The Amsterdam Red Light District – Sapere Aude (Red Light Records)

Genre: Hardcore

The Amsterdam Red Light District may be named for a place in the Netherlands, but that’s the only thing fake about the bruising French quartet.

Sapere Aude follows up on the hardcore band’s debut Gone For A While in a move that adds Gallic flair to a genre in which nuance can often disappear as quickly as a pair of specs in a mosh pit.

With comparisons made between TARD and While She Sleeps, Cancer Bats and Letlive. and an album over in just 35 minutes, Sapere Aude is guaranteed to be a shot of adrenaline in the veins that’ll satisfy hardened junkies and those looking for their first thrill.

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But delve a little deeper into the album and there is a risk you’ll discover a softer side to the band. A bit of thinking. Some meaning.

The album name is a nod towards Immanuel Kant while themes such as the evils of materliasm on Need and the disregard of the 1% on Evil Stakeholders. When you understand that, the slightly off-kilter self-titled outro begins to make sense. It features snippets of reports from journalists Steve Wilson and Jane Akre and signs the record off in a slightly fatalistic manner.

Each pulsating, driving riff is accompanied by a fevered, passionate delivery by frontman Elio Sxone, whose rasping voice keeps up with the best in the business.

There are other forms of nuance which fit well within the record, such as the phone call introduction to Over The Fence – which serves to break up the intensity of Sepere Aude just enough to let you catch your breath.

This second crack at the whip by the French quartet is every bit as engaging and racey as their name suggests. It’s an album that wears its heart on its sleeve, but has just enough nuance to keep it varied and interesting.