Peste Noire – Split – Peste Noire
Review by Fernando on June 25, 2019.
To say that Peste Noire is a controversial band is a massive understatement in many ways. Founder and composer Famine have actively positioned his band to be polarizing and get a strong reaction from his listeners, at first this M.O. served him well, despite many people’s distaste for what this band represents and endorses, no one can deny that the music and their wild experimenting over the years was good. That isn’t the case in this album though.
Peste Noire have been praised for their outlandish and eccentric music, experimenting and playing around with a variety of genres and styles, from folk, to punk to even industrial music the band set out to continue this experimenting in this album but with their most baffling, outright incompetent and even mediocre results. This album is divided in two sides of five songs each; a “Traditional” side which is comprised of straightforward black metal and a “Degenerate” side which is comprised of the more experimental side. I’ll start addressing the latter over the former because this is the side of the album which in my opinion is the worst part of the entire album and some of the worst songs to come out of any black metal band and even any extreme metal project.
First let’s address the elephant in the room; the experimentation with trap music and hip hop is terrible, Peste Noire had in the past incorporated industrial and electronic elements into their signature black metal style, in this album instead of using those genres as an addition, a seasoning if you will, Famine has instead attempted to fully mix trap music with black metal and the results are as I said, terrible, aside from how jarring and disjointed the album as a whole feels the trap parts are simply atrocious. The trap music parts of the album are extremely mediocre and even shocking that Famine, who has often being lauded for his musicianship, would release songs this poorly composed and this mediocre, I’m at a loss for words as to how bad this “experimentation” is, whether its intentional or as a joke to the listeners the incorporation of trap music comes off as a self-indulgent parody of the style, I’m not a fan of trap at all but this music sounds stereotypically bad, like what a diehard metal head would describe trap as; bad and dissonant synths, repetitive beats and vocal performances that do not even try to flow with the music and a general apathy for quality control, Famine is still using his usual raspy shouts for this but his performance sounds intentionally lazy and artificial, like he’s aware of how bad this sounds and doesn’t even care to perform well.
Then there’s the “Traditional” part of the album, the first half which opens it and the best way to describe this album is simply as mediocre, it sounds like outtakes from Peste Noire’s first 3 albums, there’s no experimentation, no innovation and no breaking of the mold, the biggest tell of this shocking display of apathy is the 2 recycled and rerecorded songs; “666 millions d'esclaves et de déchets” and “Des médecins malades et des saints séquestrés” taken from their Macabre Transcendance... demo and their infinitely superior debut album.
The final aspect I’m going to address are the lyrics, first and foremost Peste Noire is a band I don’t feel comfortable recommending due to the political and provocative nature of their lyrics in general but that’s beside the point, good music is good music regardless of what their authors support or promote (death of the artist). However in the first half of the album you get what you usually expect from Peste Noire; punk like screeds about anarchy, French ancestry and so on but on the trap side of the album, the lyrics feel extremely self-indulgent, ham-fisted and again like if Famine is having a laugh at the expense of the listeners, the song "Turbofascisme" has a reference to the Pepe internet meme, again I don’t know what’s the motive or reasoning here, the entire “Degenerate” side of the album whether if it’s because Famine is playing around with trap music which is criticized for having extremely simplistic and even dumb lyrics is unknown to me, there’s certainly an urban or street aspect to this side of the album but due to the reasons I’ve been stressing it really comes off as an insulting joke where the only one laughing is Famine.
It’s easy to just say this album is bad but the worst part of this album is how it feels like an elaborate joke on Famine’s part, it’s no secret the man enjoys the infamy and negative press that Peste Noire gets, he famously recorded Folkfuck folie in poor conditions to scare off the people that praised La Sanie des siècles, but beyond whatever intentions Famine had with this record this album is simply a mediocre mess, it fails in being what it set out to do; a simultaneous “return to roots” and experimenting with the current popular music, its disjointed, misguided and as an experiment it fails the basis of failing to understand why trap music has gotten so omnipresent in the mainstream. The first half is a retread of past efforts but with better production and the second half is again, a botched experiment. I do not recommend this album to anyone, if you want to a better album that succeeds where this album failed, stick to L'Ordure à l'état pur.
Rating: 0.5 out of 10