Doctor Livingstone - Triumphus Haeretici
Osmose Productions
Experimental Black Metal, Punk
14 songs (1:11:12)
Release year: 2017
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Featuring live members of Mütiilation, French five-piece Doctor Livingstone started life as a punk band but crossed over into black metal, and they've kept not only their former genre's lack of respect (a music video from a side project featured the band burning and smashing copies of classic black metal albums, and the debut Doctor Livingstone album was named Notre niveau est trop élevé pour que vous, misérables créatures bipèdes pour lesquelles nous n'prouvons que du mépris, puissiez porter un jugement l'encontre de nos délicieuses créations ("Our level is too high for you, miserable bipedal creatures for whom we have only contempt, can judge against our delicious creations"!)) but also a chaotic sloppiness that works perfectly with black metal. Similarly to mischievous countrymen Peste Noire, the band are clearly out to annoy purists, not least for the sixteen minute ambient introduction Codex Haeretici, which repeats swirling electronics and simple drumbeats for the full running length. Obviously this kind of practical joke is less effective in 2017 when music is mainly electronic and skipping tracks is easy, but vinyl-purchasers who wanted aural violence are going to have to grit their teeth and take it!

There's no denying, though, that when the band actually kick in on the following Lux Delenda Est they're suitably heavy, screamed vocals and blasting drums backing the jagged, punky riffing up well. It breaks down into chanted snarls and percussion partway through, ending on what sounds like a burst of accordion, before the following Dancing with Horses comes back even more violently. Most variety between tracks is subtle, as they're essentially all galloping blasts with shrieked vocals, but most fit in little experimental moments like the deep-voiced singing in Give them Tragedies, which later fits in an ambient outro of creepy percussion and gasps. Opus Magnum includes what sounds like hand percussion into the mix, interlude ASMD is pretty much a random mix of sounds, The Muck of the Land slows the pace down to a sludgy crawl.

It's all seemingly randomly organised, with little attempt to make a cohesive whole out of the individual tracks, but I doubt the band are too interested in that; the promotional information highlights that Doctor Livingstone "don't give a shit" and it's hard to remember another black metal band I've heard of late that seem as interested in antagonising the listener. Cut the pointless interludes like Peisithanatos out, get rid of that ridiculous intro piece, and focus on sheer aural violence and Doctor Livingstone have made a great album, but then moments like the bizarre shift into singing and almost hardcore riffing in The Grand Finale (Fin de l'ordre) wouldn't make this as much of a memorable listen as it is, let alone that track's foray into post-metal territory towards the end. Angry, violent, and black metal to the core in spirit if not always in style, Doctor Livingstone are very much worth hearing, although falling in love with them is harder.

Killing Songs :
Lux Delenda Est, Dancing with Horses, The Grand Finale (Fin de l'ordre)
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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