Do you remember this legend about Dead, the Mayhem vocalist, saying he used to inhale the remnants of a dead raven he was keeping in a plastic bag before taking the stage?
Well, listening to Sale Freux’s “Subterraneus” is basically the musical equivalent of breathing a putrid raven corpse buried in some unholy ground for weeks.
I can’t honestly think of a better description…
Like any other musical genres struck by mainstream recognition, black-metal has drifted far, far away from its original essence and I’m always grateful to bands who keep the flame of the old days alive. As long as they do it with style.
And like any of these bands (there are actually not so many but all are mentioned in this blog), Sale Freux has invented nothing (who has anyway?) and owes a lot to “Transylvanian Hunger” or any other norwegian cornerstones of the early 90’s, but Sale Freux has digested enough the teachings of the elders to regurgitate them with its own pestilential breath. Yes, pestilential it is: this album reeks of death, madness and a strange morbid beauty.
Black-metal is all about the atmosphere, all about the grimness.
It is about black & white out of focus pictures not glossy photoshopped sessions with shiny 20 inches spikes purchased on e-bay. It is about capturing the invisible, the unseen, not writing overproduced songs with bombastic arrangements on pro-tools and fucking triggered drums. It is about a music reaching the inner depths of your soul, not a collection of catchy hooks for drunk teenagers in the mosh-pit. And fuck all those metalhead crowds and fuck Watain too.
BM is clandestine, vile, stinky and fucking raw. Sturm Und Drang.
Sale Freux (Bloody Rook in french) embraces all of the above.
The band plays a cavernous (in the sense that it sounds like it was recorded in a cave, could be a swamp too) music echoing the rural french folklore from long forgotten days. But these echoes are more conceptual than musical, so no stupid pagan metal crap here, again it’s all about the atmosphere. If you have ever wandered in some old forest somewhere in the rural parts of France, Sale Freux music will be even more appealing to you as the band captures perfectly this melancholic, mysterious and haunting mood you can feel in these places as long as you have a little imagination and propension to tragedy (Dionysus).
“Subterraneus” is a menacing black-metal storm with ravenous melodies, the epic odyssey of a lost soul screaming along with the witches, the ravens and the sick, cursing mankind, celebrating the wicked. There’s some desperate romanticism to it, almost like a pale baudelairean sun glowing throughout the record.
All lyrics are in french which fits perfectly to the music, I can’t really tell more about this but there’s a certain poetry to it with the use of old-fashioned french, something a little similar to Darvulia syntax, although the music and the concept is radically different. Production is top-notch, slightly better than on their previous demo but not too polished, with some interesting acoustic overdubs and other nature sounds in the tradition of grim forest black-metal which kinda reminded me of the first Arckanum without these ridiculous pipes.
All in all, “Subterreanus” embodies prefectly my vision of black-metal.
The band is born from the ashes of Saatkrähe, although its genitor, Dunkel is already quite a figure in the underground black metal scene since he’s also behind the bands Drakonhail (which I totally worship), Voqkrre & Breizh Occult. Subterraneus is their first full length and the tape is available now on +Selbstmord Kommando Produktionen+.
Very limited copies. This is a masterpiece. Don’t fucking miss it.
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