Most albums in the black metal genre nowadays leave me feeling empty after listening all the way through. Much of the time, the musicians lazily fall into never-ending cycles of genericisms that never cease to bore. It seems like nowadays, any kid who owns a tape recorder can print 666 copies of his god-awful demo and distribute it for “kvlt cred” while totally missing the point of what black metal is actually all about
: building songs around ideas in a way that entrances the listener and captivates their imagination.
Peste Noire, however, stands in a league of their own within the modern black metal scene. La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénerescence
garnered the band much global attention and helped them to skyrocket to underground stardom within a short time of its release, and certainly not without good reason. Famine (Peste Noire’s lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter) certainly has a vision of black metal that is exclusively his own, and the material resulting from his vision definitely has its own identity within the genre and is in no way contrived.
Peste Noire has a way of heightening and lowering the mood of a song on command. The writing is nothing less than superb here; songs frequently change in mood from depressing to valorous to mischievous and back again, but not without losing sight of what the song is conveying on the whole. Each riff deliberately contributes to the overall narrative structure of the pieces. Like all good metal, La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénerescence
avoids having each song simply be a collection of riffs lazily thrown together; it isn’t music for music’s sake. Solos, when employed, are used to add more energy and an overlay of melody to the piece and aren’t overly showy. The structures are quite extensive; the twelve minute epic, “Phalènes Et Pestilence - Salvatrice Averse”, for example, traverses through countless moods and themes while keeping sight of its original aim and not wandering off into pointlessness.
The aesthetic Peste Noire adopts on this album is very dark and romantic, yet reverent of the past, frequently bringing the better LLN bands to mind with its frequent employment of techniques and melodies akin to Vlad Tepes and Mütiilation. However, Famine certainly has his own mind; La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénerescence
is in no way a rip-off of these bands but rather is not afraid to pay tribute to its influences, being the LLN and Peste Noire’s national identity. From the waltz-y intro to the French folk acoustic guitar sections that pervade some of the songs to the completely appropriate use of an organ, Peste Noire seems very proud of their French national heritage and honors it without shame.
La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénerescence
is a rare gem in today’s black metal scene. Rarely are there black metal albums released today with such identity and pride while retaining magnificent songwriting and rich variety expanding beyond what typifies black metal. If you get one black metal album from the 00’s, make it this one. You won’t regret it.