Review 2070 : Something Animal – Bestial Curse Part 1 – English

Something Animal is on the hunt again.

After an acclaimed debut EP in 2019, the combo comprising P.A. (guitar), Heddy (guitar), Guillaume (bass), Mathieu (drums) and Daz (vocals) announce the release of Bestial Curse Part 1 in 2024.

We start with Rats, a first track that immediately offers a metallic groove disturbed by screeching harmonics and raw vocal parts, while remaining as disturbing as coherent. Riffs and irregular strokes blend together to fuel the ongoing oppression, which only ends to let the short Hyena place its vicious dissonance beneath energetic Old School elements. It’s the perfect track to get a conquered crowd going wild, while Dove are more likely to break our necks with their devastating moshpits before offering a few slightly more soaring parts, which obviously don’t last. The band follow up with Bird and its unexpectedly explosive flights of fancy, and there’s a worrying break about halfway through that lets the musicians build up a certain darkness before giving life to an almost… soothing and catchy passage. The sound obviously catches fire on the final, which leads into the massive L.I.O.N. and its impressive riffs, which the band take the time to develop with more melodic spikes before letting them loose to become literally crushing towards the end.

I don’t need to summarize Something Animal, their name speaks for itself. Bestial Curse Part 1 takes us into its chaos, dissonance and abrasive sounds in no time. Don’t expect any downtime.


Version Française ?

A few questions for Something Animal on the release of their new EP, Bestial Curse Part 1.

Hello and thank you for your time! How could you introduce the band Something Animal without using the usual musical style labels?
Something Animal: Hello, thank you! We say we play Chaotic Rocking Hardcore, because it fuses the three major styles that drive us: Hardcore Punk, the basis of our style, chaotic and slightly mathematical stuff, even Prog à la Converge, The Chariot, or Botch, and Rock, because it’s still our roots. In other words, we want to get into a fight, dancing the twist, while not understanding exactly what’s going on.

Bestial Curse Part 1, your new EP, comes out next month. Do you already have any feedback on it?
Something Animal: Pretty enthusiastic, the initial feedback has been very positive. We think the songs are much better composed than the first EP, and the artistic choices we’ve made seem to appeal. We’d like people to have a good impression of this new EP, which will set the new direction for the band.

How would you sum up Bestial Curse Part 1 in three words?
Something Animal: VERY. BIG. FIGHT.

Bestial Curse Part 1 comes out five years after Urban Zoology. Did you notice any changes or evolutions in your creative process?
Something Animal: Even on Urban Zoology, we already had an amount of compositions ahead of us. During the confinement, we composed a lot of tracks, without being able to rehearse them. The fact that we didn’t see each other meant that we had to come up with compositions that would be effective straight away, without having to go through the process of rehearsal and exchange between musicians, which can sometimes lead to losing the original intent. The composition has to speak to you quickly, without someone having explained to you what he meant. The relationship is harder: if you listen to a song without someone playing it in front of you or explaining it to you, you’ll be more demanding. So we streamlined the compositions to get as far as possible to the essentials, while retaining the strange and surprising side that our music aims to have: fewer complicated or understandable riffs than for guitar nerds, keeping the internal coherence of the tracks, and having different emotions running through them. In terms of sound, we’ve refined ourselves: we wanted to bring the bass more to the fore, because it’s what holds the whole thing together, and we tried to make the vocals more polished, because that’s still important to us. We had the EP mixed by the studio that worked with Johnny Booth (Jamie King Audio), and we worked with a graphic designer Camille Murgue.

The EP is announced as part of a triptych. Can you explain the concept?
Something Animal: Bestial Curse part 1 is the first EP in a triptych of EPs we’ll be releasing from February 2024. Twenty tracks were created, 15 of which were selected with different intentions. We chose to release in three distinct parts to mark the range of different forms of expression (from the darkest to the most positive) of the musical identity we have. Part 1 being the darkest we have to show before unveiling the other parts.

