ten56. – Downer Part 1.
Released: November 25, 2021
Aaron Matts // Vocals
Arnaud Verrier // Drums
Nicolas Delestrade // Bass
Luka Garotin // Guitar
Quentin Godet // Guitar
Between Betraying The Martyrs’ 2019 record Rapture and April this year, there’s been radio silence from the band. Fast-forward to 2021, and between April and November, we’ve seen the band announce a new vocalist after Aaron Matts left the band, and then released ‘Black Hole‘; and a couple of months beforehand Matts went and launched ten56. who have burst onto the scene with a contemporary and super heavy synth-packed sound that have catapulted them into the scene; namely with tracks Diazepam‘, Boy‘ and ‘Sick Dog‘ – and let us tell you, we’re here for it.
Shortly, French metalers ten56. will release their debut EP Downer Part 1. which Matts told us exclusively about when it was announced a few weeks ago. Whilst we’ve had a sneak peek at half the EP over the past few months as they’ve dropped in single form, it’s time to dive right into the entire EP, as a singular all-encompassing item.
I’m imagining listening to ‘Exit Bag’ without having ever heard ten56. before (well, I’m trying). Alright, picture this, deep tuning, deep chugs. Screeching guitars. Distorted synth. Menacing vocals. Yes, Aaron Matts is back and beyond full force, he’s more energetic and ferocious than we’ve ever heard from him before. The band’s experimental nu-deathcore sound is immediately abundant, and reminiscent of what we’re starting to hear a little more dabbling of in the scene, including bands like Darko (US) – just listen to their latest effort ‘Dragon Chaser‘ to tie in the familiarity.
Lasting just two-minutes, ‘Exit Bag’ has twists and turns that’ll hold you in your tracks and potentially lead to heart palpitations. From rapping into a bouncing synth to aggressive retching, Matts shows that his vocal versatility is alive and well. It’s also worth noting the experimental approach that his bandmates are taking, namely Arnaud Verrier of Uneven Structure, Nicolas Delestrade of Novelists FR, Luka Garotin of Earth Trip and Quentin Godet of Kadinja.
Take a breath, and maybe even a Valium if needed, because ‘Diazepam‘ may have the opposite effect. As I described when it first dropped, it sucker punches you from 0:01 with a splitting synth and deafening drums with Matts’ signature vocals. The production is top-notch as you can feel every variant in the instrumentation. The track is incredibly eclectic and brings in djent elements, contemporary metalcore roots and continued nu-deathcore sections. It’s incredibly groovy and structured so much heavier than Betraying the Martyrs, who are an impeccable bands in their own right, just a very different beast. ‘Diazepam’ also only spans for a couple of minutes but the last thirty-seconds will blow the shirt off your back when the breakdown ensues.
We then move into ‘Shitspitter‘, bridging us to the EP’s mid-point with a song that we haven’t heard before. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it track continues on with the super-crunchy bass and piercing synth we’ve heard already, as Matts falls into a tyrannical groove, unleashing all his built-up energy. ten56. utilises the power of contrasting silence to utter chaos, as a way of highlighting the beautifully heavy noises they’re able to create. In this aggressive track, Matts continues to lean into that nu-deathcore style as he raps each verse with all of his larynx.
We then get to ‘Sick Dog‘ which I absolutely loved when it was released, and I stick to my description. The instrumental pings case alongside Matts’ rap-verse before he blisters into unclean carnage. The band’s newly created signature blasts blend into the chaotic and deafening bass that leads to explosive insanity.
As we move toward the last familiar track off Downer Part 1., I’ve once again looked back at my gut-reaction to ‘Boy‘. And once again, my reaction is ‘oh boy‘. I experienced the shock value that I did when it was first laid down on me. From this EP, it’s clear that the band are here to deliver the super heavy, with constant synth-infused mayhem. With Matts absolutely crushing the vocals on this track, the entire band deliver incredible variation compared to their debut track ‘Diazepam’; albeit both tracks are simply ballistic.
Finally, we reach ‘Kimo’ as this psychotically gorgeous EP nears its end. Lasting almost four-minutes, the closer is just about ten56.‘s longest song yet. Matts blends in an eerie whispered verse this time around with a rhythmic synth, before the other Frenchmen burst into the track respectively, tuned all the way down and in time for Matts to shatter window-panes with his roar. Packed with distortions and punchy mixing, ‘Kimo’ delivers a final bang. The band undergo a machine-gun medley across screeching riffs, and Matts transitions into some kind of super-human vocalist gasping with pounding depth screams. The final thirty-seconds is straight-up deathcore and delivers the band’s capabilities and potential to take over, particularly if this is their first official release.
ten56. – Downer Part 1 tracklisting
1. Exit Bag
4. Sick Dog
Check out our exclusive interview with Aaron Matts regarding all things ten56. here