Djent as a genre has pretty much exhausted itself. At least that’s what I think and then a band will come along that channels djent in a new, fresher way. VOLA was one of those bands. Letters From The Colony are another of those bands. Desperse are reinventing it as well. And now France’s Black Neon District are another one of those bands but they use djent more as an accent to their music.
The band take the melodic approach that VOLA is currently championing and attempt their own spin on that. So it comes down to the songs, as it should. When you are playing this style of prog metal (or really ANY style of prog for that matter), the band has to be able to play. Black Neon District can certainly play. But they don’t fall prey to overplaying like bands like Animals as Leaders or Periphery tend to do. Their debut EP “Standing Waves” has more hooks than both of those bands combined.
The EP kicks off with “Emergence” which has some EXCELLENT vocals and strong harmonies. The band mix in some great riffs and just enough technical moves to let you know they are good. “Resurgence” is next up and it has a bit more openness to it than the first track. Together they show that Black Neon District can write a song. That is the key to what Black Neon District are about, the SONGS! It helps that lead vocalist Maxime Cuillerat has an outstanding voice!
“Seclusion” has an outstanding groove to it. It’s also yet another great sounding song. By this point, you’re wondering if they are going to slip up. That’s what I was wondering but “Ghost Line” is as strong as the previous tracks with a KILLER bass line AND bass sound…and the chorus is great! The song reminds me a little of Dead Letter Circus. The EP was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jean-François di Rienzo who deserves a mention here for just how great this whole thing sounds.
“Smattering Entities” closes out the EP with probably the trickiest guitar riff on the EP. At first, I assumed Black Neon District would finally give in and just overplay. Nope! The song has plenty of great parts but the melodies win out yet again. I think the band can only get better considering that this is their debut. I expect even bigger hooks and better songs on their next release. Let’s all hope there is one!
1. Emergence 05:57
2. Resurgence 05:01
3. Seclusion 05:38
4. Ghost Line 05:53
5. Smattering Entities 06:39