MUSIC FEATURE: Ones To Watch – France

In our Ones To Watch series we’ve already highlighted some of our favourite up-and-coming and established acts from Australia, Italy and Romania. Now we’re heading over to France to fill you in on ten artists we’d recommend you check out. From metalcore to glam rock, to artists who are blurring genre boundaries, be sure to let us know if we’ve missed any of your favourites!


Photo Credit: Alexis Fontaine

LANDMVRKS have been paving their way to success with their own fresh spin on metalcore, taking modern metalcore elements and tinging them with hardcore riffs and standout choruses. After independently releasing their self-produced debut album Hollow in 2016, the band landed themselves festival slots and ventured out of France on tours across Europe, soon to be picked up by Arising Empire who released their sophomore album Fantasy in 2018. The record saw LANDMVRKS play shows in Japan, embark on various headline tours and even support While She Sleeps and Stray From The Path in the UK and Europe. With album number three on the horizon, you’ll want to keep your eyes on this promising metalcore band. (HG)


With their atmospheric metal sound, which is full of heavy guitar riffs and hard rock elements, Disconnected have been making waves within France and across Europe. Since releasing their debut album White Colossus in 2018 through Apathia Records, the band have gone onto to support Tremonti across Europe, alongside additional supporting slots with Judas Priest and Mass Hysteria. Now gearing up for the release of their second album, it’s the perfect time to check out the quintet as they’ve recently released Unstoppable; the first track to be taken from the forthcoming album. If you’re looking for rowdy, melodic metal which will have you instantly longing to back in a mosh pit, then keep your eyes on Disconnected’s next moves. (NC)


Photo Credit: Andy Julia

When one thinks of a ‘typical’ French metal band, that person would most likely name any other band but Alcest, and that’s for a very good reason: they aren’t a typical metal band by any means! Drawing inspiration from bandleader Neige’s childhood dreams of a “Fairy Land”, the songs in the blackgaze outfit’s discography take you on sonic journeys unlike any other, from lush and peaceful clean passages, to dynamic, bombastic and scream-filled sequences. Their latest album, 2019’s Spiritual Instinct, only solidifies this description, as songs such as Protection, Sapphire or Le Miroir transport listeners into Neige’s mystifying Fairy Land. (FP)


Photo Credit: Laurent Chesneau

If you want to be transported back to the 80s for a hefty dose of glam rock nostalgia, then BlackRain are the band for you. Formed in 2006 in the French Alps, BlackRain have been playing music together since they were in high school, growing up listening to the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row and Mötley Crüe, who play a big part in influencing their sound. Fun fact: BlackRain were contestants on popular TV show France’s Got Talent, where they reached the final and finished in fourth place. It’s easy to see why they got so far, their glam-rock sound is doused in 80s spirit, which is not only loads of fun but will have you up on your feet in no time. We recommend you check out their 2019 album, Dying Breed. (HG)

Shaka Ponk

Photo Credit: Denis Rouvre

Shaka Ponk have become known as a band unafraid to take musical risks, fusing genres including heavy metal, hip-hop and electro hard-rock, with creative videos featuring their animated monkey mascot Goz. Recent single Funky Junky Monkey is a dose of trippy, techno electro music complete with an addictively catchy singalong chorus. Soon to be celebrating their 15th anniversary as a band, they will be releasing Apelogies on 6th November 2020; the triple album release will include reworked tracks, new releases/unheard material and a live concert from Le Trianon. If you’re not sure where to start with the band, they’ve also done an incredible cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit which flaunts their emotive, captivating abilities, and also how they can switch up their sound up completely within one track. We are hooked! (NC)

 Betraying The Martyrs 

Photo Credit: Marc Sharp

Betraying The Martyrs are a band that refuse to be pigeonholed. Throughout their four full-length releases the band have shown glimpses of progressive metal, deathcore, symphonic metal and plenty of other forms of metal thrown into the mix. Despite the seemingly endless revolving door of members the core group of the band, made out of English vocalist Aaron Matts and Frenchmen Baptiste Vigier (guitar), Valentin Hauser (bass) and Vitor Guillet (keyboard/vocals), have managed to a maintain their own style throughout and have yet to sacrifice any momentum up until this point. With the superb fourth album Rapture, the band have the world at their feet. The future looks very bright indeed. (RW)


Photo Credit: @follow_trc

Heavy metallers Nightmare have been shaping and evolving their sound over the last 40 years, and after several line-up changes the band are back in full swing in 2020, armed with new vocalist Madie (Faith In Agony) and Aeternam, their most ambitious album to date. The new record continues to solidify Nightmare‘s power metal sound, melding stunning melodies with soaring vocals and striking riffs. Over the years, Nightmare have built their strong reputation in France and beyond, opening for Def Leppard, supporting Sabaton, Saxon, Grave Digger and Blind Guardian, and performing at global metal festivals including Wacken and Hellfest. Make sure you check out the band’s brand-new album Aeternam, out now via AFM Records. (HG)

The Dali Thundering Concept 

Photo Credit: Nicko Guihal

Having just celebrated their 10th anniversary in September 2020, progressive metal quartet The Dali Thundering Concept have also announced this marks the start of a new musical era for them. To date the band have released one EP; When X Met Y along with two albums; Eyes Wide Opium and 2018 release Savages. Savages, which was released via Apathia Records, showcased the band establishing a sound which, although hard to pin down, became uniquely TDTC and was executed perfectly. Bold breakdowns, deathcore dips, jazz and prog-metal elements all grace their tracks, captivating you to listen for what’s next on the musical rollercoaster ride. As the band look set to go into production for their forthcoming album, now is the perfect time to get involved with TDTC’s journey. (NC)

Novelists FR 

Photo Credit: Marianne Harris

Hailing from the French capital, Novelists FR have made a name as progressive metal’s most talented rising stars. Forming as a brotherly band back in 2013 by founding members Amael and Florestan Durand, they were later joined by bassist Nicolas Delestrade, announcing themselves on the scene with a string of six singles, all released in a short space of time. With the fundamental building blocks for a breakout band underway, Novelists FR dropped their stellar debut album Souvenirs shortly after, featuring fourteen tracks and sporting strong singles such as Gravity, Voyager and Echos amongst the five pre-record releases. Gearing up to completing their sophomore delivery Noir, Novelists FR found fame supporting metalcore giants Northlane and While She Sleeps on the band’s European co-headlining tour in the summer of 2017, taking their career to mainstream heights and earning the ensemble even more fans whilst on the road. In more recent times, despite their current efforts to look for a vocalist to fill the void of departed singer Matteo Gelsomino, the group came out with their third record C’est La Vie earlier this year, proving that Novelists FR are a consistent force to be reckoned with.  (KCF)

Birds in Row 

Photo Credit: @nicholasasayers 

Birds in Row are a band that have been making waves for themselves in the underground for some time now, and have even managed to catch the eye of the heavy music titan Jacob Bannon (Converge/Wear Your Wounds) who has signed them to his Deathwish Inc record label. The band do not publicly share their information with the press, cropping their faces out of promo shots and using simple initials for names, claiming that “it’s not about some individuals, but songs, ideas, points of view that our three lives have in common.” The band have recently dropped their second full-length album entitled We Already Lost The World, which is a blistering hybrid of hardcore noise punk and atmospheric post-hardcore, that is sure to see them gain some pretty serious traction the world over very soon. (RW)

Written by: Hannah Gillicker, Nicola Craig, Florin Petrut, Richard Webb, Katie Conway-Flood

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar