Peste Noire - Peste Noire (La Mesnie Herlequin, 2013)
I have difficulties with this album after 1 year of eavesdropping. It seemed quite a letdown at the first stages, maybe I was expecting too much and got less? Maybe I expected less and Peste Noire had to offer too much?
The feeling of listening to the this Peste Noire album is like going out Friday night after a hard week’s work, drinking occasional nibbles with random cronies, mixing beer with short ones until you go to confused states of mind. Constant rolling of this album helped me to appreciate it more with time, but the experience of listening is still hazy (like the memories of Friday go-outs.)
The opening “La retour de la Peste” uses the same dissonant melodies we are familiar with from the first demos. Dissonant melody-line with the usual traditional French music counterparts and the obligatory French dialogues cut from archives.
The first real (black metal) song is “Démonarque”. Very hygienic production, smooth mixing, almost too clean for Peste Noire. Very good and varied vocals, quite grotesque I must say, funny and creepy at the same times. The French music influence is there in every second, there is an extravagant whining tune played by the accordion. Actually this piece of music is something I imagine humming to myself in the morning when I go to work. Or even on a morning when I am not going to work.
In the middle of the song there’s a beautiful medieval theme, much better than most of the bands from the neo-folk scene can produce, acoustic guitars, martial drums and wind instruments help the expansion of the song. Only 5 minutes passed and what a lot of themes in one song!
“La Bêche Et L'Epée - Contre L'Usurier” is another crazy track with strong guitar work, memorable tunes and insane vocals by Famine & Audrey and here comes the trumpets providing this song an upper dimension. A lot of acoustics too, and what I like in Peste Noire is that also in their acoustic non-metal parts they are still wild and insane.
“Niquez Vos Villes” start is something between jazz and hangover guitar masturbation, but just until Kommandante Famine comes in with his stylish vocals. This is perhaps the craziest song on the record, reminding of the absurdity of Woods of Infinity, the seclusion of Circle Of Ouroboros, containing almost rap-like performance from Famine, drunk singing (sounds like), booze bottles crashing and sad trumpets made it even more varied. Roman Saenko from DRUDKH and the WOODS OF INFINITY guys also participate with their distinctive vocals in this marathon.
“Le Clebs Noir - De Pontgibaud” is where I get always confused. Too much themes, too much variety, hard to follow.
“Ode” has nice parts too with acoustics and hurdy gurdy, but somehow the acoustic part of the song doesn’t fit with the metal parts. This song is like jamming. There is also an Arabic tune and Arabic percussion, this could be (or not) just another joke of Famine.
“La Blonde” is one of the best songs of the album. Catchy, practically Punk / Oi! riffs, drunk-smashed vocals with a great feeling, choruses and good song-structure, not over-complicated, still in the irrational Peste Noire style. Audrey’s voice is totally indecent and porn here, another good point for KPN.
“Moins Trente - Degrés Celsius” is the last song and it’s the closest in feeling and structure to the old days of Peste Noire. More direct and less confusing like some others from this album, this song is really haunting and totally enjoyable. It’s like a remnant from “Folkfuck Folie”.
Conclusion: Very good performance from the musicians. Most of the songs are quite long, sometimes too long. Too much themes, too many hooks in one song, sometimes it’s hard to keep an eye on what’s going on. Sometimes less is more (for example “La Blonde”). Even the great musicianship, the vast number of guest underground anti-heroes and the rich amount of accompanying instruments (hurdy gurdy, trumpet, accordion, lituus, carnyx, flute, etc) cannot make this album a spotless one.
What can I say more? I prefer all their discography, the best ones are the previous 2 records in my opinion, but I spent money also on this and somehow I don’t regret it, seems like I raised to the bait.
Pure insanity, which heals in small doses.
Rating: 7.5 / 10