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Peste Noire: L'ordure à l'état pur

27/03/12  ||  SwornToTheBlack

Some people hate when a band takes a strong stance on a political issue, wishing the two could be kept separate. The truth is, politics inspire some of our most impassioned feelings — which of course is fertile ground for creativity. La sale Famine de Valfunde, the main man behind Peste Noire, is driven by an ideal of French nationalism informing a unique approach to black metal that has proven to be quite divisive over the years. I’m not French, and I’m only proficient enough with the language to be spat on by a prostitute, so I will refrain from a critical analysis of Famine’s ideology, but his passion, his music, and his ideas characterize a powerful and traumatic work of art in “L’ordure à l‘état pur”.

The album is hectic and disheveled in a bitterly chaotic way, alternating between moments of great beauty and sickness seemingly without effort and without warning. Famine’s vocal performance is outstanding. Understandably few will be immediately receptive of his verminous rasps, but delving deeper into the material reveals that it couldn’t be any other way, as they always contribute a careful balance of artfulness and disgust. To further the oft-traversed chasm between the beautiful and the grotesque, Audrey Sylvain of Amesoeurs returns as a full-member of the band to lend her heartbreakingly enchanting voice to several tracks. The balance between the two is handled exceptionally well and her role is unquestionably essential to the band’s vision here.

Sonically, the album is gorgeously produced. Famine claims to use shitty equipment for his recordings, but he most certainly does not use shitty engineers. I have not been fortunate enough to hear this record on vinyl (the artist’s preferred medium), but one can detect from the warm compression that it would be a real treat. Regardless, the warmth of the production is still greatly appreciable on CD or high quality encoding. Just don’t tell La sale Famine de Valfunde you heard it that way. Actually, you’d probably best not tell him you heard it at all. In fact, don’t even mention K.P.N. to him…

“L’ordure à l‘état pur” is a powerful experience. Listening to the album, one cannot avoid the impression that Famine thinks black metal is simultaneously a complete joke and a powerful tool. Laughter and fourth-wall breaking lyrics (repeatedly shouting “Toi Métal Noir!” most notably) pepper the album, signifying the former. Black metal is used merely as a suggestion — an outline — but there are no boundaries for the music. This is where the latter sense comes into play. “L’ordure à l‘état pur” is one of the most expressively free and pure albums I’ve ever heard. Famine does whatever he wants and his conviction in his art carries it through any weaknesses or faults. He is making exactly the kind of music he wants. It is ugly and sick, but it breathes with vigor and vitality. The album is excellently structured and an emotional odyssey, displaying far greater range than typical black metal or even metal in general. “L’ordure” reads like a work of literature, complete with the depth and pain of a masterfully crafted protagonist. With the sensitivity of a great author, Famine and his cohorts in Peste Noire leave themselves completely open for the receptive listener.

Though elitist and more than a bit eccentric, K.P.N. has created an album that deserves to be heard and understood by those with the patience and stomach for the perverse.

9

  • Information
  • Released: 2011
  • Label: La Mesnie Herlequin
  • Website: Peste Noire MySpace
  • Band
  • La sale Famine de Valfunde: vocals, guitars, dulcimer
  • Sainte Audrey-Yolande de la Molteverge: vocals
  • Indria: bass
  • Vicomte Chtedire de Kroumpadis: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Casse, pêches, fractures et traditions
  • 02. Cochon carotte et les sœurs crotte
  • 03. J’avais rêvé du nord
  • 04. Sale famine von valfoutre
  • 05. La condi hu