Avidya (Hindu for ignorance and misconception) is the ballsy opener to Cauchemar, the latest album from Canadian groove-metal crew INIRE. It’s a classy intro, not sounding unlike Master of Puppets-era Metallica and certainly gives the listener a hint of what is to come. The track fades into the claustrophobia-inducing sound of multiple voices talking in unison before launching into the pummeling guitar attack of Wide Awake. They act as a killer one-two punch that eases the listener in with elegance before sucker punching them in the gut. Isn’t this how everybody wants their metal records to start?
INIRE helm a tight-knit sound here, bridging the gap between later day Lamb of God and the good time vibes of band’s like Hell Yeah and Soil. There is certainly a consistent sound that runs through Cauchemar, although the band manage to throw a number of unique influences into the mix without it sounding like an attempt at hero-worship. Next of Kin sees vocalist Dre Versailles conjuring up the ghost of Layne Staley with wailing harmonies over a sludgy backdrop, while Crash features speedy riffage right out of the Cancer Bats playbook. The only real complaint here would be that the guitar sound can come across as a little one dimensional after multiple tracks, but most of the time this is balanced out by killer hooks and a ton of shred from guitarists John Laflamme and Dim Gervais.
The drums on Cauchemar are a driving force, taking cues from Chris Adler and Vinnie Paul‘s clicky metal assault. It helps to keep tracks like the anthemic Hell Is Us and the frantic title track sounding dynamic and brimming with hardcore energy, while not overly dominating the mix. The overall production from drummer Chris Bonavia is crisp and allows the heavier songs to sound vicious yet accessible and even gives the stadium metal of Far From Anything the required boost it needs to make the cut.
On Cauchemar the Quebec natives have put together an entertaining record that, although it occasionally falls victim to a lack of variety, delivers punchy dynamics, whale-sized choruses and stomping riffs that are ready-made for your car stereo. Cauchemar, it turns out, is the French word for ‘nightmare’, but with the jubilant nature of the material on offer here, it’s anything but.
Cauchemar is released on November 18th.