ROZZ is a French Heavy Metal band that was formed back in 1984. But only a few years and a few releases later, the band split… to come back in 2008. Back in the day the band took the opportunity to share the stage with e.g. BLUE OYSTER CULT, TOKYO BLADE, ACID and several others. Since their comeback, ROZZ have put a lot of effort in putting out releases, starting with an EP in 2009, followed by a new full-length in 2010 under the title “D’un siècle à l’autre” (From one century to the other). That same year a live DVD was put out. Two years ago, ROZZ released another EP, “Another Life”.
But more importantly, a new full-length is since the 25th October 2013 available: “Tranches de Vie” (Slices, or, Scores of life). This new CD holds sixteen tracks and last for more than 60 minutes. This is also the first release that brings me into contact with ROZZ and their music. It’s usually very interesting to hear veteran rockers at work, especially after a long period of absence. Some succeed, others are less fortunate. And several still carry on (IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, METALLICA, MEGADETH, and many many more).
The album kicks off with the powerful, rocking “Comdamné”. Keyboards in the back provide a touch of melody to fill the gaps. The vocals (not always on the spot) are clean, yet have a rough edge. I also detected a light Progressive Rock influence in the music. I don’t know what went wrong, if it’s either the promo CD I received or how the recording/mixing/mastering process occurred, but the sound is very much like a demo. There are younger bands out there who have a far better production on their release(s).
“Les Loups” begins with a small intro, leading into hymnic, Epic Metal. Again the keyboards operate from the back, though can be heard only faintly. There are light Folky influences throughout the song. There’s even a shift into straight-forward rocking. What a surprise! Also, I repeat: the sound, or in this case, the mix is not good. The guitars are too much in the back, the keyboard accents come in like one accidentally hits the keys (like a sudden outburst, but very short), etc… The song’s ending occurs in jolts and bumps, so to speak. And what’s a song about wolves without the howling? Yep, you get these as well. But seriously, didn’t anyone check the recordings before approving for release?
“Crazy Horses” brings us back to the 1980s with pounding Rock. The singing, I’m sorry to say, is or sounds false. And why are the lyrics in English? Why not just carry on in French, especially when the accent problem cannot be denied? Upon searching on internet, this appears to be a cover, originally by the OSMOND BROTHERS. In any case, covering songs is always a dangerous undertaking and ROZZ have underestimated it gravely. Things do improve a tiny little bit in “Croisade”, which has a symphonic intro, of which the theme carries on when the rest of the band falls in. The vocals are a bit lower this time and all things considered, the whole doesn’t sound that bad. It’s when the chorus is due that chaos creeps in, that you hear something’s wrong with the arrangements. Afterwards it’s back to marching (the rhythm), hymnic music. The guitar solo, if you can call it that, is rather amateuristic, it sounded more like… No, I’m not going to write that. Let’s keep it at: it wasn’t good. At all.
More Folk in “Unis”, which starts in a theatrical, musical manner. Folk Rock takes over with lots of room for solos and leadwork. Another very linear song, very simple and, to be honest, failing to catch and hold my attention. Time for more power and drive, one would say? Here’s “Les Conquérants”, also with lots of solos, though not always executed in a professional manner. “Ménagère Blues” could have been a JOE COCKER song, but ROZZ fail to deliver the goods. Is it supposed to be a caricature?
“Guitariste” also is a return to the glorious 1980s, this via the keyboards. The guitar playing has something neo-classical. Then the Metal kicks in: it’s firm, it’s powerful, it’s got… bad singing. Add simple melodies throughout the song and the end result just ruins the pleasure of listening to music. Another keyboard-started song is “La Nuit”, which also has bird sounds in the back to help create a nice atmosphere. Rock falls in, first in a building manner, then at normal drive. But the situation just doesn’t improve, compared to the previous songs. Even the next ones just don’t cut it: you get a mix of a powerful song, another midtempo one, melodies here and there, another calm track, and all ends with the “Epilogue”, consisting of piano and speech.
The press text said: The new album “Tranches de Vie” is the result of years of experience. And then you would think that anno 2013 the band comes back rejuvenated, re-energized and more of that. Alas, the new album sounds like a rush job, no, a careless job, as if they HAD TO record another album. The sound is too much like a demo (in itself not a problem, but if you’re promoting this as a proper full-length, and especially after all those years, then sound is an issue). The mix is not good, the vocals and instruments are not well aligned. The musicianship… I don’t hear all those years of experience. Or, again: what went wrong in the making of this new release?
- Les Loups
- Crazy Horses
- Les Conquérants
- Ménagère Blues
- La Nuit
- La Meilleure Vie
- Vol de Nuit
Marcel Ximenes – vocals, guitar
Axel Dordain – guitar
Alain Ximenes – keyboards
Herr Day – bass
Mike Sven – drums