Review: Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows (France, 2016)

Well, how to start this. If you’re familiar with Plebeian Grandstand’s acclaimed 2014 “Lowgazers”, I can say the French dudes stepped up their game for sure. They explored their dissonant edge a little more, getting nearer to the Deathspell Omega style, while exponentially adding to their chaotic HC energy. If you’re a fan of intense music, never heard of them and it’s your first time hearing their latest opus False Highs, True Lows, well prepare to get through one of the most fierce experiences in your life. Not recommended to sensible eardrums.

The intro “Mal Du Siècle” leads us to “Low Empire”. Serpentine dissonant lines and psychotic vocals emerging from a wall of relentless blasting noise will make up for the first 3 subjugating minutes of the album. In my opinion this is the only boring part, for lack of dynamic apertures. There are occasional melodic textures but the lack of variety puts down the “impact factor” pretty soon. It will get better onwards.
“Tributes And Oblivions” brings a deranged spoken word, here the Deathspell Omega influence is sensible in the quasi-melodic guitar clusters. The music begins then to breathe with some dark mid-tempos.
“Volition” opens with an obscure breathing, bleak atmospheric slow-paced entity of an intro. Then the aural harassment gradually increases. The percussion-like use of tom toms towards the last quarter of the track gives a bit of variety. The filler “Mineral Tears” is very industrial, then we get to “Oculi Lac” which I appreciated for the nice textural guitar lines from the half onwards. In my opinion, this track takes us to the best part of the album.
“Tame The Shapes” finally gives our heart a break with its instrumental ambience, playing on register contrasts and dissonant textures.
Surprise! No relax, total punishing treatment for you today. You won’t be able to have a chance for distressing your nerves. No happy ending, either. It gets sludgier by the second half when drums take part and the outro feels like having to trespass a floating wall of noise with no other way out. When the blasts kick in we’re dragged to undiluted hell and those last seconds will make the next track “Eros Culture” kickstart like crazy with the no-stop transition.
If you suffer from heart disease, well at this point you probably shouldn’t have clicked that damn play button did you. Oh, regrets.
That closer is a magnificent crescendo of all-out chaotic energy, there are other crazy textural moments with walls of blasts sustaining sick spoken words on all kinds of guitar-driven noise. The outro is simply unreal, “abusing” is probably not the right word but it’s the first that comes to mind.

Bam. Abruptly back to reality. What…what happened? I need air. Time for an inhalation and the album is done and gone, I’m left with echoing ears, an irregular breathing and my heart trying to find a way out of my chest.
Nearly got out of this with a heart stroke, really so much adrenaline building up, but it was worth it.
All in all, it’s been nothing less than some 35 minutes of almost relentless madness.

Hope this commentary has been physical enough to let you grasp the experience.
What else to say, the aesthetic goal has been fulfilled for sure. This album gets to be even more oppressive, dark and suffocating than its predecessor, making up for some really sick atmospheres.
Guitar lines are more interesting too, and PG is getting to slowly dig for its niche in between the modern dissonant black metal scene and the chaotic HC one.
My only critique would regard the lack in dynamics, since the album is really impactful but some more frequent contrasts could have helped achieving its sense of weight even better. Again, you have to play around with that listener perception.
That being said, good job. Curious to see what kind of monstrosity the guys will create for the next album.
Now it’s your turn to ruin your day by clicking play below.

Label: Throatruiner Records
Links: Official Website | Facebook |  Bandcamp
Release Date: April 29, 2016
Reviewed by Rizzo

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About Andrea "Rizzo" Rizzieri 39 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, and in charge of everything-that-comes-with-that. Born 1992, I always had the vocation to learn everything I could later never accomplish to save my own life. I am indeed a failed guitarist, drummer and so much more! Er, I’d better write about music I like for the time being. Although my musical past has been firmly rooted in rock, punk and metal, I appreciate any kind of music as long as I find it artistically interesting. I have a split personality by which part of me likes anything musically forward-thinking, inventive or just of general “good taste”, and part of me likes being blasted by all-out intensity and dissonance.

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