Formed in 1981, French Hard Rock trio Vulcain found a new lease of life and reformed in 2009 after over a decade away. Their new album Vinyle (Season of Mist) comes five years after their comeback album V8 and very much continues where they left off, namely the coarse and slightly punky brand of Hard Rock and Metal that caused critics to dub them “the French Motorhead” – no doubt helped by Daniel Puzio’s gruff vocals.
Opening track ‘Vinyle’ is the perfect taster of what is to come over the thirty-eight minutes of frenetic Hard Rock with a metallic bite. ‘Heroes’ is a heady example, a breakneck track with a galloping melody and some furious solos to boot. Despite the language barrier meaning the lyrics pass me by, the charms of their incisive yet visceral Rock n Roll break through – the hook-heavy earworm that is ‘Darling’ achieving this. ‘Dans Les Livres’ is a barrelling number with yet another galloping drumbeat, courtesy of Marc Varez – and a riff reminiscent of Lemmy and co’s venomous ‘Overkill’.
Vinyle is a very cohesive record as it is done in Vulcain’s classic raucous, no-nonsense eighties style – like Motorhead and AC/DC they know what they are good at and stick to it. But the problem with such an outlook is that, despite their strengths, the songs sound a bit samey after a while. Meaning tracks like ‘Borderline’ and ‘Contróle’ in the latter half of the album get lost in the mire. They do veer off the beaten track though in ‘Decibels’, that despite, its name is a more tranquil, melodious affair and a nice change of pace. ‘L’Oseille’ also stands out, as it marries the bands four-to-the-floor Rock with a foot-tapping bluesy shuffle.
Fourteen albums in and Vulcain are firmly in their comfort zone. Vinyle may be familiar but it shows that the French trio have lost none of their passion for loud and punchy Rock n Roll.