As sick as nine years ago 'No Surrender' starts off as the last mini album 'Les 150 Passions Meurtrires' ended. Again these French madmen are way ahead of the competition and now they've incorporated Black Metal riffs and the atmosphere of it into their vile metalcore.
Stephan's vocals are still as mean and direct as in the nineties and Kickback still gives you that awkward feeling an album of them should give. During all eleven songs you'll get that unpleasant feeling. Lots of guitar feedback is incorporated (for example in "Still on the Prowl"), strange breaks and awesome metal riffs. In songs like No Surrender or Aging Disgracefully the tempo is very slow and makes you unaware of what will come next. I can imagine people that love the old Kickback cant get along with this new album but as Kickback says in the starts of this album: This is for us, this is not for you and these Frenchmen still dont give a fuck about complaints. Theyll do what they want and that still sets them apart from the rest.
I cant deny guitarist Toxic H. (Diapsiquir, ex-Arkhon Infaustus, I dont know if he uses this name in Kickback) has brought some Deathspell Omega influences to Kickback but again this, Stephans vocals and the hardcore works as good as violence during a Kickback show. Check out the black metal riffs in "Aging Disgracefully" or "Sideshow". To immerse these influences in a compressed and clean production would be ridiculous so its good the production of Francis Kaste is very raw and natural.
The titles "Still on the Prowl" and "Unholy Triumph" of course refer to the oldies "On the Prowl" (from the last mini album) and "Triumph" from Forever War. Musically, and "Still on the Prowl" also lyrically, they can be seen as part two of the original songs.
There are two versions of the album around, one with the cover added to this review and one with the outlines of France on it with a big K in the middle. I cant make a secret of it: I like this new album a lot and can only advise you to enter the world of Kickback; if Kickback will like this or not.