Peste Noire

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Peste Noire
Peste Noire at Betong (Oslo, Norway) on 19 January 2008.
Peste Noire at Betong (Oslo, Norway) on 19 January 2008.
Background information
OriginAvignon, France
GenresBlack metal
Years active2000 – present
LabelsLa mesnie Herlequin, Drakkar Productions, De Profundis éditions, Northern Heritage Records, Militant Zone
MembersFamine
Yurii
Baal
Past membersArgoth
Neige
Winterhalter
Andy Julia
Indria
Ardraos
Sainte Audrey-Yolande de la Molteverge
Spellgoth

Peste Noire are a French black metal band from La Chaise-Dieu, France. The band was formed by "La sale Famine de Valfunde" (Ludovic Faure),[1] also known simply as "Famine", in 2000.[2] Their music uses standard black metal elements mixed with traditional Gallic instrumentation, and influences from genres like punk and electronic music. The band is sometimes referred to as P.N. or K.P.N (Kommando Peste Noire).

The band is frequently grouped together with the French National Socialist black metal (NSBM) scene[3][4] though Famine prefers to characterize himself and his project's ideology as fascism rather than Nazism.[4]

Band history[edit]

Peste Noire was created by La sale Famine de Valfunde (i.e. "The filthy Famine of Valfunde") in Avignon in 2000, initially under the name Dor Daedeloth. Neige (Alcest), who played in the band's first eight years of existence, joined him on drums.[5] Together they crafted four demos and one split demo tape. Argoth, a bass player also member of early Alcest fame, helped up to the 2002 "Mémoire Païenne" split with fellow French NSBM band Sombre Chemin.[6] The band was supposed to release an album entitled Les Salisseurs de Lumière around 2005 and early 2006 through Drakkar Productions, but Famine was not satisfied with the production and decided to cancel the release.

In 2006, Famine hired new members Winterhalter (drums) and Indria (bass) to assist with La Sanie des siècles – Panégyrique de la dégénérescence, produced by French label De profundis éditions in August 2006.[7][8] The music on their first effort was mostly melodic and sorrowful, turning at times towards a more aggressive and chaotic sound within lengthy and elaborate song structures. With hymns such as "Dueil Angoisseus", "Spleen", or "Le Mort Joyeux", the record caused a stir in the underground black metal scene. It helped establish the band on an international level.[9]

De profundis éditions[7] produced Peste Noire's second album Folkfuck Folie, released in June 2007. The lyrics can seem autobiographical and deal with apocalyptic themes, the triumph of the body over the mind, barbarism and wartime poetry, the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases, and mental disorder and feature a deliberately poor production quality, and the music was much more chaotic, morose and dissonant so as to, as Famine described; "scare off trendies" who praised the band's debut album.[10]

In March 2009, Peste Noire released their third album Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor ("Ballad against the enemies of France") with a new line-up.[2] The production was kept lo-fi and raw on purpose and features elements of post-punk, folk and traditional militant hymns and ballads, and it was also the band's first album with overtly nationalistic lyrics, featuring a French military march derived from "Warszawianka" (1905) called "Les hussards de Bercheny" and the band's interpretation of a 1909 chant called "La France Bouge" written for the Camelots du Roi, the violent youth organization of the French Far-right and Monarchist counter-revolutionary movement Action Française.[11][12][2]

Having relocated to Auvergne, Famine created his own label, La mesnie Herlequin, in May 2011 to release the band's fourth release[13] L'Ordure à l'état Pur ("The pure essence of garbage").[14] The album booklet contains anti-semitic, anti-feminist and anti-immigration caricatures and symbolism.[15] It has stylistic influences from several genres, both old and modern mixed with the band's signature style of black metal, including Eurobeat, traditional Gallic music, French folk, Burlesque and Cabaret music, Electro-industrial and Hardcore punk, as well as featuring samples of news reports, BDSM orgies and riots.[16][17][18] The album was widely praised for being so musically dynamic and eccentric.

A Canadian division of La mesnie Herlequin called "LMH Amérique" was created by Transcendental Creations in association with the band, it was active in 2011 but the association was ended by Famine in 2013 due to wholesale overpricing on LMH Amérique's part, as well as withholding owed royalties. All Peste Noire material and merchandise produced by Transcendental Creations is now considered bootleg by the band.

