Reviewed & Interviewed: Exile by Regarde Les Hommes Tomber

1913
71
Share:

Two years ago, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber evoked exactly what the title suggested. The heavy hands of divine punishment bringing forth the fall of men – a desolate scene painted with the blackest sludge as ink. Now, the homonymous French band returns with Exile, the aftermath of mankind’s demise. This new offering sees the band sinking their claw deeper into black metal while still retaining their sludge and post-metal sensibilities.

Read my interview with the band and a track-by-track breakdown after the jump.

First I’d like to say I am a big fan of your work ever since discovering the debut album. For the uninitiated, tell us a bit about how the band was formed and what got you into music. 

Thanks a lot. We all play music for years, but REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER was born in 2012. Our concepts focus on a main point: The fall of the men, who are rejected and tortured by God despite of their devotion and their love for the divine. This new album pictures both this fall and the birth of a consciousness that leads men to reject the Lord and all the principles of adoration during the exile… to finally become their own gods and “sit on this throne”. All the lyrics evoke biblical mythology (Abel, Caïn, Lilith, the city of Sodom, etc…). Without any ideological message, I shall precise: we only deal with these themes on an artistic way. Those symbols are intense and highlight the concepts we want to show in our music, that’s why we use them.

I was instantly drawn to the cover art of Regarde Les Hommes Tomber. The designs that illustrate both RLHT and Exile were handled by the Førtifem¹ duo. What was that process like? What motivates your aesthetic choices?

We knew their work before this collaboration, we love their creations. We wanted something epic that could perfectly fit to our sound and the concepts we deal with. Like for our first album, Førtifem totaly adapted the artwork to the lyrics and gave us something majestic.

The art for Exile depicts the same scenery found in RLHT, but in a much different condition, to say the least. How are both albums connected? Will there be a third expansion into this setting?

We tell stories, with chapters who are more linked by an evocative tone than by something chronological… that’s why we looked for something that could, on the one hand, easily remind the first album, and on the other hand being different too. This continuity is very important for us.  A city destroyed by the flames, a crowd condamned to exile… The song “…To Take Us” is about it: the cry of Sodom and the divine punishment inflicted on the sinful men. That myth is fascinating, although it’s not the only biblical one we deal with in “Exile”, that was obvious to paint it for the cover art… simply because this theme sum up our main concept, evoking something visually strong and darkly desperate. Concerning a third expansion… we’ll see. Now we don’t really think about it, we just want to play this new release on stage.

a1881891156_10 a2282759094_10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber and Exile, side by side

Musically, I think I hear more black metal in Exile than I did in your previous LP. Was that a conscious decision or somewhere you landed organically?

This may be explained by the fact that “Exile” has been built following a collegial process, whereas the first album was composed by only one person, our guitarist J.J.S. The main idea was to give birth to something heavy, panoramic, both oppresive and epic. Some kind of fresco, to picture perfectly the themes we deal with. In that way, we worked hard to mix the ideas of each member during the writting sessions. Concerning the studio, the recording process was very fluid and natural, a real pleasure. We are very proud of the final result, which is exactly the expected one for us: “Exile” has been recorded, produced and mastered by Francis Caste (Studio Sainte Marthe, Paris), and he simply did a fucking great job .

The texture is denser, darker than our first release, thus this disc can be considered as more extreme than what the band has composed before… anyway, REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER is made of persons with different tastes, which is, I think, a true force. Some of us enjoy Black Metal, others are great fans of Hardcore and Post Metal… Actualy we don’t consider that a musician shall listen only one genre, that’s why our music is a mixture of various influences. We trust the power of this diversity to build our sound : the aim is to give a powerful result, without thinking about the tools we use for it. Only the result counts. We don’t have “direct” influences, but listening REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER can evoke bands like Drudkh, Amenra, Wolves In The Throne Room, etc… once again, we build our music whithout thinking of a model, we just look for the best way to deal with our concepts.

Finally, I’ve read on Encyclopedia Metallum that your name comes from a Jacques Audiard² film. Is that accurate? What are your main inspirations outside of music?

That’s true, although our music doesn’t have a direct link with this film. Actually we are more inspired by illustrations (Gustave Doré, John Martin) than by any other form of art… except music of course. Thanks for this interview, au revoir.

RLHTpromopic2015

“L’Exil” serves its introductory role with excellence, building up tension with post-rock guitar soundscapes as it slowly increases the intensity of the drums. “A Sheep Among The Wolves” borrows this tribal drumming pattern, interspersed with blast beats. Underneath it the guitars sing, somber and subdued. The vocals kick in, made of pure agony. It is almost as if you can feel them scraping your own throat.

“Embrace The Flames” urges you to endure your upending, to revel in it. It’s hard not to, when it involves such an earworm of an arpeggio. This is one of the most intense songs on the LP, whether it is blasting away with furor or relenting into despondence and lamentation, with sludgier riffs that sound like they’re spiralling out of sanity. The lyrics reveal a biblical inspiration: Cain, son of first men Adam & Eve, receives his mark for the muder of his brother Abel³.

