Psychedelic grunge anyone? 

It’s something of an oddity that whatever else France excels at, it hasn’t often been at the forefront of metal thoughts over the years. 

Things are getting to be a bit different, now though and there’s a few interesting things happening out there across the channel that are seemingly trying to change that. 

There’s Gojira, of course, who have been rather good at extreme metal for a long time, there is Alcest, who have got what you might call post-rock shoegazing down to a fine art. And rather neatly perched in between those two are Abrahma.

As you might guess from its title “Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird” is a rather odd, but very ambitious collection that seems to imagine a world in which Alice In Chains were a psych band and move on from there. 

Opener “Fountains Of Vengeance” gives some clues as to the direction here, chunky riffs spar with swirling psychedelics and some strangely discordant sounds to make a really interesting sound. “Offspring To The Wolves” hammers in on a riff that wouldn’t shame the likes of Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats” and has a wonderfully droning quality, while the epic “Omens” builds slowly to make its point in part one, as guitarist Nicholas Heller does some fine work, before part 2 of the song is a gorgeous pice of Floydism which almost seems to float and part 3 carries on a dream-like state throughout.

Many of the songs on “…..Bird” take their time to resonate fully, but that’s not the case with “Square The Circle” which is immediately exciting, and the whole record is lifted by its fast, punchy presence. The darkly proto blues of “A Shepherds Grief” brings with it a haunting, quirky quality that infuses much of the album and “Conium” appears to want to haunt something, before sweeping itself away into the horizon on a huge soundscape.  

Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird” is a record you will need to invest time in, given there is little in the way of visceral, fists in the air stuff that immediately catches the ear. However, it is a record that keeps on revealing more and more of itself with each listen and as time goes on it becomes something to cherish. Its ambitious, it’s original and it’s very, very good indeed.

Rating 8/10