Last Avenue hails from Orleans, France and has been playing a blend of metal, industrial and hardcore since 2009. 'Integration Protocol' is their second album, one that has the power to get these guys a huge breakthrough. Or at least I hope so. This is some high energy music, reminding me of bands like Rammstein, Fear Factory, Clawfinger, Pain and Senser but also of electronic acts like Daft Punk and The Prodigy. With heavily distorted guitars, repetitive, pounding drums, a heap of electronics and an array of clean vocals and hardcore screams, Last Avenue convinces, that's for sure.
The album opens with 'Fear To Stay', which, after a short piece of noise, immediately sets the tone for what's to come. Somehow this brings back images of festival gigs in the early afternoon where the guys are headbanging and the girls are dancing. It's one of my favorite moments on a festival, because some of those dark (goth/industrial) metal girls show some really sexy dance moves (and I'm not talking about twerking, twerking is poo being molded and is about as sexy as horse manure soup is tasty).
Most of the other songs follow the example of the opener, sometimes a bit heavier ('Wait', which could be a Fear Factory song), sometimes using trancy electronic sequences ('Reverse') and sometimes poppy and radio friendly ('Self Made Drone'). Yet, the energy and the festive sound are a constant throughout the entire album. So are the Rammstein-influenced riffs who are present in most of the songs and who actually sound quite immersive.
'This Is Personal' is the mandatory exception. On many metal albums, there's a ballad, calming things down a bit and maybe showing the emotional side of a band. Well, we can put 'This Is Personal' in the ballad spot. It's the slowest of the album, containing little to no elements of metal. In fact, it's a great trip-hop song and a welcome change from the industrial metal we get in the other songs.
So if you are into any of the rock and metal bands I've mentioned earlier in this review, you should check this out. This is industrial metal at a very high velocity and a very high level. Yet, as so many others, I would like to mention that I really want to see this band live one day. I have no idea if they're planning to tour outside France but they should. With stuff like this, they can conquer young metal minded Europe and amaze the old school fans as well.