Fleurety - _Department of Apocalyptic Affairs_
(Supernal Music, 2000)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Supernal Music's rather hilarious "warning about Fleurety" (i.e. the release info and band biography), "signed" by Norwegian trade and tourism authorities, tells you about these "traitors" to "true black metal" whose music is all "avant garde" instead of "fast and icy". What it also tells you is that _Department of Apocalyptic Affairs_ features a lot more than the two actual band members, and the list is impressive: Maniac, Hellhammer, Garm, Sverd, Carl Michael and ten others (not all of them necessarily related to the metal scene). In fact, in the list you will find members of bands such as Ulver, Arcturus, Dodheimsgard and Beyond Dawn, all of whom are hardly rooted in the metal scene at all anymore nowadays. That is the case of Fleurety as well, and _Department of Apocalyptic Affairs_ is about as difficult to squeeze into a genre pigeonhole as I've ever found with a release on a metal label. Despite the aforementioned promotional material having helped prepare me and get me in the mood for the musical experiments and (hopefully) entertaining creativity to come, I was put off by the cheerful, bouncy start of _DoAA_'s opening track. This was fortunately not going to be the case for the rest of the record, however, and things soon got better. Using the massive number of guests that I mentioned before (also including, for instance, a saxophone player and female vocalists), Fleurety keep things remarkably unpredictable if you pay attention to detail. Opting for a somewhat subdued sound instead of all-out aggression, the Norwegian duo challenges (and often seems to tease) the listener throughout the record. Following Maniac's appearance on third track "Shotgun Blast", the album enters what I perceive as its finest stage: the following three tracks, most of which are sung with female vocals ("Last-Minute Lies" also features Garm's guest appearance). A rather Portishead-like song then follows before a "radio edit" version of second track "Face in a Fever" closes _DoAA_. Having generally enjoyed the record, I still cannot say it really enthralled me despite all the interesting experimentation going on -- some of the music could have been more emotionally charged and sometimes the experimentation seems to harm the consistency of the album itself somewhat. Nevertheless, _DoAA_ is an interesting and enjoyable album from a creative duo that refuses to conform to any standards.
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