For their debut album ‘Inguz’, Swedish quartet Normandie have gone down the “bigger is better” route. Having been left with just a clean vocalist Philip Strand following the departure of screamer Johan Lidström last September, the remaining four-piece opted to step away from their former metalcore sound. The end result is a collection of well-rounded, bold rock songs that are full of renewed vigour.
Opening with ‘Fight’, you are instantly given the impression that Normandie have a purpose and that is to deliver a stellar record. The gripping build to the explosive chorus sets the anthemic tone that carries ‘Inguz’ through. Early cuts ‘Awakening’ and ‘Cuts’ certainly fit into this idea with their smooth (if slightly overdone) production.
Stylistically Normandie fall into the growing pit of bands being compared to Young Guns and Mallory Knox (see ‘Loop Hole’), yet songs like ‘Believe’ and ’The Storm’ prove to be more expansive with skyscraper-size choruses that flourish. It is this trait that gives the quartet potential. Soon after, ‘Starting New’ provides a more upbeat, pop-rock offering that highlights Strand’s smooth vocals.
It’s clear they have the capability to write rock songs made for the masses. ‘Inguz’ defeats that challenge with confidence. However, Normandie’s shortcoming is that they don’t quite succeed with removing themselves from the thriving pack of bands they are measured against.
‘Inguz’ by Normandie is released on February 19th.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)