As part of their quest to ruin everything interesting and appealing about both metal and life, the gullible cronies of media pyramid scheme Vice Magazine have journeyed to the grim countrysides of the French black metal underground to film what is undoubtedly the most boring film in the history of music. While Vice markets this abomination as a “documentary” calling it such is actually a misleading statement as the film is little more than a collection of autistic ramblings without a single question or narrative statement. In any case, the eyesore is a bastardization of the region’s legacy as any shred of decency still possessed by the founding members of Mutiilation and Drakkar Productions have been urinated directly into the toilet as they hammed it up for the same forces that they claim to be rebelling against. Fortunately, the film’s lack of credible sources and unbelievably poor post-production prevents it from succeeding in the demystification of what was once one of the more intriguing regional black metal scenes.
Slayer are playing the 2017 iteration of the Download rock festival in France on the Plessis-Pâté / Brétigny sur Orge / Cœur d’Essonne BA217 air base, which is a thirty minute drive from Paris according to the festival organizers. Every other band at this festival is some lame rock or pseudo-metal turd pusher but at least they probably do not smoke bath salts like the French president. Probably not. You can never be sure of the substances some of these degenerates ingest given how awful their music is.
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The first batch of bands for the Fall of Summer 2017 festival in France were announced in an overenthusiastic press release for a decent but not great lineup. Blasphemy, Demolition Hammer, and Bulldozer are playing along with a bunch of dumb hipster bullshitters and stoner doom idiots. Check it out if you’re nearby and want to deal with a bunch of drunken beer metallers.
Necropole are a French group who play flowing melodic black metal in the style of Graveland and the Quebecois with riffing heavily influenced by Gorgoroth. Necropole is an anthology CD collecting both of Necropole’s earlier demos, Atavisme… and Ostara, that were released on cassette only but readily heard through streaming on Youtube. Hopefully Necropole’s debut album will not be titled Necropole too to avoid confusion.
Prior releases from Antaeus displayed an alien weltschmerz like an outsider looking into the world and finding nothing of value. It had an air of royalty as well as an air of embarrassment in its simplicity. Intuitive destruction of an end-in-itself, the music delivered a perspicacious view of the bleakness embodied in the microcosm and macrocosm, with the nature of man clinging onto its pitiful existence. Ultimately the value of such an inquiry is in the unraveling of itself to the threshold of exhaustion, then being untoward to the world-as-it-is as its conclusion. Such bold statements of violence to humanity and to the self led to its unique logogenesis which thrusted them above most of their peers as a more realized and apt style of music like Von. Antaeus had the face of an outsider in a sea of complacent faces.
Deathspell Omega return with another uninspired and uninspiring record entitled The Synarchy of Molten Bones. Their last record, Paracletus, was built on a foundation of Voivod-lite chords executed with the alt metal sensibilities of The Dillinger Escape Plan. In an effort to build ambience, additional guitar tracks would attempt to produce a microtonal effect without actual production of microtones; just more dissonance. These techniques were then deployed over pop-leaning melodies which become pronounced should one decide to hum the otherwise atonal morass.
A Massacra tribute band is playing the Fall of Summer festival in Torcy, France on September 2nd and 3rd along with Unleashed, Exciter, Samael, Paradise Lost, Manilla Road, Abigail, Dead Congregation, and other bands. From the festival’s website:
The Fall of Summer team is glad to reveal that PARADISE LOST will join us and play an old-school set composed of songs from “Gothic” and their first albums. We are also very proud to announce that we will pay TRIBUTE TO MASSACRA, 30 years after their debut with a very special tribute band formed for this occasion . This will be something very personal and that really matters to us as Massacra is one of the most important and influential band of the French Metal scene and hope you’ll be as thrilled as we are to hear their songs live.
The 30TH ANNIVERSARY MASSACRA TRIBUTE band will be composed of Alex Colin-Tocquaine (AGRESSOR) on guitarsand vocal, Frédéric Leclercq (DRAGONFORCE, SINSAENUM) on guitars and vocals, Stéphane Buriez (LOUDBLAST, SINSAENUM) on bass and vocals, Kevin Paradis (AGRESSOR, MELECHESH) on drums and some very special guests that we will announce soon !
In the 1990s, there dwelled a cabal of musicians in France called Les Légions Noires which specialized in basic, raw, occult black metal. Many of the LLN releases were superb, most however, were significantly less than appealing. One of the more exceptional records to be served out of this French cauldron is Mütiilation’s debut album Vampires of Black Imperial Blood.
Stylistically, this album is similar to Black Funeral in terms of both riffing approach and occult fascination. This release works on its ability to place the listener upon the fulcrum between terror and nightly beauty. Cavernous rivers of melody advance and collide in such a way that it plunges the listener through a gloomy current that fluctuates between those two sensations until they are indistinguishable.
Vampires of Black Imperial Blood is often eclipsed by the oppressively colossal Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul that would come later. This makes sense because their sophomore effort does indeed leave a more lasting impression. However, to skip over this album would be a mistake as it nails down the grisly basis for the mastery to come.
Formed in 2002, Aosoth launched themselves down an intellectual path blazed by the Order of Nine Angles, a theological Satanist outfit whose ideology differs greatly from the usual atheistic, materialist Satanism of modern “black metal.” This would become significant as the band evolved musically to match their inclinations in aesthetic and ideal.
Early Aosoth releases fit within the run-of-the-mill French black metal style with more aggression and yet control than most bands of that type were demonstrating at the time. As the band incubated their sound changes came, and each release improved upon prior works while also reaching for a style more likely to be unique to Aosoth.
IV: An Arrow in Heart meshes textures the way a painter mixes paint and applies to canvas. Most songs are in a somewhat standard format with riffs recycled often. Though the pitfalls of being monotonous from repetitive riffing are present in this release, Aosoth keep it interesting by having well-thought-out structures and progressions. Occasional ambiance meshes with the bleak and desolate droning riffs to provide an atmosphere of distress.
As black metal has found itself in a position of being separated from its origins without having discovered a path to the future, releases like IV: An Arrow in Heart site astride two very different standards, loyalty to form and need to innovate. While none will argue that Aosoth has left black metal behind like the post-metal et-al crowd, it is clear that this band has found a way to innovate within a faithful tribute to the past, and the result has given the band the voice it had desperately needed.