Cowards – Rise to Infamy


France is pretty much the last place that comes to mind when you think of sludge metal.  But that’s not to say Paris doesn’t have its share of unrest—they still shoot cartoonists there, after all.  And let’s not forget that Louisiana was once a French colony… although I’m pretty sure that Mike IX and Kirk Windstein ne parlent pas le français.

On the other hand, Parisian quintet Cowards appears to be well-versed in the downtuned sewage of the NOLA scene on this, their second album.  Opening track “Shame Among Shame” contains some heavy breakdowns that would make the old one crack open a cold one.  But there’s also quite a bit of black metal here as well—not so much the blackened sludge of the Midwest (though I do hear shades of The Body and Lord Mantis), but more of the grimm and kvlt variety.  I guess if France is known for anything in the metalverse—aside from hosting HellFest—it’s black metal.  I mean, Count Grishnackh himself moved there when he got outta jail…

And you can’t overlook the hardcore-punk pummeling of sub-two-minute tracks such as “Frustration (Is My Girl)” and “Anything But the Highroad.”  Of course, sludge in general owes its lunch money to American hardcore—although it’s a little less evident in some instances.  These guys wear it on their sleeves though, right next to their Satyricon backpatch.

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for

7.5 Rating