Review Summary: “And to everyone who hates us: I forgive and understand you. It must be quite hard to accept having a dick stuck in one's arse. Talent cannot be taught. You either have it or you don't. It isn't our fault if we're the best.”
Much has been said about black metal outfit Peste Noire, most of it being rumor or wild speculation. This stems mostly from a reluctance to press and media coverage and an abhorrence for internet culture. The band remains somewhat of an anachronism, a relic from whence the genre derived much of its allure from mystery and higher standards of operating. Peste Noire’s mastermind, Famine, has made it abundantly clear that he has no desire for fame or attention and wishes to hold true to early black metal culture in ways most modern groups have abandoned. His stance on the subject is characterized in the band’s limited releases and miniscule number of live performances in tiny venues and hole-in-the-wall bars. Does Peste Noire have the talent and the following to release its music and tour on a larger scale? Sure. Would these things then have the same magic? Absolutely not.
The group’s sophomore effort, Folk*** Folie
, is in many ways reactionary to the attention garnered by their debut, La Sanie des siècles
. Famine has called the album an attempt to weed out the “trendies”, and it seems to have worked, because there definitely appears to be a certain stigma surrounding this particular release. It’s a bit unclear if people shy away due to the music, the production, or the hearsay - perhaps some of each.
The baroque guitar melodies and epic medieval aesthetics the band has become widely known for are less abundant here but still remain an integral factor, incorporated impeccably well to a wide variety of grittier, thrashier riffs. Gritty and vile is precisely what Folk*** Folie
succeeds in being, from the production to the deranged vocals uttering passages of wartime poetry and lines about insanity and spreading sexually transmitted diseases. The music itself can, at any time, be dark and brooding, dense and crushing, or upbeat and playful, only further serving to confuse the already unsure. Rhythms sway and pendulate between waltzing and pummeling while captivatingly maniacal leads dance alongside in great contrapuntal fashion. The album is yet another wondrous blend of primal aggression, technical execution, impassioned melody, and mystical aura. An atmosphere is conjured that manages to wholly embody the filth of a plague-ridden medieval France while simultaneously hinting at the beauty of its culture.
There’s enough going on here to immediately frighten off the bandwagon fans but, through careful rumination, more than enough to satisfy the discerning. Songwriting without preconceptions with a vessel of more-than-capable musicianship once again allows Peste Noire to stand tall over its peers. The album can be compared and contrasted to the works which precede and follow it, but it shouldn’t. Folk*** Folie
is a masterwork in its own right, another excellent album from one of the genre’s most consistent. And at the end of the day, this is simply Famine doing what he’s always done - playing some really badass riffs.