Pensées Nocturnes - _Nom d'une Pipe!_
(Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
Sometimes black metal is only an excuse for a band to be playing an altogether different musical style. But then again, Pensées Nocturnes's music is different than most styles and genres out there -- so polarized and wonderful, strange and estranged, sweet and sour, beautiful and decadent -- that it really overshadows anything within its perimeter.

Albums such as _Nom d'une Pipe!_ (a curse of sorts used to express extreme discomfort, if you don't mind my French...) remind me why I love this kind of music; it's not the metal that I love -- it's the darkness emanating from the sounds, something that absurdly (as well as paradoxically) is more often than not absent from those so-called black metal bands out there.

Bands such as Pensées Nocturnes, like so very few and select, use (black) metal only as an excuse, a spice, for their otherworldly show of magic and lights. That's why I adore Arcturus' _La Masquerade Infernale_ so much, and that's why I'm still in awe whenever Shub Niggurath's _Les Morts Vont Vite_ LP occasionally spins on my old and battered record player. You see, it's not the metal I'm embracing, it's the dark, foul, sweet decadence. I'll gladly take Devil Doll any day over any of your "darkest" black metal albums. You want morbidity and decay? Show me what you've got and I'll hit you with Bauhaus' _Mask_ or _In the Flat Field_. Now, that's dark and twisted!

But I digress (or do I?); _Nom d'une Pipe!_ is a fucking experience, if there ever was one. Forget about the outlandishly beautiful packaging and artwork of the album, and imagine you're in a darkly lit French bar; the air heavy with smoke and alcohol fumes and the sweet stench of coitus and you're watching, mesmerized, half intoxicated (if not by the alcohol than surely by the music), a bizarre and wonderful cabaret show, so wild and odd and degenerate, a show only the French can deliver, with their quasi-aristocratic flairs and their foul true nature, hidden just beneath their pompous garments. Ha! what a show that must be!

So is this recording, a single madman's brain child (kudos to you, Vaerohn! You are a fucking genius, sir!); an excursion through soundscapes so sweet they become bitter; through landscapes so beautifully unnatural, they become monstrous; a band of wind instruments (saxophone à la John Zorn), an accordion that has never sounded so sexy and alluring, a female vocalist lending her divine throat occasionally, and some orchestral, neoclassical pieces, all play a role in this murky muck cabaret.

Sure, an occasional, sporadic guitar distortion will be heard, some harsher types of vocals will be doing a guest appearance, and to even a lesser extent a couple of blast beats will pop up just to remind us that he, Vaerohn, is pretty much still a metalhead, a black metal musician who has probably just delivered his least metallic work to date but undoubtedly his most accomplished one; a musical endeavour that is easily on par with any modern musical masterpiece out there. This album is highly recommended through and through.


(article published 12/5/2013)

5/2/2010 S Martin 7.5 Pensées Nocturnes - Vacuum
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