ADX - Exécution
XIII bis
heavy/speed metal
8 songs (38:25)
Release year: 1985
XIII bis
Reviewed by Stefan
Archive review
It's been long debated, among French metalheads, whether one of "our bands" was even remotely approaching the grandeur of its more famous foreign counterparts, and, for the most part, the response was a big, unequivocal "nay". That was before the extreme metal scene leveled things a bit, it was in the glorious 80s, when our scene hadn’t developed has much as it has in the past 10/15 years.

While France had already offered a few good bands (namely Trust, Warning, Sortilège, Blasphème), the mid-eighties turn to speed metal was almost entirely missed. Actually, we’ve always been quite late to jump on the new fad, the same thing will later repeat itself with thrash metal (even the specialists of the genre have to admit France was kind of a desert on the matter), death metal (though we had a few thrashy/deathy bands such as Agressor or Loudblast), nu-metal (for once a good idea), etc. In the desolate panorama ADX was THE exception (okay, with Demon Eyes – and a bunch of friends who sadly never recorded an album but had a tremendous stage power I still have fond memories of, they were called SMF and Bernard Queruel, their lead guitarist, actually plays in the reformed ADX… It’s a small world). But I digress…

So, here’s ADX, five ugly motherfuckers from Paris’ north suburbs playing loud, fast and nasty speedy heavy metal, and playing it good. Actually, the recipe’s fairly classical: a powerful and inspired duet of guitarists (Betov and Marquis, both equally great as rhythm or lead axemen, check out the eponymous instrumental if you have any doubts), a solid rhythm version implementing the fast-paced tempi the exercise so urgently needs (Deuch on bass, Dog on drums) and a high-pitched aggressive lead vocalist that, granted, surely is an acquired taste but delivers a great performance nonetheless. Other than the obvious influence of the “Greats” (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, you know the drill), ADX dug a little deeper in the goods euro-metal had to offer then such as Demon (Night of the Demon!), Satan (Court in the Act) or Angel Witch (and their legendary self-titled debut), even Accept or more local references (Sortilège often comes to mind as on the epic, almost progressive mid-tempo l’Etranger). And it’s all wrapped up with terrific riffs, great choruses and even a few surprises when this kind of metal is concerned.

While the Gods of Heavy Metal certainly were with ADX as far as songwriting was concerned (there’s not a weak track to stain the Exécution’s glorious 38 minutes), the same thing cannot be ascertained about its production. Sure, it’s listenable enough to enjoy the tour de force that’s unraveling before our very ears but remains the main flaw the album can be credited of. A little muddy (making some of the guitarists prowess’s hard to discern) with the vocals too upfront in the mix (something recurrent in France’s 80s metal production) and, well, not dynamic enough to serve the songs as needed be. Actually, you can feel the engineer did try to do good and even brought nuances you don’t expect to find on such an amateurish sonic delivery (such as sound effects improving the theatricality), but just hadn’t he chops and skills to deliver.

On the whole, I truly think ADX’s debut to be a classic album, one too few have heard about (maybe because it’s sung in French, with solid lyrics, by the way). Finally, to come back to the introductory argument about French heavy metal supposed inferiority and the existence of a band to challenge a so mighty concurrence from beyond borders… The answer is yes, we had ADX.
Killing Songs :
Stefan quoted 91 / 100
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