DECLINE OF THE I
Hands up who wants to hear DJ scratches in their black metal! Oh, no one? Me neither, actually, and it is only a brief moment. But, despite being anchored in black metal, Decline of the I is trying to push boundaries by incorporating influences such as industrial and electro. I remember when every metal band in the 90s released remixes as B-Sides to their singles. It was, and remains, a terrible idea. And, while this is far from the sounds of a four-to-the-floor beat plastered over some chuggy riffing, the elements that have been added offer nothing of substance to the songs; they're merely reminders that progression, something unique, is being attempted. They are also so infrequently used that it seems like afterthoughts, when something a bit bolder may have worked better. I probably still wouldn't have enjoyed it, but I may have applauded their audacity.
'Hurlements en faveur de FKM' ('Howling for FKM'), which I hope isn't an ode to elastomers, descends into what can be best described as ‘Dino Cazares plays black metal’. It sounds so horribly dated. This genre can be pushed into Avant Garde territory; Hail Spirit Noir, for example, take the blueprint for black metal and infuse it with nods to psychedelia and jazz. But, I'm left feeling very ambivalent about this album. The pure post-black metal stuff is rather tasty, and there are some great darkly melodic guitar lines. But when the electronics pop up, it serves only to snap me out of the moment. However infrequently it happens.
This is apparently the final part of a trilogy inspired by the works of philosopher and surgeon Henri Laborit. Without access to lyrics, I honestly can't say if this is successful or not, or even what that means; he was supposedly a pioneer in mental health treatment. It's a curious, but interesting, choice of subject matter. And, while I can't possibly interpret the lyrics (my French is limited to rude words), I applaud the bravery in devoting a trilogy of albums to such a subject. In fact, if anything does stand out as exemplary on this album it is the vocal delivery. There is a passion conveyed that is so rare in metal these days (listen to any current death or black metal and there is a distinct lack of emotion in a frightening majority of it). Main man "A" (?) is a skilled musician, and certainly sounds pissed-off and disturbed for much of the run time. Special mention, too, should go to closing track, 'Je pense donc je fuis' which, although starting off with some industrial nonsense, does develop quite quickly into an epic blast, with a rather beautiful ending.
So, it's not quite as batshit crazy as Anaal Nathrakh, nor as trippy as Hail Spirit Noir, but there is merit in a lot of this. I just wish the focus was on the elements which work, and not the quasi-industrial stuff.
Review by Steve Cowan
27th July 2018
2) Enslaved by Existence
3) Organless Body
4) Hurlements en Faveur de FKM
5) Negentropy (Fertility Sovereign)
6) Je Pense Donce Je Fuis
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"The pure post-black metal stuff is rather tasty, and there are some great darkly melodic guitar lines."