ALBUM REVIEW: Normandie – Dark & Beautiful Secrets
Well, isn’t this band quite the surprise! Hailing from Sweden, Normandie are shaping up to be very strong contenders for success in this alternative metal scene, echoing the likes of Bring Me the Horizon and Dream State, among others. Their newest album, Dark & Beautiful Secrets, is sure to take many by surprise, just as it did us.
Across the 10-track package, the Swedish trio deliver steady and energetic rhythms, tight riffs, and soaring melodies – their version of the “tried and true” recipe for a good album, as evidenced by tracks such as Thrown in the Gutter and Jericho, the latter of which will surely get the crowds chanting along to its chorus. Added to their sound are some synths and other electronic elements, showcased in Mission Control for instance, which take the excitement level up a notch entirely.
But, as it generally is in music, it’s not all about the instrumentals themselves. The lyrics of vocalist Philip Strand reveal why the album is named Dark & Beautiful Secrets, with the subject matter ranging from religion and herd mentality in Holy Water, and anxiety and loneliness in Atmosphere (a fact which pretty much saves the song from being “just another ballad”). Strand’s vocal delivery doesn’t disappoint, either, with particular highlights being the chorus in Hostage – the best track on the whole record, might we add – or Renegade, which also features more of the aforementioned electronics, to lead the record to a strong finish.
The strongest suit of this album, without a shadow of a doubt, is its singles. The rest of the tracks are good, but the 1-2 punch of Babylon, Hostage, Jericho and Holy Water completely blows everything out of the water. If anything, it’s actually in its *detriment*, as this leaves the latter half of the album feeling a tad boring and unexciting, which it actually is not. It just can’t match up to the first half, which is why a different tracklist would’ve been better – in our opinion at least.
In the end, Dark & Beautiful Secrets is a great third step in Normandie’s overall discography, as aside from a tracklist which could be more cohesive, it’s got everything going for it to be classed as one of the great alternative albums of 2021. Well done lads, can’t wait to see what the future holds for the three of you!
Standout Tracks: Babylon, Hostage, Jericho, Thrown in the Gutter
For Fans Of: Bring Me the Horizon, Dream State, Holding Absence
Written by: Florin Petrut