Lunar Tombfields – An Arrow To The Sun30th October 2023
The Fixer – Your Lie30th October 2023
Label: Les Acteurs De l'Ombre / Release Date: 3rd November 2023
2023 has proven to be an exceptionally good year for me personally – Several good releases have been popping up thruoghout the year, several bands I never thought I would get the chance to see live reformed and went on tours (even relatively close to my ‘neck of the woods’), I discovered several new bands to add to my ever-expanding watchlist; And now, at the threshold of the darker months of the year, a new Pénitence Onirique Full-length drops through my mailbox. Such joys to be had.
As I have scribbled about before when reviewing Pénitence Onirique (which is French for ‘Dreamlike Penance’ by the way – As always much obliged Google Translate), the Black Metal (now) quintet is one of those bands that are always pushing the envelope by pushing themselves; Both creatively and musically. The most palpable result of this is the fact that the band has grown from being a one-man vision (back in 2015 when the band was first created) to a now five man strong army, each with a consistent vision in mind it seems. Luckily for us the listeners, all five members of the band seem to agree that the overall vision (Black Metal with that trademark French vicious twist that I so adore) is a perfect building block to serve as the primary medium for creative output. This time around, by the bands own admission, they have poured their efforts into a seven track long opus regarding the desires and inherent flaws of men – Performed in their guttural, growling native French, and backed up by massively distorted guitars constantly sawing at your bones, incessant drums taking control of your heartbeat and a near-invisible bass, just present enough to ease out all the creaks and merge it all into an unstoppable whole.
Of the almost forty-six minutes present upon Nature Morte (which is French for ‘Still Life’), I only got as far as the second track (roughly ten minutes in) before I was so filled with energy and determination that I caught myself writing this review on one monitor while looking up tour dates for the band on the other as the album continued its onslaught upon what remains of my hearing after doing this for so long (they do seem to have a single concert planned at present in Nantes, a town in their homeland – I might have to plan a road trip. But I digress).
As I seem to recall having also pointed out in the past, to me Pénitence Onirique is first and foremost a live band (one that I have sadly not seen live, but I am looking into it, see above). They are relentless, repentless with a clear vision of their craft and a powerful presence spread throughout, one so intoxicating and appealing that I, for one, cannot help being swept along – Not that I particularly mind and as such am doing nothing to resist it. Hence my theory that they will truly shine while on stage.
While they are, naturally, musically very different from them, I would compare the experience of listening to Nature Morte to the first time I saw Gorgoroth live – The music speaks for itself and presents us the listener with such an abundance of energy as well as unrepentant determination that you cannot help being swept along with it, through apparent minimal effort from the band.
Below you will find a link to the title track, ”Nature Morte” – Perhaps not my favourite track from the release (I believe that will probably stabilize at being ”Les Mammonites”, from what Google Translate tells me a track about worshipping gold as a deity), but most certainly a worthy representative of the album as a whole.
Now as I have stated early on in my rambling, the entire album is produced and performed in their native French – Something I strongly endorse, even without speaking the language myself due to how well the language and overall approach to the Black Metal sound fused together perfectly (see almost all other scribbles I have made about French Black Metal acts in the last ten years), and due to the sheer amount of energy poured into their performance, the proper message comes across. For the rest, you can always, like me, have a go at the lyrics through Google Translate.