2015 has so far been a pretty tragic year for the former kingdom of France. There’s no need to mention which events in particular, as everyone with a brain and an internet-connection know exactly what happened. Interestingly enough, probably in part due to the extremely morose national feeling, 2015 has also been a very fertile year for the French Black metal scene, with several high-profile bands releasing albums. These four albums sum up France anno 2015 better than any news program, so open up your ears and head towards the filthy Crade Metal d’ex-France (´Filthy Metal of once-France´´)
France d’Oïl Productions
Led by the beautiful loser/lunatic/alcoholic Dunkel, SALE FREUX managed to create quite a stir in 2012 with their almost lustrous “L’éxil” album produced by none else than Famine of PESTE NOIRE. Three years later, the temporary maddening euphoria of days past is gone for good, and the duo (Charlène on drums and Dunkel on everything else) is back for a much darker and rawer opus revolving even more so around themes of lost, death and despair. While the album as a whole is much less varied and experimental than its predecessor, “Crèvecœur” distinguishes itself through its harrowing atmosphere and the violent melodies that spice its bleak songs with sorrow and utter desolation. A true underground middle-finger to life, no less.
“Retour en Crasse”
Hit-Single: “Crade Metal d-ex-France”
On their 2013’s “Groupuscule” LP (which your servitor -shame on him- hasn’t listened to yet) AUTARCIE, the relentless and fierce defenders of France’s distinctive Black Metal identity allegedly tweaked their otherwise rather dramatic and muddy sound for a ´punchier´ approach, driven by a newly acquired drum-machine. This ´new´ sound is definitely showcased on “Retour en Crasse” which is potentially the band’s most traditional Black Metal album to date. On the other hand, it simultaneously takes some welcomed catchy cues from later-days PESTE NOIRE. Lyrically, this album neatly balances the hateful and misanthropic aspects of the writings of AUTARCIE’s mastermind Nokturn who seemingly cannot stand the modern, urban reality of contemporary France. Who needs psychoanalysis when you have Black Metal?
La Mesnie Herlequin
Hit-Single: “À la Chaise-Dyable”
Famine, the uncontested leader of France’s Black metal scene (if not quite of France -yet-) has always done whatever the Hell he wanted with his PESTE NOIRE project. Still assisted in his purulent musical quest by Audrey (female vocals) and Ardraos (drums and accordion) Famine ditched the somewhat theatrical style of his previous eponymous opus for a more coherent and especially more comprehensive sound. Endowed with an alluring clandestine atmosphere, the band welcomes back a renewed Metallic savagery while at the same time delving deeper into the realms of obscure Folk, Punk, and Rock experimentations of their 2009 masterpiece “Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor”. Halfway between True Black Metal and downcast Chanson Francaise, “La Chaise Dyable” paints a beautifully bleak portrait of a nation that slowly withers away.
Les Créations Clandestines
Created by Éclat Cadavereux, who also drums and sings in HUMUS (featuring Dunkel of SALE FREUX), TÜMEUR takes an extremist approach to Black Metal that will spellbind the amateurs of harsh and derelict musical art. Don’t expect to find anything on “Sédition” but constant raw riffing and raspy, demonic shrieks. Taking on a surprising (at least for the genre) anti-Nazi lyrical concept, TÜMEUR spews disdain for individuals who lease their conscience and wallow in mediocrity. Compared to their previous album “Gangrene”, “Sédition” has a (somewhat) clearer sound and sharper, melodic lead guitars that contrast with Blazebirth Hall-like endless droning parts. The youngest project featured in this issue, TÜMEUR clearly possesses the abilities to develop a truly unique and engaging musical and conceptual identity.
Text and illustration: Lyonel Perabo