The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Album Review: Quintessence of Versatility by Devin Walsh

Quintessence of Versatility - 2009 Demo
Self-Released
Devin Walsh



Quintessence of Versatility is a group of Frenchmen who are showing that France is most definitely a force to be reckoned with in the metal world. I recently had the chance to review their 2009 demo and I came in knowing nothing. I will be walking away with only positive thoughts and seeing a future full of potential for these guys.

As the demo gets moving into the first full length song, “Hypocrisy,” the intensity and heaviness of Quintessence of Versatility really shines through with heavy guitars backed by pounding drums. I agree that last description is pretty generic, but not everyone can pull off such a simple thing. The song develops with some real deep and guttural heavy vocals that add a flare of death metal to the more metalcore-sounding music. This song showcases the full band with tight kick drumming matched by passages of bass guitar grooves overlaid with heavy, yet groovy guitars. My only criticism of this song is towards the end, there is a blast beat passage that seems to lose the flow of the music a bit, but then they kick it back up with some ass kicking riffs to make sure you are still banging your head.

“Sentimental Hatred” is the next track that immediately reminds me of hardcore bands like Biohazard with a vocal chant type sound in the beginning and riffing that is reminiscent of older Exodus. Don’t let those comparisons fool you as these guys are surely not a copy of those bands, or any band really, for that matter. The movement of this song is somewhat progressive as it flows from death metal to thrash to straight-up heavy metal riffing. They have music centered around the guitars that act as the tour guide through this adventure with Quintessence of Versatility. Around the 2:30 mark, there is a guitar passage that really reminds me of System of a Down with the higher octave guitar melody; it doesn’t come across as a traditional sounding piece.

Continuing on in the album, the song “Crisis” has once again a more hardcore and almost punkish vibe to it with the higher octave guitar lead. My only complaint with this song is the bass guitar in the introduction, as the timing is a bit progressive, but doesn’t seem to fit the nature of the song. Other than that simple personal taste difference, “Crisis” moves along with the signature heavy ass guitar and drum synchronization matched by deep guttural vocals that are Quintessence of Versatility.

The album continues to flow with a progressive death metal feel as these guys often step into waters that are not always typical of a straightforward metal band. This is easily showcased on “Never Forgive, Never Forget” by the clearly old school hardcore-influenced vocal verses. The band offers a unique sound by blending similar, yet different musical sounds into one cohesive piece.

Overall, the 2009 demo by Quintessence of Versatility is a very solid and hard- hitting effort by these French metallers. This demo could very well be a full- length album as it offers enough coherent content with professional-sounding production. Nowadays there are way too many genres for metal, but sometimes it’s necessary because a band's sound doesn’t fit into only one genre. I think Quintessence of Versatility are a good example of this as their overall sound is more like death metal, but there are certainly elements of hardcore, metalcore, and some other 'core I’m sure I forgot to mention. Bearing in mind this was recorded three years ago, I could only imagine how much further this band has progressed over the last three years. Their music comes across as very energetic and I would imagine it is a great live experience. I’m looking forward to hearing more of these French guys and hope they get a chance to showcase their talents in the USA!


Copyright 2011 Devin Walsh

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