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Review: Peste Noire - Ballade Cuntre lo Anemi Francor
Peste Noire
Ballade Cuntre lo Anemi Francor

Label: De Profundis
Year released: 2009
Duration: 39:03
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: April 13, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating
Ballade Cuntre lo Anemi Francor

Rated 4/5 (80%) (20 Votes)

Ballade cuntre lo Anemi Francor appeared out of nowhere, being announced on the De Profundis website only a couple of weeks prior to release, so I've only had this a few days, but have no reservations in writing this review at all. With La Sanie Peste Noire delivered a classic of Black Metal that was equal parts perversion, evil and stirring melody, and while the follow up Folkfuck Folie did not live up to the promise of the debut, it still contained that requisite atmosphere of sickness and spite. Ballade… toes the line in between these albums – it is not equal to the near perfection of La Sanie, but it is a different album, blending the cut down ugliness of Folkfuck in equal measure.

A serene clear female vocal opens the album briefly before Peste Noire strike at you with their off-kilter riffing. There is no doubt that they are back, as the just plain disturbing riffage meanders about like a leperous drunk, with melodic guitars, distorted acoustics and lurching riffs. This is the Peste Noire we love, but taken to the next level of perversity. The leads are back, but rather than be given over to their own sections they slink in and out of the vocals, adding twisted verses of their own, the work on "La Mesniee Mordrissoire" giving the perfect example of their "fuck you" approach. The tape hiss and piano of "Concerto Pour Cloportes" is an absurd perversion of a noble's parlour, and the vocal only 48 seconds of "La France Bouge" lead to one of the oddest things about the disc. In places on Ballade… are clean vocal sections, sometimes a clear female voice, at others a male chorus. They are well done, but Famine takes it a step further and adds his sickened croak to them. The first time you hear it you will be thinking "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?" but you quickly come to see it for what it is, as if an escaped lunatic or subversive has rushed to the stage and joined the clean voices and the onlookers and vocalists are too terrified to say anything about it. Pure awesomeness.

The production is lo-fi and raw and this feel is amplified by the guitar tone which will be familiar to fans in its "distortion pedal only set to 4" sound. It should sound amateurish, but there is just no question that this is the intended sound rather than the side effect of a low budget. Sadly, the bass is all but non-existent, which is a shame given the excellent bass work on La Sanie, but again, this is a different album, and while you do not necessarily miss the bass, you can't help but wonder what might have been if it was given voice. As usual, the star of the show here is Famine's voice. He is in fine form puking and screaming his way through the songs, as both a wraith and a madman (often simultaneously), he gives the album the perfect flavour of plague and insalubrious frothing – Ballade… is a laudable marriage of lo-fi instrumentation and fevered vocalizations.

The only real criticism I can level at Ballade cuntre lo Anemi Francor is that there really is only 5 new songs, the rest being made up of atmospheric pieces. They are far from the traditional atmospheric interludes you would find on a Black Metal album, and are indeed excellent and entertaining additions to the albums atmosphere, but the album is already pretty short at 39 minutes. Still, this is an experience as much as it is a metal album and you find yourself listening to it like an audio short story. I should give fair warning that this is ugly and twisted music and definitely not for everyone, but there really is no one else doing anything quite like this in extreme metal, and it doesn't get much more extreme than this.

Other related information on the site
Review: Folkfuck Folie (reviewed by Brett Buckle)
Review: La Sanie des Siècles - Panégyrique de la Dégénérescence (reviewed by Brett Buckle)
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