French rockers The Amsterdam Red Light District have made a statement of intent with the launch of new album Sapere Aude, which takes their original punk rock style and injects it with a new-found heavy rock attitude.
The Lyon quartet perfectly fuse punky cleaner vocals with big screams, alongside delicious riffs and relentless driving drums to form a sound that oozes energy and passion and they describe to us as “violent rock’n’roll entertainment.”
The band’s eye-catching name is, in fact, an ironic ruse that attempts to mirror the state of modern society. As the band explain: “A couple of years ago, after a road trip to Scandinavia, we decided to visit Brussels and Amsterdam on the way back to France. We visited the famous Red Light District and we felt just like we were in a Tarantino movie. Girls (mostly) looking sad behind windows, dealers dealing drugs in front of cops, families walking around hand in hand. This was just normal. We really thought it could be a good name for a rock band. So weird.”
Sapere Aude – which means ‘Dare To Know’ in Latin – starts strongly with the excellent opening track Nobody Moves Like You. A big blast of guitar chords are supported by pounding bass drum that continues through a fast-paced opening verse, then more animated vocals end with a cry of “You got it” from frontman Elio Sxone, followed by a quick chorus. Really cool darting riffs support a heavier second chorus that ends with big screams then the guitars drift away leaving a lingering bassline that’s soon joined by building vocals, which are blown away by a mass of huge screams of “Nobody moves like you.” This is a fantastic album opener.
It’s followed, perhaps suggestively, by The Best Is Yet To Come, which sees Cancer Bats’ Liam Cormier play a cameo appearance that says a lot about the stature of TARLD. It opens up with a cool little guitar riff that drops into heavier chords supporting rocky vocals followed by some big screams. A big singalong chorus is followed by a fun high-pitched guitar solo then drops into really cool low-tuned riff and a longer section of big screamed vocals that eventually feed back into another singalong chorus of “We were there when it began, We’ll be there until the end” supported by big backing vocals that continue through to an atmospheric ending. Is there better to come? This track certainly sets the benchmark pretty high, and you can check it out in the video below:
Next up Need, the first single from the album, may well be a swift promise of the best being to come. It opens up with a disgustingly good stabby low-tuned riff, followed by a scream of “What should we buy motherfuckers?” A call-and-answer verse that ends on the line “I need a new phone every fucking year” feeds into a chorus then a cry of “What should we buy motherfuckers?” brings the opening riff back in. Frankly, if that riff just repeated for the 3:25 that this song lasts, then that alone would satisfy me.
Luckily the lyrics are equally cool, with the second verse opening up “I need to buy medication for everything, What kind of car matches my new personality.” A building section of vocals ends on a cry of “Stop analysing ignorance” that’s met by a wall of guitars and drums that continue under big screamed vocals, then the sexy riff comes back for one last blaze of glory. Check it out in the video below:
Swiftly following is Wild Life, which opens with big guitar chords and driving drums, which continue through a more punky verse then big screamed vocals kick in. Repeats of “running on empty” end on a huge scream then drops back into another fast-paced verse that ends “Are you ready for the wild life, Well walking the line is not really our style, Are you ready for the wild life, Don’t be scared to lose your mind I’ve already lost mine,” which are repeated but heavier. More repeats of “running on empty” again end on a big scream that leads into a smash of guitars to close the song out.
A cry of “I’m not the man I used to be, I am the man you never wanted to see” opens up Carry On, then a smash of big guitars and drums kick in. Screamed vocals are answered by clean vocals through the chorus then cool stabbing chords support a fast-paced shouty chorus. Check it out in the video below:
There’s a brief pause for breath at the start of Over The Fence, but the unrelenting pace kicks straight back in with driving chords and bass drum supporting shouted vocals. A section of drawn-out vocals is answered by a return of the shouted vocals, then a cool jumpy riff kicks in and feeds into more heavy vocals.
It feeds straight into Waiting For The Day, which opens with a really cool heavy punk riff and loads of crashing cymbals. A more relaxed opening verse follows, with the vocals gradually increasing in intensity and leading into a smash of screams. A huge chorus of cries of “I’m waiting for the day, when you will understand” is followed by wild vocals and a flying guitar riff.
A stabby guitar riff then opens up The Whole City Burns, and continues over a wild opening blitz of screams. A cry of “It’s time to revolt” is immediately followed by more huge screams, which again kick in over the cool riff then a fun little repeating riff builds the tension, before it’s all switched up by a guitar riff that brings in a huge key change. The opening riff soon returns to restore normality with a big shouty outro.
The interestingly named penultimate track Evil Stackholders opens with a distinctly Comeback Kid sounding riff, then an equally so shouty verse, followed by a fast-paced singalong verse. A cool fast-paced guitar solo leads into more shouted vocals that close the track out. It’s followed by final track Sapere Aude, which uses samples and audio recordings focusing on Donald Trump, and ends on repeats of the phrase “Enlighten your mind, dare to be wise.”
This is a brilliant album packed full of big riffs and huge vocals that deliver a hard-hitting rockiness that reflect its political message superbly in a move away from their more punky previous music.
The band explain: “We are really proud of this album. We hope that this will open new doors for us: new countries, festivals… Sapere Aude sounds much bigger than all of our previous records and musically it’s much heavier, less punk rock – but it still sounds TARLDish. The lyrics are more politically charged, we really wanted to invite our listeners to think about this world.
“Music is only a story of emotion, this is our way to transmit all of our good vibes and positive energy into the band. Lyrically politics and industry are becoming increasingly important, it’s all about being free. Freedom is the main focus for the band.”
TARLD are the latest in a series of great rock and metal bands emerging from the French scene. In their words: “It’s true, we have so many good bands everywhere in France. It took ages but now we can say that we have a good scene! Although that’s not an easy name to get, we’ve been touring since 2010 and TARLD is a live band so people spread the word. We just got back from our UK tour and French bands need to work on their live gigs, the bands over the UK are so great.”