Peste Noire – La Saine Des Siécles – Panégyrique de la Dégénérescence (2009)

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Since the year 2000 the French band Peste Noire has been spreading pestilence with their music, however, most of us have never even heard about them. La Sale Famine de Valfunde, band leader and the only permanent member from the very beginning, spares no effort to bring salvation in the form of black death upon all mankind. I also have to highlight the fact that as far as I am aware only he gets credit for both the lyrics and music. The other members’ merit is mostly the execution of that but each of them is a well-known members of the intricate circles of the French underground (Alcest, Celestia, Valfunde).

With their unique musical understanding they managed to create a very special sound and atmosphere. Although I don’t stand for musical categorisation but if I tried to classify them I would probably compare them to the music of Mütiilation or the long-dead Vlad Tepes. However, it is only a suggestion. The music of Peste Noire is much more settled and after the first listening it is utterly clear that although they are musically more educated but still far from the technically precise destruction of Otargos. It is not an accident that I mention Peste Noire with these three bands because they represent a completely different category in the French metal scene.

The concoction of medieval melodies, acoustic guitar sessions, church choirs and organs are resulted in raw black metal music and the end result rises high from the garage-sounding, shoddy band not even worth mentioning. Besides the album is mostly characterised by fast-paced tracks, fortunately there are plenty of slower, more thought-provoking tracks as well. Great emphasis was put on acoustic guitar sessions therefore it can be heard quite a few times on the album. A good example of that is Phalènes Et Pestilence in which the virtuoso opening is beautifully combined with the following madness. Also, distorted guitar sessions combined with acoustic solos are not usual either. Famine croaks painfully and ferociously throughout the whole album which evokes certain feelings as well as makes you think what could be happening in the mind of a person who shows himself in public like that. I could go through all the tracks and describe them one by one but it is completely unnecessary because you just simply have to listen to it. All in all, it is a great album, however, there is one thing that can be disturbing. The songs end strangely. You would think after a certain amount of time that it is going to be the end of the song but then suddenly they start playing something completely different and close the song with that. But it can be overlooked with a frown of disapproval.

The record was released originally in 2006 on CD as the band’s first album, which was also preceded by several demos and followed by two later album. It was also released on vinyl with a different cover art work and track order but only in 2009 under the record label of De Profundis. Those who are dedicated to the genre and take the risk of a not quite simple purchase, if I may put it this way, can be sure to own a precious and collectible item.

De Profundis, FRANCE – Aug 2009.

Tracklist:

A1 Nous Sommes Fanés 2:18
A2 Le Mort Joyeux 4:40
A3 Laus Tibi Domine 6:57
A4 Spleen 5:48
A5 Dueil Angoisseus (Christine De Pisan, 1362-1431) 7:02
B1 Phalènes Et Pestilence – Salvatrice Averse 11:47
B2 Retour De Flamme (Hooligan Black Metal) 4:19
B3 Des Médecins Malades Et Des Saints Séquestrés 9:09
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