Just got several older albums from these French "black metal hooligans" back in stock!
Finally stocking the early works of provocative French black metal outfit Peste Noire, whose mix of ultra-raw black metal aesthetics, French nationalism, folkloric themes, punk-damaged pop filth and a savagely contrarian "fuck you" attitude continues to make 'em one of the most interesting bands to come out of the French black metal underground. With Transcendental Creations' reissue of Peste Noire's debut album La Sanie Des Siecles, we're introduced to some of the Peste Noire's earliest recordings; originally released on French label De Profundis in 2006, this eight-song album delivered a uniquely demented and distinctly French take on black metal, opening with a short, strange waltz lashed with a wailing guitar solo, flecked with droning background organ and the cymbal-splattered mid-paced tempos of drummer Niege of Alcest/Amesoeurs fame, who briefly played with the band during this period. But from there, La Sanie unleashes a furious squall of violent, low-fi blackness, "Le Mort Joyeux" kicking in with rumbling double bass and killer mournful guitar melodies, slipping into a super-catchy thrashing hook and in and out of those raging blastbeats and shrieking violent black metal, into eerie folk-tinged slower passages that echo ancient Gallic melodies beneath the murk. Throughout all of this, you can hear just how skilled the musicians are, despite the raw, low-fi nature of the recording and the bizarre songwriting choices; the guitar playing is fucking killer, matching these ferocious, catchy riffs with shredding solos and emotional melodies that are really effective. The vocals are equally deranged, often multi-tracked into intensely harsh, frantic screams, a palpable anguish felt in the way that those screams rasp and crack over the band's music.
Some of the best stuff here includes "Spleen", fusing a classic early black metal sound to an incredible hook, intensely catchy and colored by tastefully used acoustic guitars that bring more of that folky feel while also kicking into a terrifically infectious metallic riff, a fierce metallic chug fused to ominous, twisted poppiness. Elsewhere, they'll drape their ragged blackened anthems with droning pipe organ, or push that acoustic guitar way up front in the mix. Those idiosyncratic choices distinguish Peste Noire's music above so much other raw black metal; they can unleash the most malevolent of buzzing, swarming black metal hatefulness, then at the drop of a hat slip in a gorgeous classical guitar interlude or a flurry of flamenco-style notes or an infectious jangly melody , or drift into a brief but supremely creepy passages of blackened rumble and liturgical chanting, or the sound of French church choirs raising their voices in Hallelujah. The songs themselves are sprawling, multi-chambered things, sometimes stretching out for up to twelve minutes at a time as they wind through a multitude of different sections, with the madness of "Retour De Flamme (Hooligan Black Metal)" giving birth to a delirious epic of wailing female operatic vocals, bluesy slide guitar and classic metallic power, all within the first minute; once it gets going though, it transforms into one of the most powerful songs on the album, the almost jazz-informed bass guitar leading this through continuously changing blackened riffery and soaring leads. On "Dueil Angoisseus", the music begins with the soft sound of rainfall while a moody guitar instrumental slowly unfolds, but then this too blasts into another striking folky hook and driving, rocking anthemic black metal. And it closes with the trippy, terrifying "Des Medecins Malades Et Des Saints Sequestres", starting off with another flurry of frenetic shred as each instrument enters one by one, then rumbles forth on top of a massive old-school metal attack, almost NWOBHM-esque as the song charges forward with a powerful mid-paced gallop and the sinister blackened riff takes hold, those ghostly pipe organs emerging with their mesmeric gothic warble, the song shaping into this killer menacing epic.
These early Peste Noire works are still some of the most vicious and fascinating French black metal albums I've heard, super creative and unique while remaining thoroughly misanthropic in attitude, all recommended listening for enthusiasts of uncompromising black art. Includes an eight page booklet that includes an interview with the band, albeit en francais.