It’s a new decade, and French Modern Progressive Metal band STÖMB are keen to enter it with a fresh sense of purpose…and a new studio album to be released on 31 January. The quartet have also been tagged as being an instrumental post-djent quartet. For the uninitiated, post-djent is a heavy metal subgenre that recently grew out of djent, characterised by the use of open chords often with no real rythmn. Djent itself is in turn described as a certain kind of guitar tone featuring medium-high gain, a quick-release noise gate to emphasis the staccato nature of playing. Nope, doesn’t mean a lot to me either!, although it does seem to have caused a certain amount of angst in metal ranks – doom, gloom and all that.
The band was formed in Paris in 2012 and, despite early attempts to find the right vocalist to fit their progressive and exploratory sound, Stömb’s subsequent formation and continuation as an instrumental project has since become perhaps their greatest and most defining feature – something that was hallmarked by the release of their 2013 debut EP ‘Fragment’. For the singer-less quartet, the lyrical “obviousness” of other current-day metal acts has been replaced by carefully-mapped journeys of pure musical interpretation. Song meanings are implied and concepts are willingly offered for consumption, yet it is the interwoven play of rhythmic intricacy and dynamic exploration that presses forward into the limelight, crafting constantly-shifting plane of atmospheric intensity and intrigue.
After ‘Fragment’, 2015 saw the release of Stömb’s debut full-length studio album, entitled ‘The Grey’, which was produced at Hybreed Studio and mastered by Acle Kahney (Tesseract). Introducing a psychedelic and ethereal atmosphere, painted confidently with the groove and heaviness of djent and modern metal, ‘The Grey’ received a unanimous and warm welcome from both public and press. September 2017 then saw the release of a second EP, “Duality”, as well as the arrival of drummer Tom Gadonna (The Long Escape) into the band. Over the last 3-4 years, Stömb have shared the stage with the likes of Leprous, Vola, Humanity’s Last Breath, The Algorithm and Kadinja, and have been part of the development of prog metal festivals such as Cologne’s Euroblast and UK Tech Fest.
So – to the new album. ‘From Nihil’ promises a bold concept album centered around cosmic chaos, nothingness and the insignificance of man within the universe. Coming in at just over 70 minutes, you certainly get your money’s worth! The album was recorded and mixed at Axone Studio and mastered by Pierrick Noel (Klone, The Yokel , Moon Drivers, Dorian’s Grace). The album’s artwork is the result of a collaboration with painter Sylvie Gedda, and her work “La Dame Blanche”.
The videos that accompany the album have increased significance given the lack of lyrics, and there is some powerful imagery in these. The first one below is ‘Under the Grey’ taken from 2015’s ‘The Grey’. This is followed by ‘Ephmeral’ from the new album, and the band are really pleased with the result. It’s described as the perfect start to draw listeners into the album’s conceptual story, the track and the video working as a joint item to set the band’s identity. The video was all shot in real life, all the shots being direct takes with no 3D imagery, just minimal special effects to enhance schenes.
Try the video and enjoy your first taste of the new album!