Marseille’s strangely-named Debackliner are nothing if not solid on their self-titled debut effort. If anything, they are a little too solid; I’m old enough (just about) to appreciate albums as living, breathing organisms, very much the sum of their parts, and in those terms this record is a bit of a failure.

There’s nothing at all wrong with the record – it’s very good in fact – however too much of the material at the front-end of the album sounds too similar; One-paced metal crunchers all, the first five tracks don’t really have anything standing out to separate them from one another. Of course in these modern days of Spotify playlists and cherry picking tunes for purchase from music platforms that doesn’t really matter. Each track in and of itself has plenty going for it, notably the fine, strong vocals of Bob Saliba and the Smith/Murray inspired guitars of Remi Caleca and Eric Luvera; the Maidenesque Pandora certainly makes for an exciting intro. However by the time rack six, the excellent Mr Jack starts you realise the record has been playing for twenty five minutes and you haven’t really noticed where one track ends and another begins.

So if we’re treating this as an old-school vinyl record of two halves, Side two is very much the winner. It’s here you’ll find the album’s best two tracks – the afore mentioned Mr Jack and it’s spectacular successor, The Omega, alongside the rousing Jolly Roger and interesting closer Circle. This is the meat of the album – there’s just a bit more variety on this closing quartet, a bit more for the listener to sink their teeth into if you like, and that really does make all the difference.

Never less than solid and dependable, but often full of flair and excitement, Debackliner the album does enough to suggest that Debackliner the band are well worth some of your time and concentration. In my monthly column for this organ I declared Debackliner to be a ‘must buy’ album for October and I stand by that comment – maybe just pay a bit more attention to the running order next time, eh, mes amis?

Debackliner is out now on Pitch Black Records