Epic, unique prog metal from the Brittany region of France!
On their long-awaited debut album, Le Dernier Rempart, French epic metallers Herzel not only champion vocals that are sung in their native tongue but they unleash a concept born straight from their native region of Brittany!
The Breton language is commonly used in the Brittany region of France. While in decline since the 1950s, Breton still holds sway in Brittany, which is where emerging French epic metallers Herzel hail. Their name is Breton for “resisting,” “braving,” “holding on,” “stopping” and preventing.” The word possessed so much power for the band that they had but no choice to adopt it as their name in 2013. Fast-forward seven years and the band has brought their name to life in the form of their debut studio album, Le Dernier Rempart, a concept album about a character named Herzel.
Influenced by U.S. metal stalwarts Manilla Road, Warlord, Queensryche, Heir Apparent, Omen and Virgin Steele, as well as Celtic and French traditional music, Herzel was formed by Thomas Guillesser, who was then joined by drummer Ion Philippon, guitarist Kévin Le Vern and bassist Mordiern Le Dissez. Second guitarist Gurvan Lardeux was the last piece to the puzzle, and shortly thereafter, Herzel got to work on its debut demo, Unis dans la gloire, which was released in 2015.
Le Dernier Rempart’s tracking began in February 2020 at Novomax studio in Quimper, France. However, due to the 2020 pandemic, the band had to wait until June and July to record the remaining instruments and vocals at Lardeux’s home studio. Despite these obstacles, Le Dernier Rempart represents a young band already coming into its own, brandishing a unique epic metal and Celtic music blend, complete with French lyrics. The songwriting process was often kickstarted by Guillesser, who brought riffs and melodies to Herzel rehearsal where his bandmates put on the finishing touches. And since they were written over four years, the cuts on Le Dernier Rempart represent a distinct jump from Unis dans la gloire — Herzel’s reliance on Breton artists like Dan Ar Braz, Alan Stivell, Glaz, Seven Reizh were used a starting point. To round out the mix, Herzel injected heavy doses of American prog metal and Celtic music.
Le Dernier Rempart is split into two parts. Part one contains two songs dealing with Brittany history along with an instrumental traditional song. Part two is the aforementioned concept about a hero named Herzel, who, through trials and tribulations, eventually delivers Brittany the Sword of the Gods (“L’Epée des Dieux”). It is a concept that could only come from the unique region of Brittany. The same could be said for Herzel’s music — epic prog metal of this variety doesn’t come from just anywhere…
1. Maîtres de l’océan
2. La Flamme
3. Ile Dernier Rempart
4. Barceau de Cendre
5. L’épée des Dieux
6. L’Ulitme Combat
GENRE: Epic Heavy Metal