Prepare yourself for a juggernaut of French metal as Pathfinders take us on an epic journey akin to the NASA space probe that inspired the band name. The band offer up heavy groove, elements of progressive metal and djent, and a fascination with space exploration in a captivating listening experience.
The quintet of Clément Levy (vocals), Benjamin Daguet (guitar) brothers Jérémy (bass) and Romain Gaucher (guitar) and Jérémy Barthélémy (drums) are a bunch of friends who met at high school in Fontainebleau, near Paris. They decided to put the band together as they all loved the stage, the same music, and because they were friends.
And on the sound they’ve crafted, Jérémy B tells us: “I would say that we associate groove, melody, and very heavy riffs with precision while deliberately having guitars with a vintage sound.”
Our first taste of this was debut single Damned Earth, which was released last month. It opens up with low-tuned chugging guitars and driving drums with a stabbing guitar over the top. Clément’s guttural screams come in and give way to big high-pitched powerful clean vocals over a cool meandering guitar lick. Heavy stabbing guitars come in alongside a return of screamed vocals that flow into another melodic chorus.
The second chorus drops into heavy guitars, then the pace picks up with a lively darting guitar riff as big screamed vocals take over. That feeds into a final blast of the chorus led by intense vocals and a fun instrumental background, before big chugging guitars bring the track to a heavy ending.
On the track’s reception, Jérémy B said: “Pretty well! On Spotify for example it was put in some playlists, and we are currently at 2,500 plays, 56 followers and around 400 recordings, which is a good start! Damned Earth is a groovy heavy title, which lays the base on our style and what we want to convey to our audience. And if you like Damned Earth then wait for the album, you won’t be disappointed!”
That was followed by this month’s release of second single Impostors, which has already had five-times more streams than their debut track. The track starts out with drawn-out guitars and cymbal crashes, then a drum roll brings in searing guitars that drop into heavy chords and a chugging bassline.
Driving chords support heavy vocals, which feed into a section of really cool, really intense screamed vocals. Atmospheric guitars come in before it drops into driving drums and a cool “bleugh” scream, before palm-muted guitars support heavy screamed vocals then a cool breakdown of stabbing guitars.
The fun, fast-paced screamed vocals return before an atmospheric section of drawn-out guitars and distant synths, which explodes into a lively guitar solo over heavy guitar and bass. Big screamed vocals join in to bring the track to a crushing ending.
Both tracks give us a quick taste and plenty to be excited about for from the band’s debut album Ares Vallis. The album is out on Friday (16 April) and is a collection of stories about adventures to and from Mars.
On the album, Jérémy B told us: “By making Ares Vallis we wanted to offer more than just a listening experience to our audience. I will say a trip. We have put together the tracklist so that the listener is captivated from start to finish, with a spectacular finish on the last track Peste Noire which lasts over 8 minutes.”
Pathfinders’ music is heavily inspired by the likes of Periphery, Lamb of God and In Flames. They’re also part of Team Nowhere, a community that brings bands together to promote their music, and are signed to independent French label Music Records.
And on what inspires their music, Jérémy B says: “The decadence regarding the environment and the world, the uncertainty we have about what will happen to us in relation to the current situation.”
We’ve not met too many metal bands but those we have met have been excellent, with the likes of ODC, Show Me Your Universe and, more recently, fellow newcomers Paradise Plaza. On their local scene, Jérémy B said: “In France, metal is not really very popular. I find it a shame because there are many groups that accumulate crowds and we even have festivals dedicated to Metal that sell all their tickets in no time before even revealing the program (big up Hellfest).
“However, there are a lot of them with varying degrees of fame. You have to know where to look because the most popular French media do not talk about metal at all. But there are a lot of us, and there are really very good bands with very good musicians, and also a top audience!”
Pathfinders’ debut album Ares Vallis is out this Friday (16 April) and you can pre-order it here. The band are looking forward to playing gigs to promote the album in France and beyond and are searching for a booking agency to organise this – so if that’s you then get in touch with them!
The band also has plenty of ideas for further compositions, as Jérémy B explains: “Ares Vallis is just the first album, and we promise you a lot of content! We want to thank all our fans for being present, because it is thanks to them that we are here!”