"Inner Wars" is MATRASS' second effort.. First EP "Fulfillment" was released in 2017 with a different line-up - at that time they had a male singer and to be honest.. His voice was "ok" but nothing particular and it was more or less boring after a while... I'm glad that, in 2022, MATRASS returns with a new (female) singer - Clémentine Browne - for that new EP !
From the first minutes, I can say I was really hooked by her voice, which definitely brings more variety, richness to the songs... We feel the band has taken a step forward in its evolution, its maturity and its cohesion ... it's even impressive compared to the previous release !
The band's style is in my opinion a matter of contrasts, based on many influences ranging from 90's alternative rock, to post-rock, atmospheric-metal, post-hardcore... with a concern for a certain groove and melodies... it's violent but restrained, aggressive but melodic, anguished but captivating... like the image of human nature and the feelings it expresses...
Thus, the opener "Parasites (Clean All)" opens the game with some very RATM/AUDIOSLAVE accents in the intro riff but gives the change with calmer parts - on which Clémentine impresses with JAZZY vocal touches - followed with some more sustained heavier ones with vocals that are completely in a post hardcore style... As said before, the breadth of the vocal repertoire really brings a new dimension to the band's music !
"Tide" has more of an ANATHEMA/THE GATHERING vibe... very calm, with a lot of harmonies and gradually increases in power to go into styles reminiscent of atmospheres like AMEN RA, NEUROSIS... Guitars become heavier and throbbing, the rhythmic more oppressive.. and the vocals take on a desperate dimension.. I just love that song !
"Y" has a similar intro-riff as "Parasites", 90's alternative-rock influenced - but stands out for its "spoken words" part, still with nice melodies and harmonies, really catchy and captivating and ends up on a faster tempo..
"Berserker" has a "straight-ahead" vibe - kinda "in-your-face" song to make your body move at shows - really efficient with a nice catchy chorus, a nice ambient & melodic break you don't really expect.. surprising but great !
"Soldier" a song featuring french artist Qlay who contributes vocally and also on the cello, is probably the saddest & most emotional song of the EP.. Like a long lament where the male and female voices marry wonderfully, passing from clean and soft lines to some others scratched, harsh and desperate... I find there the influences of ANATHEMA/ANTIMATTER mixed with those post-hardcore ones of BURIED INSIDE or NEUROSIS... which might seem strange on reading, turns out to be very successful when listening to the disc, I think this is in a way MATRASS' trademark, they really have the skill to combine opposite influences and emotions, to mix them in a very coherent way to deliver quality catchy songs...
"Inner Wars" is an EP that I warmly recommend to those who are looking for new bands who strive to create their own style and for once, bring new and original sounds.
Born 1969, grew up with the NWOBHM sounds, musically educated with cult french magazines that were ENFER and METAL ATTACK, definitely nailed to the style when "The Number Of The Beast" by IRON MAIDEN was released... From 1982, it was clear life would never be the same ! Young & getting wild to the HEAVY sounds of SAXON, VENOM, BLACK SABBATH, MOTORHEAD, Young Fab also discovered thanks to school mates the NOISE, FILTH & FURY of Hard-Core/Punk bands like G.B.H, DISCHARGE, BROKEN BONES but also CRO-MAGS, BAD BRAINS, FUGAZI... and later on, through the 90's, everything that was ALTERNATIVE, EXPERIMENTAL, GRUNGE, INDUSTRIAL (SONIC YOUTH, NINE INCH NAILS, SOUDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS)... Passion & curiosity grew up as years went by ... Fate was SEALED... no turning back ! No Music = No Life !