Review: Drenalize – Edge of Tomorrow
Independent (September 23rd, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
French hard rock outfit Drenalize have returned after a long hiatus to unleash ‘Edge of Tomorrow‘ onto the world. After releasing their debut album back in 2015, they toured extensively, opening for bands like Sister Sin, Toxic Rose, and Inglorious. I am not sure what would cause a band to have a seven year gap between their first and second album, but one would hope that the material they had constructed during that time would be superior to what came before, and I am happy to report that it is.
The album opens with instrumental ‘2049‘. I am not much for pointless one-minute intros, but this one does remind me of WASP’s the Titanic Overture from the Crimson Idol album and that’s a good thing. It does what a proper intro should do, it brings you in with musical bombast, preparing you for what you are about to experience.
With the first song ‘Strangers In The Mirrors’, It is here that we are introduced to an aspect of this album that make it unique from others in the genre. Singer Chris Voltage does some interesting vocal changeups throughout the album, but in particular they are all performed in this track. His voice sounds like a mix between Scorpions’ Klaus Meine and former Gypsy Rose singer Hakan Gustafsson. Many may not be familiar with the latter singer, but I assure you his voice is at times so similar to both singers on various tracks it’s uncanny. At times, he rises a few octaves to pepper the songs with high pitched screams. They are effective, but he wisely limits the times he does this as these notes are outside his range and too many attempts at that would destroy his vocal cords. After the guitar solo, he drops to a bass vocal to do a voiceover before returning to the main hook. He repeats these highs and lows throughout the album. I found these abilities to be a highlight of this album.
He’s not the only one who gives standout performances. Along with some great riffs, there are killer solos from guitarists Julien Angel Brunello and Max Waynn, in particular on tracks ‘Strangers In the Mirrors’ and ‘Eternal Eclipse’. The guitar picking for the latter song is intense! The occasional double bass playing provided by drummer Alex Gricar helps to accentuate the sound, elevating the track in the process. Instrumental ‘Passage en Force’ shows the band in peak performance. I am usually not fond of instrumentals, but they make the wise choice of keeping the song under three minutes and jam packing it with killer playing and riffs galore. Instrumentals tend to be overblown and pompous, but this one gets right to the point and doesn’t let up for the length of the song.
The best tracks for me can be found towards the end of the album. ‘Fast and Lethal’ is all vitriol. A kick-ass song about kicking ass, the band fires on all cylinders with the best riff found on the album. Some may be swayed away by the end, when Chris lays down some lyrics in a rapid nu-metal style to close out the song. I love little unexpected nuances like that as it differentiates it from other songs on the album. ‘Something to Believe In’ is another stand-out and sounds like nothing else from this record. A mix of a ballad and mid-tempo rocker, the song sounds like a tune Trixter or White Lion would record. As much as I like this song, it’s not representative of their overall sound. That should not dissuade people from the band, just don’t expect this type of sound if this is the first song you hear from them.
While there are ten tracks listed, I would not count the opening intro as a song and one track is just an instrumental. It should be noted that there are only eight songs that feature all band members. After seven years between recordings, another track or two would have been nice.
For those familiar with their debut album, I find that their new release is a definitive step up, with better production and a more diverse, adventurous style. The risks they take pay off. While they pepper their sound with deep throat growls, high pitched screams, and nu-metal intricacies, make no mistake that this is a hard rocking band that has constructed some great melodies sure to please fans who appreciate when a band branches out ever so slightly to make an inimitable sounding record.