’s low end doom/grind delivery rollicking along. Vocalist Julien H enters the picture, his gargled screaming resembles a slightly higher pitched version of Converge’s Jacob Banon, but then he gets even higher achieving some truly impressive Burzum-esque Black Metal wails. Other album standouts include Frustration is my Girl and Anything but the Highroad, super fast and quick, recalling the best of recent Napalm Death, and the unlikely groove stomper Birth of the Sadistic Son. Bend the Knee rips loose like an out of control freight train, only stopping so it can start again even meaner.
This album is like a breath of fresh air, such well worn genres as Hard and Grindcore, Doom, Sludge, Death and Black Metal being chewed up and spit out in such new and interesting ways. I really can’t stop listening to it. Cowards have been playing shows all over Europe for years but have yet to come stateside. I’ll be first in line when they do.
Rise to Infamy was released 2/9/15 on Throatruiner Records.