Swiss progressive metalcore outfit Henriette B just released their second EP, Tales of Reality, on February 20. The band is a technically proficient, inventive unit that adeptly mixes progressive metalcore, deathcore, djent and mainstream metal into a heavy, catchy and dynamic album.
Classical influence in modern metal always intrigues me, and “Utopia,” Tales of Reality’s opening number, captured my attention immediately with a haunting, heavy introduction featuring polyrhythmic chug patterns akin to Born of Osiris. Though such elements could be a foundation for an entire EP, part of the charm of Henriette B is their willingness to diversify and adapt. Songs like “Face Or Flee” are not afraid to delve into mid-2000’s metalcore territory.
Vocalist Ian Girod and guitarists Vincent Simonin and Thierry Grundbacher are diverse in their delivery, maintaining my interest throughout the album with diverse screams, growls, black metal shrieks and singing sections that do not conform to any one genre. Guitarists in particular bring versatile, technical and melodic guitar work to the album, and Fabio Duro makes dynamic use of his drums as a part of Henriette B’s sound. Though there are distinct bass sections throughout the album, I would love to hear more from Fabien Voumard.
Overall, Henriette B’s Tales of Reality is a release that holds its own with most of its competitors in the genre, shining in its diversity. In a scene where many albums often have songs that are nearly indistinguishable from each other, it is refreshing and impressive to hear a full-length where each song has a unique place in the album, incorporating different approaches from a number of genres and influences. Though, at times, Henriette B seemed close to spiraling out of control with their eclectic approach, they manage to reign in their ambitions for a focused, diverse release that I have continued to enjoy after several listens.