Epectase – Nécroses
Release Date: 18/11/22
Running Time: 44:24
Review by Dark Juan
Having such a misanthropic personality as your favourite ersatz rock hack does, it really does make you realise the value of friends who look beyond the impenetrable wall of sarcasm and withering hate you publicly display. They are few in number, but very dear to me and understand that sometimes there will be years between communications, yet when you actually do get in touch it is like you have never been separated. These are precious times indeed and it has been a while since I wrote to you all out there about the importance of friends – or, as I like to characterize them, the people who you choose to be your extended family simply because they are as fucked in the head as you are. Whatever the reason, friends are a resource beyond value, and true friends will always be a bulwark (rhymes with bollock. I am SUCH a child) behind which you can rest or recuperate or fight. However, you should not let yourself be fucked with. A true friend will never fuck with you, or if they are, they are joking. They will not willingly hurt or betray you. Hence, I choose to keep my circle small and the majority of my thoughts to myself. Life is easier that way. Hell, this is rather more introspective than usual and also rather more serious and we can’t be having that, can we?
Tits. Fanny. Massive bouncy bollocks. Flange. Mudflaps. Gristle missile. One-eyed trouser snake. Corned beef curtains. Baby gravy. Man fat. Punched lasagna.
That feels better.
If you regularly read the stream of consciousness wank I write, you’ll know I am something of a champion of the French Metal scene (it has given us P.H.O.B.O.S, Rostres, and the clearly dangerously unstable Esoctrilihum among others) having lived there and found it an extremely young yet vibrant scene, chock full of grand folk and superb, out-there music that has a curiously un-Gallic propensity for exploration of styles and for the amalgamation of same and it is with considerable interest I bring you my latest thoughts about the latest band from those shores that I am currently listening to. Yes, on the spinning splatter platter today I am experiencing the stylings of Epectase. I say experiencing because the nearest translation I can think of and having, because my French is serviceable but by no means fluent, consulted a couple of online translators, Epectase appears to mean orgasm or climax. Unless it is Romanian, then it means expected. I’m not sure where this sentence is going, so I am going to start a new paragraph and forget this one ever existed.
The album (which has four tracks of very considerable runtimes) opens with ‘V.I.T.R.I.O.L’, which I believe is NOT a paean to the grizzled frontman of Anaal Nathrakh, and it is a thing of shapeshifting wonder, as it starts and flows with simple Krautrock electronics and builds ever so slowly into the kind of technical Black Metal that Emperor did so well in the latter stages of their career, mixed with a kind of martial Industrial tempo, vocalist Avitus (probably not his real name) beginning with an engaging, slightly accented croon over said swishy, swoopy electronics (not unlike the kind of atmosphere DikMik used to evoke with his electronics in Hawkwind, it has to be said) and building up to the kind of razor-throated screaming that sends armadas of bats crashing into trees because it has fucked up their radar…
This is a feature of the whole record and the utter confusion that it wreaks upon the listener is pretty fucking exciting, as you have no bloody idea where the music is going next. Album closer ‘Necrose’ itself takes you from Doom, to Shoegaze, to Black Metal (both orchestral and primal), to Mr. Bungle-esque weird to fuck-knows-where-else but it all flows. It is not a disjointed mess which just crashes influences into each other and hopes the wreckage is still driveable, it’s analogous to an exquisitely crafted hot rod with Chevy LS6 V8 power on the chassis of a 1923 Model A Ford, driving through a 1980’s Buick back axle. It is the sum of the parts that makes it complete, not the parts themselves.
The second song is called ‘Confusion’ and opens with a movement of quite splendid technical Black Metal. Avitus flays his throat in classic fashion, and you think you know exactly how this song is going to flow, don’t you? A straight-ahead blast through the frosty, winter forests of BM appears to be on the cards with the drummer dying of fatigue because of the speed of his double bass drumming? That’s the first four minutes or so of this THIRTEEN-minute piece taken care of… A kind of swishing, swooping electronic backbone then takes over some very intricate, almost Baron Crane-like guitar work and the tempo slows down for a bit of light on the other side of the black, until six minutes have passed and then Epectase hit the button marked “Math Metal” and Avitus howls his little French heart out over hyper complicated guitar work, then there’s a little solo and then we slow down to Drone speed and baritone vocals. Then the band starts channelling classic Darkthrone, but with a viable production. We are still only nine minutes in and then the tempo slowly picks up the pace until the drummer starts with the double bass drumming again. It’s so fucking eclectic and Epectase have managed to totally fuck up my album of the year list. This is the fourth time a band has done this to me in the past two months and I am becoming aggrieved about it.
Considering that this album is the result of COVID lockdown recordings, the production job is actually reasonably good. It has a nasty, waspish, metallic quality that suits the razor wire music pretty well, even though the drums sound like they were recorded on some kind of Radio Shack battery operated tape recorder and sent through the post on a C-90 cassette to the studio to be mastered and mixed. However, this is a minor gripe as a certain amount of DIY ethos makes a proper sounding Black Metal record, and at least I can hear the drums and the tinware which is not normally the case on BM albums. The vocals are clear and savage and easily discerned among the absolute tumult of sound that Epectase creates, and all in all it’s a decent job that also rewards repeated listens because there are some phenomenal little flourishes and touches in the music that are not apparent on your first run through. I don’t mind telling you, friends, this is the first Black Metal record I have listened to in months that has excited me, as opposed to just merely finding it enjoyable.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan) awards Epectase 10/10 for a jaw-droppingly immense album that is epic in every sense of the word.
Avitus – Vocals
Vague – All instruments, composition, recording, mixing
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