Foudre Noire - The Dark Gods
Obscure Abhorrence
Black Metal
2 songs (38:02)
Release year: 2008
Obscure Abhorrence
Reviewed by James
Surprise of the month

Foudre Noire are the side-project of Horna/Sargeist man Shatraug (working under the name Hellseeker here). And despite the spacey cover art and length of the tracks, this isn't the Darkspace rip-off you'd imagine. It's fairly standard, raw black metal in the manner of Darkthrone, with a smattering of depressive, Xasthur-y moments scattered here and there. Both parts of The Dark Gods are incredibly lengthy, both over fifteen minutes with the second being over twenty. And so it's really quite surprising, then, that Hellseeker has made it work like he has, especially considering I find Horna dull and Sargeist unremarkable. But here the riffs are of high-quality, and fit together in a surprisingly cohesive fashion, although though the motif of dropping into a doomy, melodic bit is a bit overused (mind, pretty much every black metal band who does lengthy songs does this these days). There really is nothing of the cosmic about The Dark Gods, save for Hellseeker's suitably echo-y vocals. On the contrary, it's fairly dirty, grimy stuff, all rusty guitars and sloppy aggression. There's certainly none of the robotic precision of Darkspace, Foudre Noire sounding as human and homespun as black metal can be (the whole thing's wonderfully live-sounding, as if it was recorded in one take).

What's also surprising about The Dark Gods is how not of its' time it is. There's none of that freaky dissonance or wall-of-sound blasting that seems so common of many European black metal bands today, or the post-rock dynamics of their American brethren. The Dark Gods feels like it's from a bygone era, albeit a bygone era that's only really about 10-15 years ago. It feels like it comes from a time where bands were starting to break out a little from the Norwegian template, the likes of Judas Iscariot and the Les Legions Noire combining Darkthrone riffs with Burzum atmosphere to create a form of proto-depressive black metal, although still with a healthy dose of bilious aggression and hatred. Indeed, a good chunk of The Dark Gods could have come from Remains Of A Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul, from the sorrowful riffs to the damp, muffled, demo-y production (although not quite as hideously raw).

A bit of a retro-trip it may be, but Foudre Noire have made an album that is as black metal as it gets. The Dark Gods feels like the work of two black metal fans bashing out the music they love in some basement somewhere, and I've always found something very charming about that. The Dark Gods is a great album from a somewhat unlikely source, and if I was Hellseeker, I'd consider spending quite a bit more time on this, as opposed to the rather worn-out-sounding Horna. The man certainly has talent, I just hope The Dark Gods isn't some incredible fluke.

Killing Songs :
James quoted 88 / 100
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