The band's fifth album, self-titled as Peste Noire, was released in June 2013 on their own label. It was entirely composed, recorded and mixed by Famine and new drummer Ardraos. The album theme is anti-urban and inspired by local history, folklore and legends, and contains Oi! influences. The album featured guest vocals by Roman Saenko of Drudkh and Hate Forest fame, Ravenlord and Melkor of the controversial Swedish band Woods of Infinity, and Lord Arawn from Sacrificia Mortuorum[19]

La Chaise-Dyable, the band's sixth album, was recorded at La mesnie Herlequin and released in 2015, musically the album sees the band continue the style and influences featured in the previous self-titled album and the lyrics, according to Famine deal with countryside boredom and monotony, anarchism and the region of La Chaise-Dieu.[20][21][22] In a first for the group, the second version of the song "Dans ma nuit" was the subject of a professional music video directed by Anaon Productions, who also produced a documentary for the band mainly about the album's production but also about the band's concept and views.[23] It was around this time that Famine began openly showing his support to the Azov battalion in Ukraine. Another music video was made in 2017 for the song "Le dernier putsch", it featured М8Л8ТХ founder and frontman Alexey Levkin who also helped co-produce the video with his label Militant Zone, as well as organize a private release screening of the video for both bands, their fans and invited guests like Finnish NSBM band Goatmoon.

The band signed with the Ukrainian NSBM label[3] Militant Zone in 2015 after the release of La Chaise-Dyable to distribute their next album, in collaboration with their own label La mesnie Herlequin.

In October 2016, Peste Noire was taken off of the concert schedule of Drohende Schatten's Sinister Howling V Festival in Speyer, Germany. Norwegian band One Tail One Head replaced them. Peste Noire was forced off the black metal festival by officials of the city of Speyer. This would have been Peste Noire's first festival performance in ten years.[24][25] German politician Katrin Werner wrote an open letter to Hansjörg Eger, Mayor of Speyer, warning that Peste Noire was planning to perform somewhere nearby, but one day earlier. Werner pointed out the connections between Peste Noire and neo-Nazi symbols or music, describing the logo of Peste Noire as the same skull and crossbones as the American white supremacist group White Aryan Resistance, and she said that the label Northern Heritage had published a collaboration between Peste Noire and the Finnish band Horna which has been connected to neo-Nazi black metal bands through their record label. Werner said that Famine has been photographed in front of Nazi backgrounds, and that Famine has used the Nazi salute.[26]

The band released their seventh studio album Peste Noire – Split – Peste Noire on 14 December 2018. The cover image was criticized in reviews for being openly racist, with Famine dressed in an old KKK hood, holding a rope around an African-American's neck (the African-American is also Famine but in blackface make up) about to be lynched.[27] The album featured Spellgoth from Horna and Baptism fame as a session keyboardist, their second direct collaboration with Alexey Levkin from М8Л8ТХ who performed session additional vocals on the track "Raid éclair", and the last participation of Ardraos who left the band after completing recording drums, he was replaced by Ukrainian drummer Baal shortly after, М8Л8ТХ bassist Yurii also joined the band. The album is presented as a sort of "split" between "traditional" Peste Noire and Hardcore rap and Trap music which they refer to as "degenerate music." The album was heavily panned by fans, critics, and others for its openly racist lyrics and racist nature as a whole.

On May 15th, 2021 Famine announced that a new Peste Noire album titled Le retour des pastoureaux would be released on September on vinyl and CD exclusively through La mesnie Herlequin, a live acoustic 12" EP recorded in Kiev during Asgardsrei 2018, was also announced and released on November, again exclusively through the band's label. Le retour des pastoureaux was also uploaded by Famine on the official La mesnie Herlequin YouTube account on September 3rd. On May 25th, 2021 Famine was found guilty for the July 12, 2018 assault of a man inside a bar, the plaintiff was hospitalized due to a broken jaw and was reportedly suffering from PTSD. Famine fled to Ukraine afterwards where he stayed with his associates from Militant Zone until September 2020, upon his return to France he was subsequently arrested. He received a six months suspended prison sentence, which will be effective for 5 years, plus a fine of 3000 euros pending further adjustment for the victim's expenses, another man from the same incident also filed an assault complaint against Famine for a broken nose, though Famine denies having hit him.[28]