“O son of Adam, be the first man to oppose your fathers
Leave your soul, enter the darkness
You are not alone anymore
Follow me and embrace the world you belong to
Follow me and embrace the world you belong to
Follow me and you will never be alone anymore”

“They came…” “…To Take Us” works as a duo, with the latter developing atop the ambience of the first. The guitars – drenched in reverb – offer a beautiful tremolo riff that is not played in a traditional, fast pace. Instead, it rings more patient and sorrowful. We are toasted to another example of how great Regarde’s rhythm section can be, as it contributes tremendously to this band’s ability to engulf you in their sound.

“Thou Shall Lie Down” starts off slow and brooding. Fans of Neurosis will not be disappointed, as the wails and syncopation are delivered in form akin to the Oakland legends. That is, until a tremolo riff looms on the horizon, announcing a change of pace. The song then explodes into a fast section, providing a breathtaking climax whose tension is kept even after the blast beats have long subsided.

You leave the experience that is Exile in “The Incandescent March”, the finest track of Regarde Les Hommes Tomber’s young career. Everything they stand for musically seems to be cristallized in this 11 minute opus, with the addition of elements unfound in other songs. Namely, an armored black stallion of a galloping rhythm that is a throwback to more anthemic, fist-pumping black metal. Fitting, for the lyrics of this song represents a march towards affirmation. A struggle that extends beyond the religious imagery of Exile well into many aspects of our lives. A march to claim agency and authority over one’s own fate.

“The primitive philosophy of a tyrannic group of cowards
Will never rule on this pure and fragile place we call earth
The time of slavery must end right now
This time of tyranny must be the last
We will crush the weaver, he will taste the bitter
And on this unreachable fortress we call Heaven
He will taste the anger of the gods we are
We will sit on this throne
And the fallen god, the exiled one
Will rest in a place we call Inferno
We will sit on this throne
We will sit on this throne
We will sit on this throne
We will sit on this throne”

As much as I thoroughly enjoyed Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, their self-titled debut, Exile has surpassed every expectation I had. It is one of the most compelling LPs I have heard this year, both sonically and thematically. Some albums do not merely deserve a listen; they demand one. This is one of them.

4.5/5 Toilets Ov Hell

As of September 19th, you may stake your claim to sit on the throne. Order your copy of Exile in either LP or digipack formats via Les Acteurs de l’Ombre, or a digital copy via Bandcamp. If you like what you hear/read, be sure to give the band a like on Facebook.


1. Førtifem is a French duo of designers whose catalog – which includes covers for Destroy Judas (best unsigned band in California) and heavyweights like Opeth and Alcest –  rubs my eyeballs and brain in all the right places. Check their work on the official website or on Instagram.

2. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber is a 1994 film directed by Jacques Audiard. It depicts the crossing of two stories, of a lonely salesman that seeks to avenge his only friend and of an aging con man and his young protegé.

3. In the Bible’s Book Of Genesis, Cain and Abel are shown as two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was the first human to be born, whereas Abel was the first human to die; by the hands of his older brother, nonetheless. For his crime, Cain received a “mark” or a “curse”, to roam the Earth as a fugitive and a vagabond.

 

  • Vote for Jeb

    Listening to this album right now. It’s very enjoyable. Good work, Dagon!

  • seriously digging these tunes.

  • Stockhausen

    A beastly piece of writing for a beastly album. Good work, and I’m going to ham this album today.

    • Dagon

      Thanks for putting me in touch with them! I forgot to include a shout out in the article which just proves that I am a terrible fish person.

  • Tost, Pots, Spot, Tops, & Stop. These are the words that can be made from the letters from “Post”.

    • KJM, Doom Hunter General

      I am instantly reminded of Sesame Street which makes me happy.

    • Dagon

      This is some post stuff you might actually dig. Try the first embedded track to see how it goes.

      • I found it a lot less “post” than I expected. Sounds a lot like regular black metal to me, but I’m not very versed in defining subgenres and sheeit.

        • KJM, Doom Hunter General

          Same here, but I have no ear for Black metal at all so my opinion on this is useless except for comedy relief.

        • Dagon

          The previous album had more of a post/sludge feel, but it was never long and winding as some post-metal bands tend to be. And you’re right, the black metal is strong in this one.

          • their BC page lists “hardcore” and “sludge”, neither of which i’ve ever considered myself a fan. yet i love the music. i think this just goes to show that genres are just a bunch of blurred lines.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I know you want it

          • I know I want ya.

          • Dagon

            Cause you’re a good girl

      • I tried it. It didn’t click for me (Shocking). That break downy part was a deal breaker. Plus it lasted way too long.

        • Dagon

          That’s fair. Your aversion to post-things is basically like my aversion to power metal. Sometimes I listen to a couple seconds or even a full minute, but whenever someone opens their mouth I feel the instant need to die quickly.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          There was a breakdown part? Like “core” breakdown? Once I saw post, I casually stepped away.

          • Like a minute into the first song. All I could visualize was:

            http://i.giphy.com/HlxWlbGXxgB0Y.gif

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Damn.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I honestly didn’t even notice it.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I’m listening now. And it’s not as blatant as all those other core bands. But it was a god damn breakdown.

