By Dr. Abner Mality

This is one of those releases that just totally comes out of nowhere and ambushes you. It's going to emerge as one of 2018's best for me. Originating from Paris, Fiend is a band with a connection to industrial heavyweights like Ministry, KMFDM and France's #1 heavy industrial band, Treponem Pal. But what they've come up with is a sound that blends a ton of varied influences to come up with something that rocks like hell. A mixture of heavy industrial, doom and psych/spacerock vibes doesn't sound like it should work, but Fiend makes it gloriously vibrant and natural sounding.

While listening to "Seeress", I heard hints from bands as diverse as Prong, Hawkwind, Swans, Monster Magnet, Sabbath and Treponem Pal. Sounds like a real mess, but it's altogether great. Track names are kind of odd and feature the word "bounce" along with letter/number combos like V5, V6, V8. Following a spooky build, :"Morning Star/ Bounce V5" erupts with high energy heavy riffs and the clean but urgent vocals of Heitham al Sayed. It's throbbing industrial doom metal that drops way down in the middle for an eerie soundscape...something that is a recurring theme here...before returning to hot rocking. "Ancestral Moon/Bounce V4" reminds me a lot of Prong at its best but it amazes when the song cuts loose with a screaming acid guitar solo that could grace any stoner/heavy psych album. "Pillars/Bounce V4" is better yet, with real thick guitar tones, great riffs and more killer axe solos. To make things even better, it ends with a stretch of tambura drone and that's something that is always cool.

By now, the album had my full attention. And it kept it! "Vessels/Bounce V6" is heavy duty spacerock that jams like hell, breaks for some cosmic sounds and returns with a monstrous and majestic riff to top it all off. The vocals have an almost grunge quality ala Alice In Chains. "5th Circuits/Bounce V5" has a nervous, edgy Prong style start, slows down into Saint Vitus doom with vocals to match and then tops things off with a Hammond organ solo. "A Crown of Birds/Bounce/V6" goes over the 9 minute mark and covers a ton of territory, including unexpected changes in direction...the general feeling is very ominous. There's kick up to almost thrash tempo, a stretch of Swans-style noise and finally the most scorching acid guitar solos on the whole album. Whew, what a journey!

The last tune could almost be from a different band and will test the patience of many, but it has its moments. "The Gate/Bounce V8" is very subdued and downtempo bass-driven industrial with sampled speech about the Earth being recycled repeated over and over. This one goes more than 13 minutes and features a lot of weird guitar noise, neurotic drum beats and finally gets heavy and super noisy before a rather shocking shift into a kind of acoustic ballad. Weird as hell and not easy to get into, but considering the brilliance that preceded it, it's not too hard to take.

Fiend have taken us on a hell of a trip with "Seeress"...the kind that doesn't happen much in music anymore. I definitely want to hear more from these guys. Get this one for sure!