Pénitence Onirique – Nature Morte
Location: Chartres, Centre-Val de Loire
Genre: Black Metal
Themes: Alchemy, Esoterica, Philosophy, Self-discovery
Label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions
Let’s start off with a confession, I love French black metal. I like the atmosphere, the language (when used in Black Metal) and overall the scene as a whole. One of my favourite black metal albums of all time is the French band Gorgon’s – The Lady Rides a Black Horse. That album is just a masterpiece, and if you ask me, every self-proclaimed black metal fan should listen to it at least once in their lifetime.
So when we received a promo for a new album with French origins, I dove right in. After several spins, I feel like I’m ready to share my thoughts with all of you. I do have to make a small second confession, I was not familiar with the previous work of Pénitence Onirique., as this is their third full album. They previously put out “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” in 2016 and “Vestige” in 2019. So I went in blind when approaching this third full length of theirs.
Let’s dive in; what can you expect when you listen to this album for the first time? Their third outing contains 7 new tracks with a run time of almost 46 minutes, which is a decent amount of time, not too long for my short attention span.
Music wise, the album is well put together, the instruments sound clear, and the vocals are mixed in excellent as well. You can hear they put a lot of time and effort in to this new instalment and it shows. One of the highlights on the album are the drums, they have a new drummer who goes by the name Iendar as of this year, and since I haven’t listened to the other albums I can’t compare, but the drums are really on point and sound great, and when they go off, they just keep going relentlessly.
Another thing they do very well is creating an overall atmosphere. According to the band themselves, it’s a concept album about, and I quote “The concept is a fictionalised interpretation of René Girard’s work on mimetic desire, the scapegoat and ritual sacrifice.” Gigard’s main contribution to philosophy was within the realms of the psychology of desire. Girard said that human desire works similarly to other desires, rather than as a spontaneous result of human individuality, as many theories of psychology had debated earlier.
Since there are no lyrics available it’s hard to get a good grasp on any more in-depth meaning of their concept, but I do get a feeling that it’s a story you are listening too, so even if you don’t understand the lyrics they still bring that sense of being on a journey with them.
To give you a quick speed run of what the general vibe and style this album is about, I would recommend 2 songs, the first one is the third track of the album, the title track “Nature Morte”. It has a nice build-up and the vocals are great and also contribute to the atmosphere on this track in particular and the whole of the album in general. After a few minutes, the drums kick in, and they sound furious, brings an extra punch when mixed with the vocals, this sounds great. The rest of the song just keeps going, and it’s pretty hard to keep your head still when listening to this track, make sure you have enough length on your cord if you’re listening on headphones…
The sixth track “Pharmakos” has a more middle eastern sound to it in the build up, but when it goes, it GOES. Buckle up before you blast this one on your stereo. I could dwell further into the weeds, but I rather you listen for yourself with an open mind.
The album is available on different streaming platforms, so after done reading this interview, you have no excuses for not checking it out, and if you like it, please support the artist however you see fit.
French Black Metal, I love it that’s clear, are all the black metal bands from France good? No of course not, but this band surprised me with a great album. If you are into melodic black metal, you really should give this a try, and I’m excited about what the future hold for this French blackened horde.
I rate this album an 8/10
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