Miscellaneous recordings, releases and guest appearances[edit]

In April 2007 the Finnish label Northern Heritage,[29] owned by controversial Black Metal and right wing-associated artist Mikko Aspa, released PN's Lorraine Rehearsal 12" EP. The EP featured "rehearsal" songs recorded in Lorraine from August 2006.[30] A limited tape edition was also released on Roman Saenko (Hate Forest, Drudkh)'s label Night Birds Records in 2009.

At the same period, Famine, under his own name Valfunde, released a split 7" EP with Amesoeurs produced by De profundis éditions[7] in November 2007, containing unreleased songs, recorded in low quality on purpose.[31] Famine quickly dropped the idea of Valfunde as a side-project. Instead, Famine used the post-punk ideas he had for Valfunde on Peste Noire's third album Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor (2009).

A self-released double protape box Mors orbis terrarum containing all tracks from the early, sold out, demo tapes was released in 2007, and later re-released in a vinyl edition. A split 7" EP with controversial Finnish band Horna was also released in 2007 through Debemur Morti Productions.

La Sanie des siècles was repressed by De profundis éditions[7] and Transcendental Creations[32] on CD in August 2008. A vinyl version of the album was co-produced by De profundis éditions and Finnish label Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions in August 2009. The tape version was produced in 2013 by Night Birds Records in collaboration with Todestrieb records.

A tape version of Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor was released in March 2009 by the label Tour de Garde from Quebec.[33]

A limited vinyl version of Folkfuck Folie co-produced by Northern Heritage and De profundis éditions was released in April 2010. A limited tape edition of Folkfuck Folie was also released on Roman Saenko's Night Birds Records at the same time. On that same year Famine wrote the lyrics of one song for Canadian black metal band Akitsa's fourth album Au crépuscule de l'espérance.

Famine also collaborated with fellow French black metal band Sale Freux twice; doing guest vocals for their albums La mélancolie des pennes; released in December 2011, and L'exil; released in May 2012 by Famine's own label La mesnie Herlequin.

In April 2012, La mesnie Herlequin released Les démos, a double CD boxset containing all the Peste Noire demos (all the songs recorded between 2001 and 2005), including the Valfunde tracks.[34]

In August 2012, La mesnie Herlequin repressed Peste Noire's third album Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor on CD with new artwork.[35] The first pressing had been released by De profundis éditions in March 2009.

In September 2013, Famine was featured on Swedish band Shining's 8 ½ – Feberdrömmar I Vaket Tillstånd album. He sang on "Terres des Anonymes", a rerecording of "Fields of Faceless" (from "III – Angst – Självdestruktivitetens emissarie") with French lyrics.[36]

In July 2014 a collaborative split 12-inch LP was recorded with Parisian group Diapsiquir, titled Rats des Villes VS Rats des Champs, released by La mesnie Herlequin. Peste Noire took the famous poem "Le rat de ville et le rat des champs" by Jean de La Fontaine as its main inspiration behind the split's title.[37][4] in December of the same year, Famine appeared as a guest vocalist for then Peste Noire drummer Ardraos' band Sühnopfer second album Offertoire.

In 2015 Famine and Sün of NSBM band Aktion Totenkopf formed Vouïvre after a trip to Paris. The band also features former Peste Noire drummer Ardraos and keyboardist HGH also of Aktion Totenkopf and Elitism (also a NSBM band). They recorded the 12" EP Au gouffre which was released on 26 September 2017 through La mesnie Herlequin. It features guest vocals by Anthony Mignoni aka Xaphan of Seigneur Voland, another well known band from the French NSBM scene. Ardraos and Famine left Vouïvre after the release of the EP.

Famine was featured as a guest vocalist for 2 songs on the fourth М8Л8ТХ album Reconquista, which was released on 14 December 2018 by Militant Zone.

