Peste Noire - La Sanie Des Siecles-Panegyrique De La Dengerescence
De Profundis
Black Metal
8 songs (52:00)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by James
Archive review

NOTE: Before I begin this review, I'm aware that people have expressed issues with the political outlook of Peste Noire, mostly on the basis of their ludicrously rare Aryan Supremacy demo. I believe we should give them the benefit of the doubt, as when you take into account the fact that the band were in their teens at the time, it all comes off as a very childish attempt to shock with no real political basis. Besides, if we were blacklisting bands on the basis of ill-judged attempts to shock, Watain would be gone over their Fuck Your Jewish “God” demo, and of course Ulvedhin Hoest's infamous swastika incident renders Taake unreviewable. Hell, even Sepultura flirted with far-right imagery in their early years! I won't deny that Peste Noire are a fiercely patriotic band, but they certainly stop short of racism, proved by the fact that bassist Indria is of Asian heritage. Having said that, let's get on with the review, shall we?

Metal seems to have held a fascination for the middle ages for a long, long time. However, the image provided by most bands is that of a time of knights in shining armour, fair maidens in distress and grand castles. Peste Noire however, look at the real medieval era, that of poverty, peasants and plagues. La Sanie Des Siecles-Panegyrique De La Dengerescence is an utterly filthy album, sounding like it was recorded in a dungeon and with a sound quality about as pleasant as an oozing plague sore. Lead guitarist/vocalist Famine has one of the nastiest shrieks I've heard in black metal, bilious and harsh enough to strip the paint from the walls.

And yet, surprisingly enough, there's a great deal of melody to this album (rumour has it that the band were dropped from the notoriously kvlt Drakkar records for being too commercial). The riffs are melodic and catchy, with a great deal of classic heavy metal sensibility. There's very little hyperspeed blasting here, drummer Winterhalter (well, Alcest/Amesoeurs man Neige takes up the drum throne for two tracks) laying down simple, rock-based beats. Not that this is a new Satyricon or anything, but it is an almost perfect blend of the raw and the catchy sides of black metal. How many other underground black metal bands would dare to write a songs as instantly appealing as Le Mort Joyeux?

And yet, a great deal of experimentation and general weirdness abounds on La Sanie Des Siecles, particularly in its second half. 11-minute epic Phalenes Et Pestilence-Salvatrice Averse is remarkably progressive, stuffed full of riffs and folk interludes like a black metal Opeth. Elsewhere, we hear operatic female vocals, lengthy samples of church services, and the record ends with what can only be described as a jam. Indeed, intro Nous Sommes Fanes gives us a taste of what's to come, sounding like some sort of demented Parisian circus, with it's off-kilter waltzing and classic rock guitar solos.

I may not have communicated this to you all that well, but La Sanie Des Siecles is a masterpiece. And why? Well, you'll have to hear it for yourself. It's got some sort of nebulous “other” quality to it that makes it somehow more than the some of its parts. Every riff, every solo crackles with soul and a passion for black metal that many modern black metal bands seem to lose somewhere along the line. Black metal hasn't sounded so alive in years.

Killing Songs :
James quoted 98 / 100
Other albums by Peste Noire that we have reviewed:
Peste Noire - Ballade Cuntre Lo Anemi Francor reviewed by James and quoted 86 / 100
3 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 13 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:31 am
View and Post comments