Band: Wreck Plus
Album: Dark Construktor (2016)
Genre: traditional heavy metal
Where to buy: Bandcamp
Though they bill themselves as “Heavy rockers from the future,” Paris-based Wreck Plus’s latest EP is right at home next to all the 70s heavy metal in your music library. This is a conscious effort on the band’s part, who greet readers of their liner notes with an all-caps proclamation: “YOU’VE JUST STEPPED INTO A TIME MACHINE, AND IF ALL IS RIGHT… WELCOME TO 1976.” At the same time, the music is fresh in the way that a garage band can be. The riffs are heavy but not constricting. The rhythms are appropriately headbang-inducing, but creative enough to keep you listening actively. In this five-song, 25-minute release, Dark Construktor (2016) hits its target. It sounds like a bunch of guys who really love classic heavy metal playing music in their apartment, and that’s exactly what it is, given that some of the bass, guitar, and vocals were recorded in their home studio. It also sounds like they’re having a lot of fun, and so did I.
Dark Construktor’s opening eponymous track is so much like Black Sabbath it could almost be a lost B-side – until the tube distortion and wailing leads give way to a bridge and breakdown that are almost proggy and could only have been written after, say, 1990. I say “almost” proggy because they never quite let themselves indulge in the sort of metrical exploration requiste of prog rock. This is a good thing, because they’ve got just enough syncopation of guitars and drums here to be invigorating without getting lost in the maze into which lots of prog rockers disappear. “Dark Construktor” returns to the heavy rhythms before ending; the pattern of Sabbath-inspired heaviness, a fun but not excessively challenging breakdown or bridge, and resumption of the heaviness is the core of this EP. The album midpoint is an atmospheric, traveling-through-space-to-a-synth bit that’ll make you smile.
Lead singer Yoann Avanthey has just the right amount of edge to his voice, somewhere between Rod Stewart’s raspy croon and Ozzy’s nasal wail. The guitar distortion is hilariously on-point, using the tube sound and fuzzy overdrive characteristic of late-70s heavy metal. Occasionally the lead guitar sounds off-balance, in that notes are held just a little too long in some places, but in truth the production is more than adequate for their purposes. The final track, “Esoterhythm,” is clearly their most concerted effort to get funky and wild with the syncopations, and it takes you places you didn’t think you’d go. It’s the one track on this album to really surprise in this manner. But I enjoyed Dark Construktor from start to finish, and was left with an admiration of Wreck Plus and their love letter to classic heavy metal.