As much as La sanie des siècles : Panégyrique de la dégénérescence
is a hipster darling on account of the DSBM and Post-Rock elements, I enjoy it track to track even if it's a bit overlong at times. Peste Noire's first release serves as an outstanding example of how Black Metal should evolve: not regurgitating Darkthrone/Burzum, but at the same time not losing sight of the genre's spirit and its whole preoccupation with the ancient and the Pagan. That baroque sense of melody, the hooligan ethos, the dungeon atmosphere and fetishism for the Medieval and rustic in general imbue their music with the requisite and genuine otherworldliness.
Famine's greatest strength is also his greatest flaw: his ego, which is far too big for his ambitions. He's one of those cleverer-than-thou aesthetes who probably spent years fleshing out his incredibly personalized, specific philosophy/aesthetic before he even picked up his first guitar. How do you even describe his schtick without sounding like a douche? "Phantasmagorical rural gutter poetry?" "Medieval absurdism?" You don't. You only sound stupider with each attempt.
When a talented artist takes that approach, the debut sounds like any other band's 4th album; La Sanie...
feels like the logical conclusion of a decade of development and shapeshifting, rather than a debut released a few years after the first demo. Folkfuck Folie
continues much of that, only rawer, more traditional and less focused but compelling.
Unfortunately, early bloomer bands like Peste Noire peak too soon. On the actual fourth release L'ordure à L'état pur
, the line between genuine outsider weirdness and McDada eroded and the band ended up sounding like a baguette version of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. For some, there was something strangely charming about the whole affair, but for me, this is where I checked out and I'm not surprised to see what a meme they've become over the last few years. Still, kudos to them for covering Vae Victis. Nice to see props given to Rock Identitaire Français's firebrand bands.
Another phenom within Extreme Metal that's recently annoyed me as of late: Anti-Fascist Black Metal (AFBM) / Red-Anarchist Black Metal (RABM). Or, as Hipster Black Metal amusingly calls it, Really Awful Black Metal:https://youtu.be/pcr6CK8-J-I
For those unaware but still curious, RABM started as a shoehorned counterpoint to the absolute legion of NSBM bands that burst onto the scene from the '90s up to the current day. Bear in mind there were always radical leftist musicians within Black Metal prior to the development of RABM with Argentinian band Profecium releasing music as early as 1994, but the impact radical leftism had within Black Metal wouldn't be felt until North American Hipsters and Crust Punks developed an interest in Black Metal. Hyperpoliticization and the rise of internet-based activism during the respective presidencies of Bush, Obama and especially Trump accelerated the development of this specific niche. The first platform for these acts was Myspace. The vast majority have since been forgotten, but others continue to make music.
To better understand why RABM is such a joke, you have to first understand why it simply doesn't make sense given the history of the scene. NSBM acts formed as part of a long, natural development from musicians' collective fascination with blood and soil along with Norse Heathenry whereas RABM (or AFBM) has always been a reaction to NSBM. Arguably, the first true NSBM band was German act Absurd who, as In Ketten, played covers of RAC/Viking Rock bands Endstufe and Ultima Thule. The infamous "The Night and the Fog" compilation put NSBM on the map, featuring Absurd and several Polish NSBM acts Fullmoon, Gontyna Kry, Graveland, Thor's Hammer, Thunderbolt and Veles. As a matter of fact, NSBM was instrumental to the development of Polish Black Metal as a whole.
There is no greater testament to Nationalism's relevance within Black Metal than the sheer number of Nationalist artists that outnumber the absolutely paltry sum of lefty acts. If you just go onto Metal-Archives advance search feature and separately query common lefty topics in the lyrical themes (Anticapitalis*, Anarch*, Marx*, Communis*, Antifascis*, Antinazi*, Antiracis*, Feminis*, Leftis*, Leftwing) separately along with "Black*" in the genre field, you will get 170 lefty Black Metal bands at the absolute most if you don't double-count bands. Conversely, entering "Black*" in the genre field and common Nationalist topics in the lyrical themes separately (Aryan*, National Socialism, White Nationalism, Nationalism, Racism, White Supremacy, Tradition*, Fascism) reveal over 900 bands. This isn't even counting the Nationalist musicians who keep their politics separate from the music. Of course, there's also the ambiguous "Politics" or "Social issues" category, but even if we assume every band under the ambiguous category of politics is left-wing, that would only give us a grand total of 340 bands when you don't double-count.
Have there been good left-wing Black Metal acts? Absolutely. The Meads of Asphodel comes to mind as the champion of left-wing ideas within Black Metal worthy of the genre's founding bands, but trash like Dawn Ray'd, Neckbeard Deathcamp or Gaylord all belong in a gulag.