          • Vote for Jeb

            Ah, I heard it on my second listen, but I think it works fine in the context of the song. A little rhythmic change can be nice when the artist doesn’t just want you to bounce the entire time.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I can understand that. But I’ll just go back to listening to Bill Burr rants.

          • somehow i think the band in this pic is way more likely to be found on a shirt in Hot Topic. …and super proud to be there!

    • Maik Beninton™

      You can’t make Tost.

    • Guacamole Jim
  • Whoa, I can really dig this. Very epic and large sound.

  • French bands know how to record, shit sounds monsterous.

    • Dagon

      The production and their drummer are so good, man.

      • Yes, I dig those drum tones. Dude sounds like he’s wrecking a mountain with his drum sticks.

        • Dagon

          And the rhythm is very entrancing, I really like both the blast sections and the more tribal like drumming.

        • Boss the Ross

          That’s the best description of drums I’ve heard in a while.

    • JJD Misses Witch Ripper

      They sure do.

    • Óðinn
  • Great great job in the review, Dagy! Not in the right mood for this but the format interview+review intrigued me because all the information both of you shared.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Very interesting interview. The biblical inspiration is fascinating. The music awesome as well – just the right combo of atmosphere, blasts, and sludge to really get me going. Awesome job, Dagon.

  • Vote for Jeb

    I’m listening to their first album now. They definitely improved significantly as artists between the releases.

    • Dagon

      It was all already there, but the ingredients came together on the second LP in a way that felt more urgent and hefty. I think the extended black metal elements in the sound help provide a more emotional feel too.

      • Vote for Jeb

        Yah, I can hear a lot more of the post/sludge in the first.

  • Mvthvr Shvbvbv 8

    I recommended these guys about a month ago on the FB page, but no one listened to me (except Fish Gawd, who was already familiar). Now I know how Dubya feels when people post about bands he’s already written at length about.

    • Dagon

      Ronny D was on that tip a while ago, as well as Stockhausen

    • the solution? just recommend music that you know nobody else will dig! i’ve been doing that for… (how long has the Toilet been running?)

      • Lacertilian

        Disclaimer: Except Black Fast and Oneironaut.

    • Everything sounds better when a Toilet Writer recommends them. :/

      (Joking, I think.)

      • Mvthvr Shvbvbv 8

        I mean I would write, but that would require writing.

        • I can’t in good conscience recommend it.

      • Most times anymore in-depth writing on an album doesn’t do much for me. I’d rather just listen to an album/demo/EP/whatever on my own and digest it my own way. Honestly, the music that is reviewed on TOH anymore does nothing for me. That’s not dis on the writers at all. It is just a matter of taste. Plus I find most of the metal I like on my own anymore.

        • one day you’re going to reach the kvlt music singularity! i just hope you don’t forget all of us when you do…

          • Nah, I plan on sticking around. You goobers are fun to hang with during work hours. I’m just being honest is all.

        • A very small percentage of music that is reviewed here appeals to me. I find more good shit from the comments and FB page. But I still enjoy reading about music I will inevitably hate.

          • Haha, same. Although, I find it else where too. Forums, record labels, ect.

          • Before I became a habitual toilet reader I knew no one who liked anything I liked so I found everything on my own. People around here have made me lazy, always recommending cool shit. It’s a double-edged sword.

  • Poopypanty’s Hulk Poop Salsa

    Right amount of filthy and grimy black metal with just right amount of production. Kinda sound like Moonsorrow.

  • Óðinn

    There’s a typo in the headline. You’ve added an “s” to Regarde.

  • Óðinn

    Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, fuck yeah! Their self-titled album was one of my favorites of 2013. Thanks Dagon.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Oye. I’mma throw this out there. I like Alison Brie as much as the next straight fellow (and all those lesbians who may or may not find her attractive), but what’s with the constant shitposting of boob gifs and sexual pictures? These aren’t hard to find on just about any other place on the internet, and posting them here makes the comments section feel gross and a bit misogynistic. Can we do more posting about music and funny stuff, and less spamming of boobs?

      • Based Pingu

        Gross and misogynistic? Now we only need racism and we’re just like MS.

      • Óðinn

        Fair enough, Guacamole Jim. No more boobs.

        • Guacamole Jim

          Thanks hombre, I appreciate it. Sorry to call you out like that. No hard feelings.

          • Óðinn

            No hard feelings. It’s all good.

        • Vote for Jeb

          Ey, I appreciate it too. I, like many here, would likely be in trouble if my boss walked in and saw an entire thread of boobs.

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    What a way to start my morning! I jammed half the record while getting up a while ago; what a beast! Perfect blend of post metal/sludge and black metal.
    Can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band.

  • CT-12

    These guys are cool as fuck Dagon, thanks for sharing these guys with us! Great post all around as well.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Great job, Dagy!
    Didn’t return to their debut but I dug it. I think I’ll play Exile a lot more though.

  • Waynecro

    Brutal as fuck. That shit’s going on my Bandcamp wishlist. Great interview, Dagon!

  • Lacertilian

    Yessss!
    This will work on several of my playlists, once I scour the area for some money to buy it with, that is.