This French hard rock band released two rare melodic albums. The group was formed in 1983 and issued a demo featuring its best songs, Foreign Lands, The Game and Too Much. Melting Point was issued by the growing French label Dream Records and produced by Satan Jokers’ drummer Renaud Hantson. After several shows, the band signed with the Spanish Berman label for its second album. A revamped line-up issued a demo in 1992 called Shut Up Your Face, Open Your Ears. This demo featured former Squealer singer Pascal Bailly. The band eventually fell apart with several members having left for personal reasons.
Hot Metal Records bootlegged both albums on disc years later. This edition cold not even get the members’ names right. Vocalist Jean-Louis Thouvenot reportedly died due to cancer in 2007.
EXCESS – MELTING POINT – DREAM
Excess is one of those ‘80s bands that never acquired much of a following despite issuing two albums of above average heavy metal. The band’s label had limited distribution and barely any profile out of France. The band’s French origins did not help of course in and of themselves given the fate of other acts like H-Bomb and Warning that were victimized by the general indifference to the country’s metal exports outside France.
It is really too bad; Excess is a metal treat. This is one band that is ready for some kind of a re-release. With the increasingly scarce supply of heavy metal, Excess needs a higher profile given the remarkable music.
The band’s debut begins with one of the band’s oldest songs, the superb Foreign Lands. The infectious heavy metal attack is tempered by both melody and a haunting vocal performance courtesy of the always-on Jean-Louis Thouvenot. One cannot say enough good things about this man’s place in Excess. Rough Edge is more good stuff, memorable vocals and… straightforward drumming. The last attribute is another hallmark of Excess. The guitar goes whizbang in the background giving the music an Accept feel. Too Much appropriately ups the metal quotient with an attacking guitar bite before Jean-Louis takes a commercial turn in the chorus. Glamour Girl is different. Is that Danzig on vocals? Well, no, but it is still surely Alain Thouvenot on drums given the monotone autopilot in action. The song could belong to Circus Of Power and even has a Zeppelin-like mid-section that is beautiful. Burning The Night Away has more guitar action, but is disappointing given the appearance of the keyboards. The Stranger is not so given the familiar and catchy refrain and the unique voice. Check out the sing-along backing vocals. In contrast, Cut is an OK, yet forgettable track. The album ends with another older composition, namely The Game. This is another amazing Excess track that competes with Foreign Lands for the title of the band’s best. Past the piano and the effects comes a mesmerizing riff and a steady rhythm. The drum never changes, but boy hear Francois Frenoy go. Many at Metallian Towers have marvelled for years at the never-changing drums, but the solo rhythm guitar, insane tone and the vocals nail things.
Excess is criminally unknown and unduly underground. While the album might be exceedingly difficult to find a future re-release or a diligent search might change that. – Ali “The Metallian”
EXCESS – THE FATAL TOUCH – BERMAN
The Fatal Touch is the follow-up to Excess’ Melting Point. This sophomore record follows its predecessor by four years, however, and sadly emerged on a Spanish record company with all the implied limited distribution and promotional capabilities that go with it. While this album is not bad at all, it predictably does not match the heights attained by its predecessor. Melting Point was simply that good.
French heavy metal bands have typically suffered from several institutional disadvantages. Some of these, like French lyrics (which Excess does not use) have been self-inflicted, while others are a function of France’s metal institutions. For Excess to not find a label outside Spain is terrible nevertheless.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Fatal Touch does not have a very good sound or production value. The low-priced studio budget possibly masks some of the album’s better attributes. The second thing someone might notice is the presence of several songs that also appeared on the band’s debut. Of course, a song like Foreign Lands is outstanding, but why repeat the same cut here? The title track has a grittier sound with the singer sounding partly depressed as he sings, “she’s go the fatal touch.” A ripping metal solo is cut short. Making You Blind has more speed and is up-tempo. This is a song that has a confident demeanour and reminds one of Pretty Maids. American Woman is not a The Guess Who cover version. Also worth mentioning is Cut which should indeed have been cut from the album, but perhaps was not seeing that Excess had to reach into its debut album to fill this LP up.
Excess circa 1990 remains an understated and unrecognized potential. The Fatal Touch is the band’s last full hurrah as a result. – Ali “The Metallian”
French metal band Excess had two full-length albums and an EP in the ‘80s, which were, are and will always be insider tips. Nevertheless, the band is well worth investigating for lovers of true hard rock and heavy metal, which is why Metallian magazine’s own Ali “The Metallian” tracked down the group’s one-time bassist Patrick Nivesse for a tour of the band’s history and what once was. – 07.09.2008
METALLIAN: Patrick, tell me about the early days of Excess?
PATRICK: The band was created in 1982 by the brothers Alain, drummer, and Jean-Louis, singer. At this time, the Thouvenot brothers were looking for a bass player who looked ‘rock n' roll!’ They asked me to audition for the band, which was at this point called Force. At this time, the guitarist wasn't sure what he wanted to do. He left the band. That is why we placed an announcement in Enfer Magazine for a replacement. That's when we met Françis, guitarist and composer of Excess.
METALLIAN: What was the name of this early guitarist and what happened to him?
PATRICK: He was called Farid. He started giving guitar lessons after his departure.
METALLIAN: Why was the name Excess picked after Force was deemed not suitable?
