Reviewed: November 2022
Released: 2022, Mighty Music
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann
No Return are a thrash/death metal band from Paris who formed in 1984 under the name of Evil Power. In 1989, they changed their name to the one they still use now. They released their 11th full length album ‘Requiem’ on 21st October 2022, through Mighty Music and they have released a number of demos, an EP, a single and a live album. Their lyrics are based on the themes of politics, human issues and futuristic concepts, and they are for fans of Dew-Scented, and Sepultura.
If, like me, you once thought heavy French music couldn’t possibly exist as everyone is so soft-spoken there, and they all take trips to the Eiffel Tower to tell their partners how much they love them, you will be in for a surprise! These guys are just as heavy as many of their thrash brothers. If I could compare them to one thrash band, I’d maybe choose later Testament. Both bands often have similar tempos, and are neither are overly simple or complex. In that respect, I wouldn’t choose proggier Metallica, or the more basic Slayer. Really, they sound more like In Flames, however, with all their harmonised pedal tone riffs and all. A bit of review rehashing on my part, but that’s just what they sound like. Sometimes hints of Iron Maiden are heard, too, in their faster moments. It’s a super cliched sound and that’s the biggest flaw of the album, but on the plus side everything is performed well. Maybe that’s the biggest strength of the album – musicianship. Cliched musicianship.
I wouldn’t say the members are virtuoso level, but they are good enough at what they do. The shredded solos are often heavily scalic but exciting, and in the world of thrash and death metal, that is most often very cool! Lead-wise, I’m reminded of Necrophagist, but the band on a day where they just think ‘f**k it’. Only joking, it’s far from that bad. I think one solo uses the lydian mode, a favourite of Steve Vai. Vai’s gone heavy! The riffs are aggressive and pretty tight, so there are no complaints in that respect, and the production is thick yet natural. Top marks for the production. My favourite type. As heavy as this music may be, the death metal elements aren’t truly brutal. Rapid and heavy, sure, but if you’re a fan of Cannibal Corpse’s crazy structures, atonal riffs and craziness in general, you will be likely be disappointed. Unless of course, you want DM to be simpler, more melodic and have plenty of pedal tone ideas. There are lots of blast beats on offer, but if you’re one of those people who believe robots are our superiors and should be mimicked as much as possible, you may feel let down. The blasts have more of a groove.
In conclusion, this music is very far from romantic. I’m sure you may find that hard to deal with. It’s not the heaviest stuff in the world, not just in death metal, much of Slayer’s stuff is quite a bit more intense, and certainly more groundbreaking. Is there ANYTHING new with Requiem? Hm. In my opinion… no. That’s far from unusual, but at least try. If you’re like me and you find a lot of extreme metal to be pretentious, really there is only one annoying track title: ‘The Podium of Truths’. A bit lame maybe, but you may love it. ‘The Black Wolfs Kingdom’ is maybe a little silly, too, but not so much ‘The Only One’ or ‘Affliction’, etc. On the whole, this is perfectly reasonable for what it is – a fun thrill-fest – but not only is there better extreme stuff out there, there is better French extreme stuff out there, e.g. Gorod. THEY are good! NR are fairly average at least this time round.