Between baguettes, the Eiffel tower, and eating snails, there aren’t a lot of reasons to like the French (hence why no one seems to), but if there were ever six people you had to spent a weekend in the Provence with, I’d suggest the guys from Manigance. Unrightfully shunned by the larger metal community for singing in – sacrebleu! – French, these progressive power metallers have been around for over fifteen years now and “Récidive” marks the fourth milestone in their career.
Those familiar with Manigance – which in English means something like “tactical maneuver” – know what to expect: grandiose atmosphere, pounding riffs and above all irresistible melodies. After a brief curtain call named “Aura”, all these trademarks are fantastically featured in the first full track “Larme De L’Univers”, a stomping affair with an addictive lead melody and one of those layered choruses only these guys can write. Don’t let the language of love stop you from singing along, ‘cause there are some excellent lyrics on this record.
I have been a fan of this band ever since I picked up 2006's “L’Ombre Et La Lumière” on a whim and I’m glad to see they haven’t changed their sound one bit and stuck to writing diverse, charismatic, and catchy songs. There is no saying non to the uplifting “Mercenaire” (which has a great leading riff), the fast-as-one-of-those-luxurious-trains-to-Paris “Récidiviste” or the haunting “Délivrance”. There’s only one problem with this album: it’s a bit too long and I feel two or three tracks could’ve been cut in favor of a more consistently qualitative whole.
Wouldn’t it be great to conclude that Manigance is like an excellent French wine and only grows better with age? Well, mon Dieu, it is. This is isn’t music you fall in love with at first sight, but that which slowly finds its way into your heart and can one day lift you up from the ground altogether. You just have to give it a chance.
Arno Callens' rating: 3.75 out of 5