PATRICK: The name Excess was found by Francis. The story is that, the drummer and I were always drinking more alcohol than the average or normal way. It always finished badly in the bars of the city. There were always excesses in the parties organized by the band,. That was what gave the other two members of the band the idea to choose the word ‘Excès,’ which became Excess. You can imagine that I and Alain agreed to this word because it was very representative of our behaviour!
METALLIAN: Were you in any bands before Excess?
PATRICK: I was involved in some bands without any future before Excess. I was well known because I was the bass player who always finished songs with my bass at the back. The names mean nothing.
METALLIAN: Tell me about your personal early days.
PATRICK: I got into metal when I was sixteen thanks to my neighbour. He made me listen to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. It made me buy a guitar in order to try to imitate the guitarists of my favourite bands., but I quickly realized that there were too many strings. It was only a few years later that I understood that a bass was as hard as a guitar to play.
METALLIAN: Which city were you born in?
PATRICK: I was born in Douai in the north of France on the 27th of April, 1957.
METALLIAN: Let us talk about the next stage of the band’s development. How did you obtain your first deal and what was Dream Records all about?
PATRICK: Dream Records was a small French label, which helped us. I think the manager of the label took pity on us. It opened doors for us for the future. The deal was for three years.
METALLIAN: what was the label manager’s name?
PATRICK: I don't remember his name.
METALLIAN: You managed to get a known musician as a producer. What was the story behind that?
PATRICK: Good question! The record company imposed this producer on us. Renaud Hantson of Satan Jokers brought us his work experience, but the product did not sound like the band. We were too young in the profession. If the debut was redone, the product would be sharply better.
METALLIAN: Can you talk about the songs Foreign Lands and Cut?
PATRICK: The song Foreign Lands is one of first titles the band wrote. The text touched me a lot. It speaks about people who work far away from their country.
The song The Cut refers to me and the drummer – it speaks about excesses. These two titles were very representative of the band. They were very much in demand during concerts. The band chose the songs that ended up on the album. The producer chose the order on the album. It seemed to me that the last title, The Game, was very appreciated by the public.
METALLIAN: Next Excess ends up on a Spanish label with an album, which features several old songs from the first album.
PATRICK: I don't remember why we signed up with a Spanish label. There were not enough tracks ready and not enough time for the second album. So we took five songs from the former album and then added five new songs.
METALLIAN: Patrick, you were replaced! Why and when?
PATRICK: I decided to leave the band a year after the release of the second album due to musical and professional taste divergences. I did not agree with the direction which the band took.
METALLIAN: Can you be more specific?
PATRICK: I wasn't in agreement with the rest of the band about our deal. The difference was especially with the label.
METALLIAN: Jean-Louis Thouvenot was also replaced.
PATRICK: JL left because of health problems. It was very difficult to replace him. We went three years without finding a singer.
METALLIAN: Is it true that Jean-Louis Thouvenot has died?
PATRICK: It's true that Jean-Louis Thouvenot has died. He let me know that he has cancer one week before his death and that it was the end for him. We were still all in contact. I don’t know what the type of cancer it was. He didn't tell me.
METALLIAN: Let us chat about Excess’ concerts?
PATRICK: We mainly played a lot in France when I was in the band. After my departure, the band played with Vengeance. I remember that we made a smoke machine for a show. We were worried about not having enough smoke on stage so we bought some from the mortuary of Bourges and they delivered a palette of ice blocks. These were the same ice as that used by our machine. However, a single block of ice was sufficient for the entire evening.
So we enjoyed ourselves by pissing on blocks of ice to melt them . We found that very funny. We laughed less when some days later we received the invoice from the mortuary for the ice. We had just pissed on the entirety of our fee for that show!
METALLIAN: Funny. Patrick, why has the band suffered such a low profile when you released, what I would consider, two great albums? The band some good publicity in France via advertising in Metal Attack and Enfer at the time.
PATRICK: We had it enough in France. it is difficult to play when we play this music style. We weren't born in a good country.
METALLIAN: Consequently, why did Excess break up?
PATRICK: The group stopped in 1993, very simply it had bet on a new CD with three songs, which was self-produced. This disc did not yield the fruits the band had wanted.
A French label was interested in the band, but they wanted the lyrics to be written in French. The group wanted to keep its identity and refused. It was the end of the adventure.
METALLIAN: What was this label called?
PATRICK: I wasn't in the band at this point so I don't know about the label. I just heard this story a few month ago myself.
METALLIAN: Let’s talk about what you have been up to since?
PATRICK: Following Excess I played in several bands until the day I met André Fuciarelli, who had just left his band. My bands were uninteresting and some didn’t even have names. André and I had the same vision of things; the same ideas. We decided to create the band Shooter. You will find everything on the site shooter.fr, and on myspace..
METALLIAN: And what is Patrick up to in his civilian life?
PATRICK: I have been married for more than 30 years. I have two children and I am grandfather of three. I'm 51 years old, but I am always a kid, I always shake my wig, always wear cowboy boots, drive a motorcycle and drink some beer and especially I listen to and always play heavy metal.
METALLIAN: Are you fond of any particular bands?
PATRICK: I am a big fan of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Saxon and Motörhead. I wish more than anything to meet Steve Harris and even to be the opening act for Maiden. They would not be disappointed (laughs again).
Patrick already mentioned Shooter’s website so all that remains is for fans to hunt down old copies of Excess’ album while we wait for the music to be re-released and more widely available again.
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