Each of your tracks is linked to the name of an animal, such as the short and sometimes vicious Hyena, the impressive and lively Bird or the massive L.I.O.N.. How do you attribute the animal’s character to each track?
Something Animal: For this EP, the tracks evoke animals, but it’s not certain that this will be the case for the following ones. The tracks describe the state of the world and society as we know it. It’s in the approach to this observation, the subjects, the desire for objectivity, the fact of not wanting to teach a lesson and the ethological approach that the originality can be found. To personify them, we decided to give them an animal character, a bit like La Fontaine’s fables, without the moral judgment aspect. The music influenced the choice of animals, but it was above all the text that determined the final choice.

How do you develop the balance between the chaotic parts and the more Old School elements of your music?
Something Animal: There’s no Old School hardcore in the traditional sense, like Minor Threat, Earth Crisis or Madball, although you can listen to that. But 30 years ago was the advent of Alternative Metal, Grunge, Neo-Metal and Pop/Punk. And we’re bound to find some of these influences here, sometimes unconsciously. And even though we like to have vicious, messy passages, we try to keep it relatively accessible, like those bands from the 90s and 2000s, who could have very sharp passages where men and women could move to them. 

I know it’s a tough question, but do you have a favorite track on this EP? Or the one that seemed the most natural to compose?
Something Animal: Hyenas, because the song was written in two hours, with me, P.A., and Heddy. There was just the first idea, which was the main riff. Through the ping pong of ideas, we managed to develop everything very quickly. And I remember that at the end, Heddy said to me « shouldn’t we add an extra part? », and I replied « no, the composition’s fine, there are 3 ideas, it’s 2 minutes long, there’s no need to stretch the thing ». And that reflected everything we’d been doing for a while: 3 riffs maximum, a precise intention behind the compo (in this case, we had to play very fast like FastCore bands, with breakdowns), little sockets left and right to surprise, and then we’d move on to the next compo.

What can you tell me about the artwork? What were the guidelines for its creation, and is it linked to the next two?
Something Animal: We called on Camille Murgue, whose work we also appreciate. The idea was to have a very large fresco at the end, which would develop the concept of the EP triptych. We gave her relative autonomy to come up with her own interpretation of the concept, and she suggested painting techniques she used less often (watercolors, for example) to develop a new approach. A great support to her and her work.

Bestial Curse Part 1 is an independent release. Is it the band’s intention to remain independent?
Something Animal: It’s a co-production, part of it is self-produced, and distribution is handled by Norad Promotion. In extreme music, and specifically in our Chaotic Hardcore niche, we’re very niche. In these aesthetics, to be able to exist and propose your artistic vision, you have to do some of the work yourself. On the other hand, there’s a satisfying side to having done all the sound recording sometimes.

How did you discover the Metal/Hardcore scene and its derivatives? In your opinion, what are the must-have bands on the current scene?
Something Animal: Probably like everyone else: we listen to Rock, Metal, then sometimes we become more radical in our musical tastes, either through our own research, or thanks to friends. On a personal level, it was the discovery of Refused and At The Drive-In that turned me definitively towards more radical aesthetics. My comrades will no doubt have other examples. There was also Good Morning Bleeding City, a group of friends who had a big impact on us as teenagers. The must-have bands of the moment for me would be : Johnny Booth, Stray From The Path, Knocked Loose, and Turnstile, who are clearly taking things to the next level. We’ve also been phasing Loathe a lot. In France, the best current band for me is Pogo Car Crash Control. We played with them in 2014, and they were already super strong, but now the quality of their compo and prod is incredible.

What are your plans for the rest of Something Animal? In the immediate future, or in several months’ time?
Something Animal: We’re in the process of finalizing the second EP. The 3rd is already written, and partly recorded, and we’re going to start production on all that to bring you the cream of what we can do. We’re also in the process of preparing some dates that are starting to take shape so that we can present this EP.

Do you think you’ve improved as a musician with this album?
Something Animal: Yes, both in human and technical terms. We recorded almost everything ourselves, and even edited it ourselves, and as a result we’ve learned to deal with people and recording techniques, which is what a producer usually does.

What bands do you dream of playing with? I’ll leave it to you to imagine a date for the release of Bestial Curse Part 1 with Something Animal as an opener, and three other bands.
Something Animal: Knocked Loose for the brawl, Botch for the revered Prog it brings, and Stray From the Path for moving like a moron.

That was my last question, so I thank you for your availability, and leave you with the final words!
Something Animal: Macron explosion.

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