Punk is dead. What once started as a more or less sincere revolt against commercialised rock has now been reduced to conventional guitar pop with light distortion and lyrics so politically correct and balanced that they would even sound fake in a presidential debate. Meanwhile, hiphop has turned into a laugh as well. Even though classic acts such as N.W.A. and Public Enemy may have shocked the world of milky white p.c. assholes a long time ago, hiphop has since been accepted by the establishment and is even utilised excessively in futile attempts indoctrinate the youth, which of course results in unintentional comedy more often than not.
With this in mind, it is not wholly surprising that Peste Noire has been successfully pissing off a considerable part of the black metal audience for several years now. Because even though black metal has already been partially ruined by bad actors with crappy facepaint who pretend to worship the devil, Peste Noire still embraces the anarchist spirit of this musical current, that has always captured my interest due to its disregard for conventions in the first place. While the debut album, La Sanie des siècles – Panégyrique de la dégénérescence, was already a masterpiece that, furthermore, introduced some of the band’s (lyrical) leitmotifs, the subsequent Folkfuck Folie album indefinitely put the band on the map as what might be the most rebellious, unconventional act in the genre.
That it has always been the intention of not just Folkfuck Folie, but the band in general to create such an atmosphere, seems to have escaped the minds of many people, despite the fact that the philosophy of the band was already formulated quite clearly as early as in the demo days. The introduction of an early version of “Le Mort Joyeux”, for example, says the following, based on the work À Rebours (Against the Flow) by Joris-Karl Huysmans (click on the text to listen to the fragment):
“Au rebours du sens commun, du sens moral, de la raison, de la nature, telle est cette musique qui coupe comme un rasoir, mais un rasoir empoisonné, sur les platitudes ineptes et impies d’une société putréfiée de matérialisme. La secte Peste Noire est l’émanation d’une âme malade d’infini dans une société qui ne croît plus qu’aux choses finies. Arrivé à la dernière limite que les sensations puissent atteindre, et toujours affamé de sensations nouvelles. Prendre la vie à rebours est le seul parti qu’ils leurs restent pour y trouver quelque goût et quelque saveur. Et ils le prennent, ce parti de la vie à rebours, ils le prennent avec cet hymne baudelairien, empli de fiel. Le mort joyeux!”
(N.B. Seeing as I do not want to rape this fragment with an own attempt at a translation, I’ll gladly refer you to Google Translate.)
What’s important here is the fragment about the searching and finding of “quelque goût et quelque saveur” – whatever flavour – for this is indeed the essence of the band. Clichéd as it may sound, the band’s oeuvre essentially is a journey through the dark side of the human mind, pushing all kinds of buttons until disgust starts creeping towards the surface. In this sense, it is hard to tell whether those who detest this album have understood nothing or everything about it. Because while some of the more sensitive souls undoubtedly gave up on the album because they expected what Famine himself has branded “candlelight supper black metal”, the eventual goal of the album might just be to be despised. All songs sound thoroughly unpleasant, unrefined and unsettling: as if it were the goal of the album to leave a figurative taste of shit in your mouth. It’s that dirty, raw and disgusting.
As is the case on the debut album, Famine has used a selection of poems for his lyrics, alongside his own writings. The context of raunchiness makes it as if some of these poems truly are reborn. In “La Fin del Secle”, for example, a fragment from the medieval epic La chanson de Roland is used as lyric, with the emphasis being put on the apocalyptic sentiment resulting from the death of knight Roland. And as such, each lyric, whether it was written by Famine or taken from a poem, puts emphasis on another sinister element, ironically resulting in a rather ‘colourful’ anthology of death and depravity that drags the listener deeper into the downward spiral of madness that so characterises this album. It’s the ultimate proof that a text can be separated from its author, and be revindicated within the right context. The final result of all this is a chaotic, but at the same time paradoxically consistent exercise of total insanity. This is all the more emphasised by elements such as the sound fragment of playwright and actor Antonin Artaud, who, with his incomprehensible screaming (recorded in 1947), manages to approach the sound of the band posthumously.
Perhaps not entirely appropiately, the highlight of this release might just be the album closer, “Paysage Mauvais”, a track that was originally intended for the split EP with Horna. The screeching, high-pitched guitars; the icy, possessed screaming and the high tempo succeed in making this song into a true incarnation of the descent into madness that was already described in the first song. The 12 tracks on this album are, both musically and lyrically, a crazy ride no matter what way you look at it. The listener is actually being tested, something which a lot of other black metal bands really should do, but mostly don’t. Fortunately, Folkfuck Folie is the exception to this rule, almost as if it were punk that’s still alive.
On a related note, Peste Noire is one of the few bands in the genre that can still be called truly satanic. Not satanic in the sense of the non-existent baby-sacrificing cult of devil worshippers you only see in Hollywood movies, nor the libertarian Ayn Rand-worshipping hippies led by the inspirational though deceased stand-up comedian Anton LaVey. No: satanic as in the purposeful application of aesthetic values to ‘evil’, without forgetting that ‘evil’ is an exceptionally dynamic concept that largely depends on perspective. It is no wonder, then, that Famine, at the start of the demo version of “Retour de Flamme” shouted the words “Diabolus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tuo!” (“May the devil be with you, and your whole spirit!”), words that would later be repeated in “Laus Tibi Domine” and the album version of “Phalènes et pestilence – Salvatrice averse”. Peste Noire is possessed music. All things dirty, unwanted, despised and decayed come floating to the surface on this record, not unlike an ulcerous plague bile (no pun intended). The aforementioned Antonin Artaud said not without reason that curing a disease is a crime. And for this and many other reasons, I hope that this Plague will drag a trail of death and decay across Europe for many years to come.
Laudate, pueri, Dominum!
Famine – vocals, guitars, tambourine, compositions/lyrics
Winterhalter – drums, tambourine
Indria – bass guitar
Neige – rhythm guitar on and composition of “La césarienne”, organ
Audrey S. – backing vocals
1. L’Envol du Grabataire (Ode à Famine) (3:42)
2. Chute pour une culbute (3:36)
3. La Fin del Secle (4:51)
4. D’un vilain (2:46)
5. Condamné a la pondaison (7:18)
6. La césarienne (3:22)
7. Maleiçon (6:10)
8. Amour ne m’amoit ne je li (3:04)
9. Psaume IV (2:57)
10. Extrait radiophonique d’Antonin Artaud (0:57)
11. Folkfuck Folie (4:37)
12. Paysage Mauvais (5:01)
Total running time: 48:29
Source of (some of) the pictures: http://transcendentalcreations.com/
 As is, for example, the case with deluded hipsters like that wannabe nerd (yes, you’ll probably need to take a moment before you can grasp this concept) that does theneedledrop, worrying about the lyrics of a band like Peste Noire not being politically correct enough. Something clearly flew over your head somewhere, so go away.
 “Out of my head / They have made a cell, a grotto / In which crimes, neuroses, black thoughts / Jump around like toads / Abound! / My memory is tagged by beatings and droppings, / My present devoured / By depression.”
– Spaced out text to make the review more readable