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New Band Of The Week: Hangman's Chair

Hangman's Chair
Hangman's Chair

Sounds Like: An existential crisis playing out to brooding 80s post-punk 

For Fans Of: Pallbearer, Type O Negative, Grave Pleasures 

Listen To: 04/09/16

Formed in 2005, Parisian doom quartet Hangman’s Chair aren’t exactly a ‘new’ band. And yet, their new record, Banlieu Triste, has breathed new life into the four-piece, helping them to address some of the biggest issues they’ve faced to date.

“Album after album, things have been getting more personal,” says drummer and founding member Mehdi Birouk Thépegnier. “We’ve always had the same thematic elements, but this time we’re being more direct with topics and less metaphorical.”

Honesty is at the core of Banlieu Triste, its lyrics candid as it chronicles everything from struggles with mental health (Touch The Razor), the loss of family (Negative Male Child) and the near-loss of a bandmember to a drug overdose in 2016 (04/09/16).

“Having one of our members hospitalised was a warning,” admits Mehdi. “It scared us, and showed us that we weren’t young anymore, that we have to be more careful.”

“Ironically, the toughest lyrics we had to write were the ones we didn’t do!” follows Julien. “With the track Sidi Bel Abbes we wanted to pay tribute to our friend and founding HMC member Sid Ahmed [who tragically died in a car crash in 2010]. We didn’t feel we could to talk about it lyrically; that’s why we chose to do it in an instrumental song – to express what we feel without words.”

Hangman’s Chair are masters of utilising a blend of doom metal riffs and moody post-punk atmospherics to perfectly capture the dread of impending mortality. The band even drafted in French synthwave maestro Perturbator for the track Tired Eyes, subtly underpinning their desolate sound with the inhuman coldness of electronica. Despite this, there is something undeniably personal to their sound and their approach of facing down the darkness with unflinching honesty. Hangman’s Chair might not be the newest band around, but goddamn if they don’t possess the most endearingly unique sound in doom this side of Type O Negative. 

Banlieu Triste is out now via Spinefarm