Feu Gregeois - Francorum Regnum Hierolosymorum
Epic Extreme Metal
5 songs (19'10")
Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Alex

History used to be my favorite subject in high school, so it is a pleasure to see someone else using history for inspiration in their music craft. The French trio Feu Gregeois, consisting of Ordan, Prophan and Wuthan (sounds like three stooges, but I am not kidding), focused on a very particular point in history, the Crusades. With the subject matter describing the times so tumultuous and calamitous, epic metal in particular would lend itself well. It is exactly what we are getting with the band’s second demo titled Francorum Regnum Hierolosymorum. Not to pigeonhole anything, or ascribe the band the genre they did not intend, my hidden suspicion is, however, that Feu Gregeois intended for their epic metal to have a blackened feeling. Alas, the result I am hearing is a blend of symphonic stylings with extreme power metal, of sorts.

Even if it puts me in the minority, I will say that symphonic keyboard work by Wuthan is the highlight of this demo. Two full instrumentals, Fulfillment and Praeludium Desastrum, the closing outro of Horns of Hattin and the symphonic melodic trim on Hierusalem may seem like a lot of orchestral synth work for a 5-song under 20 minutes release. Yet, it is this music, reminiscent of more chivalrous Lord Wind, which fits the mood and intent perfectly. These are the horns calling the troops to battle (Fulfillment) and the obvious Eastern motifs of the Holy Land (Praeludium Desastrum) which turn out pretty foreboding in the end (a Desastrum indeed). Clean, with a perfect sense of drama, not overproduced, I suspect classical music was somewhere in Wuthan’s past.

The “regular” metal portion of the demo is where I have more problems. The riffs are pretty average and display the overreliance on power chords, even with all of the symphonic frills placed to elevate their magnificence (Hierusalem). Hierusalem’s gallop needs to be more menacing and blackened thrash of Montgisard more biting, but all that could develop in the future. The vocals on Francorum Regnum Hierolosymorum is another matter, entirely. In that department a complete overhaul is needed. As soon as the vocal lines come in, somehow the noble knights are quickly transformed into closet sorcerers and warlocks, subpar and 2nd rate at best. Ordan’s squashed hiss is further pushed down into the mix, making it unintelligible and unappealing. What was meant to be an epic exercise in the extreme metal degenerates into a parody of badly produced Grave Digger.

I have faith in Feu Gregeois, because the classical music roots and songwriting abilities of Wuthan are undeniable. Conjoining both symphonic and extreme metal elements in the band more organically would make the sound a lot more appealing. After all with the name like Feu Gregeois (meaning “Greek Fire”, the weapon used by Byzantine navy, the precursor of napalm, the fiery mix which could not be put away with water), the fire is supposed to be burning for a long time.

Killing Songs :
Fulfillment, Praeludium Desastrum
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