As a keen Welshman and therefore Rugby fan, until now I’d only associated the French city of Clermont-Ferrand as being the home of a team, Les Jaunards, regular competitors in the top tier of European club rugby and a tough side to beat on their home ground the Marcel Michelin. (Ferrum Templor will tell you it’s where the call to Crusade was issued from by Pope Urban II in 1095 – historically-minded Ed).
Now, though, there is something else to occupy my mind from this central French city – Bad Whispers. Formed a mere four years ago in 2016, this quintet are already shaping up very nicely, and their debut full-length, self released this month and entitled Burn Out, sounds nothing like the sort of noise a band making it’s first tentative steps into the big, bad world of heavy metal might make.
Put simply, if you like the sort of ‘modern metal’ made by the likes of Alter Bridge et al, then there’s a fair chance you’ll be taking Bad Whispers to your heart pretty soonish after hearing this record. Big, glossy bruisers like Alone In The Desert and title track carry a remarkably accomplished sound, bursting with dynamic power thanks to smart arrangements and absolutely top-drawer playing. In vocalist Ben Red Trigger the band undoubtedly have an international star in the making; his Draimanesque performance on the towering Lost In Your Eyes will have a fair few ‘world-renowned’ singers looking over their shoulders like frightened Deer, to be sure, but this isn’t a one man show by any means. Lead guitarist Jo Courtinat wrenches some riffs that can only suitably be described as ‘titanic’ from his axe throughout the album, ably assisted by rhythm player Chris Whisp, whilst the rhythm section of drummer Loïc Pean and bassist Guillaume Néel holds the bottom end down with bombastic aplomb.
Gratifyingly these boys can mix things up too, moving outside the ‘radio metal’ bracket to deliver some true heavy metal thunder on Your Ride, whilst The Beast could easily have come out of the Soundgarden camp whilst that band was still in it’s collective pomp.
Bad Whispers have picked a pretty closed shop to have a pop at – the established Gods of this kind of music all look pretty comfortable on their thrones at this point, but Burn Out really does contain enough musical pointers to suggest that, given a bit of luck and a following wind, this band has got a bright future ahead of it in it’s chosen field… bon chance, mes amis!
Burn Out is out now.