Peste Noire - Ballade Cuntre Lo Anemi Francor
De Profundis
Black Metal
10 songs (39:02)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by James

After the trainwreck that was Folkfuck Folie, Peste Noire stood at something of a crossroads in their career. They could continue at the frantic pace they'd been working at (Folkfuck followed mere months after their debut) with results that'd no doubt sound as slapdash and tired as that album did (You can really hear when a band goes from spending years to write an album to months, especially when it's practically without a break). Or they could step back, make some changes, re-plan their attack, and make an album that reminds us why we (well, me, anyway) all fell over ourselves praising them in the first place. I'm pleased to announce they've done the latter, and while it's not quite up to the debut's standards (but then again, very few albums are!), Ballade Cuntre Lo Anemi Francor is a massive step in the right direction, and a return to Peste Noire being a well-respected band.

When I said they'd made some changes, I meant serious changes. Three-quarters of the line-up have been jettisoned, leaving mainman Famine the only original member standing. Interestingly, Amesoeurs' Audrey Sylvain has been recruited on keyboards and vocals, and although her operatic tones are used relatively sparingly, she's an nice counterpoint to Famine's acidic shriek, which I'm pleased to say is back up to par after seemingly blowing out his voice on Folkfuck Folie. What is far more prevalent, is her keyboard work, which often gets to shine unaccompanied in the numerous interludes scattered throughout the album.

Even the very core of Peste Noire has changed, too. This time out, they've fused the folkish elements of the debut (a lot of the riffs are pure folk played on distorted guitar) to the deranged atmosphere found on Folkfuck Folie (One of the few things that album had going for it). And this time, they've amped the lunacy up to eleven, throwing random folk-metal chanting, operatic warbling and even, dare I say it, almost funky riffs at you within the space of the first three tracks. La France Bouge is an oddity even within this oddity of an album, being an acapella male/female folk duet, becoming increasingly sinister throughout its' 48-second(!) duration. Elsewhere, Vespre throws haunting, near-religious sounding dark ambient at you in the manner of startling Les Legions Noires project Moevot. And what of the actual songs? They're absolute beasts, riding on rockish rhythms and pounding drums. Whereas Folkfuck Folie sounded like the work of a band trying to cut themselves off from the melodic, catchy aspects of their sound, Ballade Cuntre Lo Anemi Francor sounds like a band embracing exactly what they are, right down to their (gasp!) pop sensibility.

So, why isn't Ballade Cuntre Lo Anemi Francor quite the towering work of black art it should be? Simply put, it's too short! Only five out of the ten tracks here are proper songs, and although the tracks are lengthy it only amounts to just under half an hour of proper black metal. The interludes, entertaining as they are, smack slightly of filler, especially when there are five of 'em (including two in a row!). Still, an impressive effort from my favorite French mentalists, and if it takes them two years to put out something this brilliant yet oddly insubstantial, I dread to think how long their next opus will take to craft. Still, Peste Noire are on the route to reclaiming their crown as the kings of French black metal, and they have as long as it takes...

Killing Songs :
All the proper songs are gold.
James quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Peste Noire that we have reviewed:
Peste Noire - La Sanie Des Siecles-Panegyrique De La Dengerescence reviewed by James and quoted 98 / 100
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