French Heavy Metal band LORRAINE CROSS was born in Toulouse in 2012. The birth came with two Heavy Metal enthusiasts, a couple in life, Katia Figuera (manager) and Guillaume (founder & bass player), deciding to form a band. The purpose was to perpetuate the spirit of Hard ’n’ Heavy. The couple soon joined forces with Tony (lead singer) D.K. & Florent (guitars) and Thomas (drums). After a demo release in 2014, the band received the support of french Heavy Metal specialist Christophe Bailet (ex-manager of Sortilège, ADX, Nightmare).
LORRAINE CROSS issued Army of Shadows, their full-length debut, in late August 2016. The album saw recording and engineering by François Merle (Manigance), mastering by Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Gamma Ray, Pretty Maids). The press release calls Army of Shadows “a mix of influences like US Hard Rock, British Heavy Metal and German Speed Metal”.
“But even if Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest or Helloween are the inspirations, the heart of LORRAINE CROSS beats in France. France and its tormented past, hence the name…LORRAINE CROSS, the symbol of Free French Forces during World War II. An iconic symbol, for all those who refuse to surrender and to live on their knees. Like Guillaume’s grandfather, a French resistant who was nearly shot by a German fire squad. He was like his brother in arms, one of the anonymous martyrs fighting oppression. He was one, from the Army of Shadows.”
LORRAINE CROSS’ Army of Shadows
With a back story such as this, I was quickly intrigued. The cover art is also captivating, for those medieval minded folks, depicting three chained up monks crossing swords of fire. How does Army of Shadows sound? Let’s have a listen. The 6 minutes and 37 seconds of the album’s longest running track, “Sharpshooter” leads the way. “Sharpshooter” basically sets the tone for what you will find encased in Army of Shadows. It’s a rampaging rollicking, heavy metal romp dripping with the influences mentioned above. I like the track, don’t get me wrong, but I would have saved it for a little later in the setlist. Perhaps placing something a little more digestible to the masses at the front. Strangely the lead off single and video, “At Close Range” shown below, is buried deep in Army of Shadows at track number 11.
Army of Shadows displayed a few real standout cuts for me. One such track surfaces in the #9 position with “Go To Hell”. It’s just over four minutes of more melodic style metal…an instant gravitation to my gym workout playlist ensued. The thundering and crashing of “Hard to Get Out” is a rhythmic headbanging neck breaker. The crowning glory of the collection surfaces in the final of the twelve tracks. The chorus of “Lorraine Cross” sticks in my head long after the song has finished. Not having studied the lyrical content I can only assume “Lorraine Cross” pertains to the symbol of Free French Forces during World War II as mentioned above.
LORRAINE CROSS‘ Army of Shadows is really growing on me with each rotation. Like a fine wine, the aging process encourages the flavours to surface. Who knows, this one may even sneak into my top ten albums of the year. If not, you should still pick this one up!