FT-17 is French extreme metal band, or project. They wanted to revive the story of this young Marcellin and his horrifying experiences in this war. They do that with an intense and sometimes emotional metal album, seemingly borrowing elements from thrash and black metal. The result has become something extremely interesting and well-varied, something that deserves a place on every metal shelve where bands like Evergrey, Soilwork and Children Of Bodom are present.
The album opens with the narrative intro 'C'est La Guerre'. Marcellin learns that he has to go fight the Germans and introduces himself as the protagonist of this diary. After that, the songs 'La fleur au fusil' and 'Les moissons sanglantes' blast on with sheer intensity. These are quite complex pieces of melodic death/black metal, guaranteed to make you bang your head. Admit it, that is a way better faith that that of Marcellin, or anyone who has to go to war.
Of course, the lyrics are in French, but that isn't always noticeable since most of them are fierce, almost blackened screams. I know some people don't like this language in metal, but here it certainly adds a lot of credibility and atmosphere. You can almost feel Marcellin's hopelessness when he stands on the battleground, surrounded by fallen companions and utter destruction. You can almost hear the explosions and screaming people in the background.
What I also like on this album, is the presence of the piano. It adds a strong classical element to this music, way more convincible than acts like Therion have ever pulled off. But don't get me wrong, this still is a ferocious piece of metal, complete with the terrifying sounds of war. It's just that the piano seems to fit in perfectly here, building a bridge between the horrors of war and the calm, haunting silence on a battlefield afterwards.
L'armée des taupes is probably my favorite track, perhaps because of the clean vocals or because of the dark, almost goth-metal atmosphere. It also adds some more variation to the already quite diverse album. So yes, this comes highly recommended, not only because this subject is very rarely present in the metal scene but also because this simply is an awesome metal album.