Themes and politics[edit]

In the band's early days, Famine described his beliefs and the band's ideology as a fusion of nationalism and satanism,[38] or; "Pan-European Satanism" as he called it, and the band's lyrics focused primarily on French nationalism and the works of famed French poets like Charles Baudelaire and Antonin Artaud. However, in later years the band began focusing on themes of urban and modern decadence, French countrysides and hedonism while maintaining their Nationalist and Anarchist ideology along with progressively explicit racist lyrics, and overt white power and ethnonationalist themes.

Peste Noire has become closely associated with the Ukrainian National Socialist scene and Famine is openly supportive of the Far-right group the Azov Battalion,[3] Famine has also been involved with Social Bastion and shown support to groups like GUD and CasaPound.

Exposure[edit]

Peste Noire lays claim to its underground status by choice, not by accident. The group has always signed with small independent labels which exist on the periphery of the commercial mainstream circuit; a circuit which is incompatible with the ideology of black metal, according to Famine. In 2011 Famine pushed this approach even further by creating his own label and studio, La mesnie Herlequin, located in La Chaise-Dieu, in order to have complete control over the production, recording and distribution of his work, and to dispense with all the middlemen that stood between its creation and sale.[39]

Concerts[edit]

Peste Noire in Lyon's Hall on 23 June 2007

The band became infamous for their chaotic and wild concerts in their homeland of France and various underground events throughout Europe, one particular concert in Canada stirred conflict between the local Antifas and Far-right sympathizers of the band. However, Peste Noire's live activities became less frequent, primarily because of boycotts, bans and cancellations; most notably the band was dropped from the 2017 edition of Blasfest in Bergen, Norway amidst protest from Norwegian Antifascist groups, one of their last and most noteworthy live performance in a major festival was on Steelfest 2017 in Finland.

Recently, Peste Noire has mostly played live on the neo-Nazi Asgardsrei festival, having performed three years in a row, from 2016 to 2018, there. P. N. have strong connections and projects with Militant Zone, the organizers of the festival.[40][41][3]

Members[edit]

Current
Former
  • Neige (Stéphane Paut) – drums (2001–2005), bass guitar (2005–2009), vocals (2006–2007), guitar (2007–2008),
  • Argoth – bass guitar (2001–2002)
  • Winterhalter (Jean Deflandre) – drums (2006–2008)
  • Indria Saray – bass guitar (2006–2008, 2011–2012)
  • Andy Julia – drums (2009)
  • Audrey Sylvain – vocals, Hammond organ, piano (2009–2016)
  • Vicomte Chtedire de Kroumpadis (A. M.) – drums (2011-2012)
  • Ardraos (Florian Denis) – accordion, drums (2012–2018)
  • Spellgoth (Tuomas Rytkönen) – keyboards (2018)
Live
  • Snorr le Porc – guitars (2016–present)
Former live
  • Ashcariot (Marc) – bass guitar (2016–2017)
  • Björn – guitars (2016–2017)

