Final Tragedy - Greed

Year of Release: 2001
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: JLMCD74247
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:27:00

This is the kind of review I don't like to write. Every CD I receive, whether from an artist or label to review, or something I've ordered (purchased, with a vague idea of what to expect), comes with the potential to blow me away, to knock my socks off, to leave me pleasantly dumbfounded. But, this album from Final Tragedy isn't it. It's not absolutely horrible - the music on it sounds like it would be killer, if only the production didn't obscure most of it. Jean-Luc Millot's guitar shines through often, as does the bass. The drums by guest Stefan Hassler often punch through, but except for the more sedate parts, the keys are but dimly heard parps and tinkles buried so far back in the mix, they might just as well have been left out. Better production and this album would be great, as the performances from Millot and Hassler are really good.

To my ears, the quality of Delphine Cochand's vocals are also uneven. When she sounds more masculine -- a cross between the ex-vocalist of Deyss, Patrick Fragniere, Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth -- she is also off key and whiney (unlike Hogarth, though, in that). When they are more lilting, they come across as much stronger. It's not that as a woman she should sound like a woman. One knows that I didn't care for Fragniere's vocals (that for a man, seemed too feminine) and that I love Steve Hogarth, so if even the latter aspect were stronger... Nor is that I expect her to sound like Lana Lane, for example. And I'm sure mixing has a great deal to do with it as well. Were her vocals better placed in the mix, it wouldn't sound like she was giving her performance from the bathroom down the hall. The slight echoing effect applied to her voice (or so it seems) leaves one with this impression. I say all that because it was recorded in a home studio, though it doesn't sound like they were in the same room. But there is a lot of potential here, the music itself, when it can be heard, is quite good.

From other reviews I've read, just to see anyone else commented on the sound, it seems this mix was deliberate. I'm not sure why. To give it an ethereal feel, I suppose, but to my ears, it didn't pan out. Well, I could offer another suggestion as to "why," but it would appear I was being unnecessarily cruel.

The album opens with the tinkling of piano and some nice guitar leads in "Lethal Pursuit," before shifting gears into a pummeling drum attack (keyboards are there, but barely), though guitars and bass chug along heavily. I like the bass tone at the beginning of "Speak The Words" and the brief guitar solo is quite nice - a bit Rothery-esque. But the keys are buried and when they do emerge sound a bit like a train horn as heard on a foggy night in the middle of nowhere. But, if more of it were like the last 30 seconds or so of "Speak The Words," it might be rather cool. I do kinda like "One More Time," maybe the only time where the distant nature of the vocals works. There comes a point where the rhythm makes me think of early Marillion with harsher guitar and parpier keys, by which I mean then the bass and percussion... very Script/Fugazi like. It fades out when it gets into an interesting groove though, where the guitar contrasts against the heavy beat with chiming guitar lines.

More nice piano on "On A Fall's Night." There's a section during "Cold Sun" that's interesting, where the mix is okay and Cochand's vocals are delivered in a breathy, ethereal matter, but her voice just isn't quite right for it. She needs to lighter her tone a shade or two, and strengthen her control on the notes. Otherwise, this is probably the most complete song on the album... on an album that also suffers from a sameness to all the album's tracks. Oh, there is a moment where Images And Words-period Dream Theater will come to mind with the chiming, opening guitar lines of "The Wait." But how samey? I was still thinking about "The Wait," but the album had moved on to "Gift?" I didn't even notice the shift. And because I find the production lackluster, often one can't even pick out where in a song she is.

I haven't yet mentioned the lyrics, and that's because they are pretty good. There is a narrative flow to them, and they aren't awkward. As a vocalist, Cochand is a better lyricist. The first and last tracks deal with loss of faith, not necessarily on a personal level but on a larger level...everything in between seems to deal with a failed relationship -- a relationship ended by a death? -- told in dark, depressing tones. Well, a lot like Nevermore's Dreaming Neon Black, for example.

Greed is their first full-length release, following on from two EP's, Final Tragedy and Trial Of Tears. Some of the material here previously appeared on the latter of the EPs. Better production next time out, and a stronger vocal performance, and Final Tragedy could be a French metal band to be reckoned with.

Lethal Pursuit (5:37) / Speak The Words (4:55) / Evil Game (5:59) / One More Time (5:54) / On A Fall's Night (5:05) / Cold Sun (5:16) / The Wait (5:37) / Gift?: Part 1: Purgatory - Part II: Resurrection (11:15)

Delphine Cochand - lead and backing vocals
Jean-Luc Millot - guitars, bass, programming & background vocals
Stefan Hassler - drums

Final Tragedy (demo) (1996)
Trial Of Tears (ep) (1998)
Greed (2001)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin FR

Added: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 736
Language: english


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