This is my first exposure to this young French band, but I hope not the last, for Misanthrope(s) is one of the most intense experiences I've had lately. The sound of Celeste dwells amidst a multitude of genres. Take the epoch of sludge and post-hardcore and infuse it with tormented blackish metal vocals. Driving chords unleash grooving, jerking torment; the same chords create a shining crest to the black, undulating waves beneath. Remind me to bring this band up on assault charges, because this album hurt in all the right ways.
There is no waiting for the damage, because Misanthrope(s) begins its beating upon entry. "Que des yeux vides et seches" slowly drowns all hope like a sentient black ichor sent from the Gods to sap the very life from our flesh. "Comme pour leurrer les regards et cette odeur de cadavre" flows a little more slowly with a menacing sheen of layered despair. Each brief chug is carefully coordinated to impose forward momentum through the simmering, sludgy chords. "Toucher ce vide beant attise ma fascination" starts rapidly but quickly brings the pace back down to cavernous molasses. The chords here are beautifully irreverent. The band takes it even slower on the fascinating and doomy "La gorge ouverte et decharnee", and the remainder of the album is equally compelling. In particular I enjoyed "Une insomnie avec qui tout le monde voudrait baiser", but the entire record is consistent.
The sound to the album is ferocious. Despite their pummelling of the guitars they are given much clarity, where the bass distorts and plods beneath to create the perfect muddle of sludge. Drums are loud and pace the guitars, and the nihilistic vocals excel in their tortured barking. This is a band that could be following up Gojira as one of the best new French bands. Their metalcore/post-hardcore roots will ensure their appeal goes far beyond the standard sludge metal crowd. Misanthrope(s) is a real crusher of an album, it may feel samey throughout but I highly recommend you take this all in at once as a single, bludgeoning experience. Excellent.
Verdict: Epic Win [9/10]