REGARD EXTREME: Legacy
Release year: 2022
Label: Steinklang Industries
French Regard Extreme are perhaps not one of the most famous names in the neoclassical and martial industrial genres but are, without doubt, one of the more long-lived acts. The project did take a long hiatus between 2003 and 2017, but have still managed to release a respectable body of work since their inception in the very early 90’s.
As such, with 30 years since the first release, it’s high time for a compilation release to serve as a gateway to newcomers. However, in the form the compilation takes, it also offers value for money to old fans. And yes, you guessed it: Legacy is that compilation. How very clever of you.
You see, not content with just slapping together a selection of tracks culled from the various releases and call it a release, Regard Extreme main man (and sole member) Fabien Nicault has meticulously re-worked and in some cases even re-composed the tracks to ensure both quality and uniformity. Thus, were one to listen to this without knowledge of the album’s nature, it wouldn’t come across as a compilation, where the age difference between the newest and oldest tracks is a respectable 27 years!
Regard Extreme’s style of neoclassical, martially tinged post-industrial music is orchestrated, detailed and often very cinematic. If perceived in the context of martial industrial, this eschews much of the industrial in favour of the martial. In a neoclassical context, this is epic, heroic (though not without a tinge of brooding melancholia) and quite bombastic. Scenes of armies marching, of troops lining up for battle, of the victor planting his standard upon the corpse-strewn battlefield are ones that Regard Extreme paint before the mind’s eye.
Nicault has done a good job with the reworkings: the album sounds modern – in a good sense – and uniform. If you want a downside to this, based on Legacy it will be hard to figure out what album to check out next, if you’re new to Regard Extreme (my recommendation: Résurgence, whose latter, re-worked version is still available for a mere 7€ from Regard Extreme’s Bandcamp page – see link at bottom). So uniform do the tracks sound.
Well, with the exception of Chevaliers, Sous Protection, one of the two entirely new tracks on the compilation. This is the only track on the album with dominant vocals; I previously described Nicault’s vocals as grating and trying and, well, honestly, I stick by my guns here. His medieval choral style isn’t bad, but it takes a bit of effort to get into them. And they make the track stand out from the rest.
Legacy is a fine addition to the French project’s discography. It not only serves as a point of entry for new fans – even considering the problematic mentioned above – but due to its nature is well worth adding to an existing collection.
Nicault has given some skilled compositions a new life, and fans of bombastic, orchestral, martial neoclassical will not want to miss out on this. In a nutshell, if you feel like you need only one Regard Extreme CD in your collection then, most likely, this should be it.