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
EP
  • Lorraine Rehearsal (vinyl) (2007)
  • Acoustic live, Kiev (2021)
Split albums
  • Mémoire Païenne (split with Sombre Chemin) (2002)
  • Horna/Peste Noire (split with Horna) (2007)
  • Rats des Villes VS Rats des Champs (split with Diapsiquir) (2014)
Compilations
  • Mors orbis terrarum (2007)
  • Les démos (2012)
Demos
  • Aryan Supremacy (2001)
  • Macabre transcendance... (2002)
  • Phalènes et pestilence – Salvatrice averse (2003)
  • Phalènes et pestilence (2005)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ukraine: Wie ein rechtsextremes Freiwilligenregiment mit Black Metal Nachwuchs rekrutiert". Belltower.news. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Interview with La Sale Famine de Valfunde for the American webzine Diabolical Conquest in August 2009". Diabolicalconquest.com. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d "Militant Right-Wing Extremism in Putin’s Russia: Legacies, Forms and Threats" by Miroslav Mareš, Martin Laryš, Jan Holzer. Routledge, 2018
  4. ^ a b c "Jean, Interview with La sale Famine de Valfunde translated in English, Cercle non conforme: Metapolitical Nationalist network, France". Lamesnieherlequin.com. 20 February 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  5. ^ Neige declared: "I was only a guest in [Peste Noire] as I played drums for him [Famine], but I did/do not share his views at all. Don't even ask me about the concept behind [Peste Noire], it is very complex. It was basically the exact opposite of Alcest: love for evil, but in a real way." "Mystery Flame, Interview with Neige of Alcest". Avantgarde-metal.com. 17 January 2011. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  6. ^ Famine (then known as Aegnor/Feu Cruel) would also be the lead guitarist on Alcest's first demo tape "Tristesse Hivernale" released in 2001 through Drakkar Productions in which he wrote the main riff of the song "La forêt de Cristal".
  7. ^ a b c d "Organisation Rosenkrantz". Rosenkrantz.fr. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  8. ^ Its title roughly translates as "The sanies of the centuries – Ode to degeneration", "sanies" being "a thin greenish foul-smelling discharge from a wound, ulcer, etc., containing pus and blood" according to the Collins English Dictionary
  9. ^ "The Metal Crypt - Review of Peste Noire - La Sanie des Siècles - Panégyrique de la Dégénérescence". Metalcrypt.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Brett Buckle, The Metal Crypt, Peste Noire: Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor, 13 April 2009
  12. ^ "Peste Noire - L'Ordure a l'etat Pur | ThisIsNotAScene". Thisisnotascene.com. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  13. ^ Chris, The Metal Observer, Peste Noire: L'Ordure à l'état Pur, 8 February 2012
  14. ^ "CoC : Peste Noire - L'Ordure à l'État Pur : Review". Chroniclesofchaos.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  15. ^ "SwornToTheBlack, Global Domination, Peste Noire: L'Ordure à l'état Pur, 27 March 2011". Archived from the original on 6 April 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Peste Noire - L'Ordure à l'État Pur (2011)". Infernalmasquerade.com. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  17. ^ "review - Metal Storm". Metalstorm.net. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  18. ^ "RingMaster, Adequacy.net, Peste Noire: L'Ordure à l'état Pur, 14 June 2011". Adequacy.net. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  19. ^ Karagiannidis, Panagiotis (7 September 2013). "Peste Noire – Peste Noire". Metalpaths.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  20. ^ "La Chaise-Dyable by Peste Noire". Teenink.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  21. ^ "la chaise-dyable review". Blackivorytower.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Metal Maniac". Metal-maniac.com. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Anaon Productions > Peste Noire - Dans ma nuit > Watch the music video". Anaon.fr. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Im Dunkeln - Speyer". Rheinpfalz.de. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Deux rassemblements National-Socialist Black Metal : 29 octobre en Limousin et 28 janvier en Rhones Alpes avec Peste Noire". Rebellyon.info. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  26. ^ [2][dead link]
  27. ^ Album cover: Peste Noire/Peste Noire "split" album
  28. ^ "Christophe-Cécil Garnier, Famine, star du black métal et militant néonazi". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  29. ^ "Northern Heritage". Cfprod.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  30. ^ "Chris Dragga, Leviatan Magazine, Peste Noire: Lorraine Rehearsal, 23 February 2008". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  31. ^ Liner notes of the Valfunde/Amesoeurs split 7" EP, De profundis éditions, France, November 2007
  32. ^ "大好評 esola.アウトレット激安入荷!品質保障!全品送料無料!インテリア・日用雑貨, カテゴリ別 アウトレット専門知識力には絶対の自信あり!". Transcendentalcreations.com. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Tour de Garde - Pure underground plague". T-d-g.net. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  34. ^ "La mesnie Herlequin news, 4 April 2012". Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  35. ^ "La mesnie Herlequin news, 10 August 2012". Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  36. ^ "Dark essence records news, 8 August 2013". Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  37. ^ "Metal Maniac". Metal-maniac.com. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  38. ^ Masciandaro, Nicola (2010). Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium 1. Glossator. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-4505-7216-3.
  39. ^ "KPN-V Interview, Deformed and Horrible on the One Hand, Buffoon-esque on the Other, 4 March 2013". Archived from the original on 17 January 2014.
  40. ^ [3][dead link]
  41. ^ "Europas NSBM-Szene sammelt sich in Kiew | Blick nach Rechts". Bnr.de. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2020.