Review Summary: It's always bizarre being in La Sale Famine's world...
La Sale Famine de Valfunde, frontman and multi-instrumentalist for French black metallers Peste Noire, has always been rather a nutcase with his vocal style, always making throaty rasps and harsh shrieks that sound outright painful. However he consistently makes up for his schizoid vocals by keeping a rather tight rein on his music, creating well-refined yet lo-fi black metal with a definitive folk side.
Apparently, that all ends with L'Ordure a l'etat Pur
At first everything seems normal and in typical Peste style: an eerie fade-in with acoustic guitar and creepy voices. La Sale Famine's voice is familiarly gravelly. However, when one begins listen to 11-minute opener "Casse, Peches, Fractures et Traditions" in its entirety, you'll quickly notice the considerable change in Peste's sound. Across the album the Burzum
-y lo-fi fuzz is completely absent and while folk elements were in wide use in prior Peste albums, the influence here is far less classical. The usual blackened riffing is replaced by something often strongly resembling gypsy punk (think if Gogol Bordello
played black metal). The whole "circus metal" aesthetic shines through with "Casse" making heavy use of brass, including a minute-long Parisian interlude featuring trombone and accordion.
Although still black metal at its core, this album is rife with decidedly unblack material. The guitarwork is often atypical, following styles from post-punk to hard rock and occasionally dipping fingertips into doom and death metal. Dozens of other uneXpected oddities show up on L'Ordure
. Samples ranging from chickens squawking to swamp noises to cart wheels creaking to a woman's horrified screams pop up, and often there are random people speaking in frantically spat French. Occasionally in "Cochon Carotte et les sours Crotte" an electronica beat comes in, instilling momentarily the fear that this will turn into a Nachtmystium
record. The beginning of the 20-minute opus "J'avais reve du Nord" sounds like something written by cargo-shorts-wearing Pantera
worshippers, complete with the sounds of cocking guns and eventually a shot firing. This somehow twists its way into a folk-y acoustic guitar solo and classical female singing before going full crushing neo-black metal. The last track on the album, "La condi hu", could easily be considered post-black metal.
Conceptually, everything seems to run amok on this album while La Sale Famine satisfies his oddball musical fancies. He seems to have taken his already strange regards for his home country from folksy to outright punk. The lyrics are worlds apart from those of Peste's first album, now obviously societally and politically driven rather than referencing stereotypical death, darkness and depression. The artwork displays this change most prominently, as the Renaissance sketches have been replaced by a graffitied version of Eugene Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People", featuring a man resembling Zakk Wylde sucking down liquor and a figure with a toilet seat for a head.
"L'ordure a l'etat Pur" translates roughly to something like junk or refuse in a pure form. True to the title, La Sale Famine seems to have taken a sort of "Let's just throw all this bizarre shi
t in here." approach to creating this album, while not completely letting go of the metaphorical reins. L'Ordure a l'etat Pur
still retains a consistent sense of coherency, and La Sale Famine ties up all his loose ends in a relatively neat package. Despite being quite distinctly bonkers and far more unpredictable than previous Peste Noire works, it never feels like it strays from its focus, nor does it lose the pure enjoyment factor. While probably not their best work, L'Ordure
definitely has a leg up for their most interesting.