Crushing French metal act Stengah return with the Downward Mechanic EP that will be released via Mascot Records on 1st December. Ahead of that comes new single and video to the first track, ‘The Earth Awakes’.
It’s a year on from their debut album Soma Sema, featuring the award-winning video for ‘He and the Sea’ – picking up the #1 prize from the Munich Music Video Awards and International Sound Future Awards. During that time, the band played ferocious sets at Hellfest (France), Bloodstock (UK), Mystic Festival (Poland), Metal Days (Slovenia) and was voted France’s Best New Band by Guitar Part magazine.
The Downward Mechanic EP serves as an extension of Soma Sema, not least in that the songs were written during the same sessions as their debut, meaning that they are entwined with each other, breathing the same air, delving into the same scope of the mind as well as its fragilities, with bludgeoning brutality.
Lead track and single, ‘The Earth Awakes’ has been described as “ethereal” and has a dreamlike narrative that “marries continent-shaking nightmarish riffs and takes the listener to the first light on the earth. With the time rewinding fast with excessive blast beats and bright chords blinding them at first,” the lyrics painting the majesty of witnessing the very first sunset in the world. “It is a fast and very massive song to sing in an epic way, how mother nature awakes and draws its strength over the ages, and how humble we must remain as we are simple dwellers on this planet,” said Eliott Williame.
‘The Earth Awakes’ video shows the blinded musicians alone with their inner sight. “To show what’s inside, we choose the opportunity to bring back the ragdoll monster from the previous videos for the album Soma Sema and let them reunite with old artefacts and characters from ‘He And The Sea, At The Behest Of Origins’, and ‘Above Inhumanity’,” Williame added
‘Reign Of An Apocryph’ follows as a direct sequel. “This song was one of the very first that the band played together back in the early days,” Williame explained. “As the song is about endless creation and a permanent evolution of all: beliefs, knowledge and even absurdity, it has known a constant change of arrangements and performances. In 2023, this is how the song is shaped. And what’s exciting with ‘Reign Of An Apocryph’ is that it will probably continue to change and evolve differently, according to the song’s subject. We like to think that our music, even once recorded, is never really achieved.”
The record’s most personal song also sees the band take a moment of contemplation on the acoustic ‘Resurface (September’s Gone),’ that tackles escaping depression – emerging your head from dark waters and finally taking a breath. The dark and claustrophobic ‘Sheltered Within’ features the most impressive feral lines the band have ever recorded to feel how the character would in the song, as he loses his mind to madness.
Ever in a state of perpetual motion, the closer ‘Inner Space’ offers a glimpse into the evolution of Stengah. Also, it rests as the grand finale of the introspective era initiated by Soma Sema. The last level of coalescence between body and mind, the very last dialogue, both getting free from any duality as they part ways, mastering the perfect balance between the real world and the dream realm.
Founded by drummer Eliott Williame, the band is completed by bassist Benoit Creteur, guitarists Maxime Delassus and Alex Orta and frontman Nicolas Queste. “Even more than we did in Soma Sema, we want the listener to identify with the human being behind the vocals, the drums and the guitars,” explained Williame. “That was the main goal during the process: how do we express all those extreme feelings through the sound? Then came those five musical pieces for a long meditation, opening on the original sunset of ‘The Earth Awakes’, and taking you to the endless journey of ‘Inner Space’.”
Downward Mechanic’s meaning here is to be the opposite of a human, becoming a machine. It is something mechanical turning into something organic.