The world owes a lot to French black metal, even if we don’t always realize it. I’ve been lucky to be able to look behind the curtain and see a lot more of what really goes in behind the scenes. From my peek through the looking glass, I can tell you that Norway might be seen as the birth black of modern black metal, but France is where it became what it is today. In the mainstream you have incredibly talented bands like Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, and Peste Noir, that stop the metal world in its tracks every time they release a new album, but you also have the underground, the network of gutter rats that make music because it’s all they know how to do. They don’t get the same attention as their mainstream counterparts but they are no less talented, angry, and creative. The French underground as become one of my favorite stopping ground for new, nasty, and exciting black metal. Woest, my newest find, deserves to be in the conversation. They aren’t as raw as Croc Noir, but what they lack in raw black metal power, they more than make up for in genre blending talent. La fin de l’ère sauvage mixes the best of black metal, industrial music, and doom to create something that I’ve not heard elsewhere.
La fin de l’ère sauvage blends three different kinds of music together and does it well. Often my criticisms (or suggestions as I would prefer to think of them) are that when bands try to blend so much together they end up doing none of the genres well, they don’t stand out. Not so with Woest. They blend all three with precise timing and production. While the music itself is not groundbreaking or otherwise outstanding, the way they craft it makes it stand out. They took three rather unremarkable pieces of clay and managed to sculpt and carve the pieces into something good.
The first time I listened to the album I thought the mix of industrial with black and doom was an odd choice, but after a few more listens I think it was a good decision. It’s still odd in my mind but it works. Much like peppers and ice cream, the idea to combine them is strange but the end product is memorable. Woest is not a band content to huddle in the shadows, snarling out at the passersby hoping for a moment’s attention. They jump out of the shadows and attack the listener with what I have come to believe is standard for French black metal. No other region can claim to hold the listeners in the same way.
The music of La fin de l’ère sauvage is damn good. But what makes me even happier is the vocals. I’m often critical of vocals, the centerpieces that can ruin the show. Woest flips between the growling hiss and a haunting choir like sound throughout the course of the album. I love the way the French language sounds when it’s growled. When spoken it’s melodic and hypnotic yet when it’s growled it becomes more bestial and more terrifying than German. The words are clear yet filled with malicious intent. I can’t say enough good things about it. The clean vocals are beautiful too, often playing the counterpoint to raspy waling guitars. They remind me of portions of Les Miserables, and I hope that is taken as a compliment.
Woest is new on the scene, only coming into official existence last year. They have loads of talent between the two members of the band. If La fin de l’ère sauvage is any indication of things to come, they are going to make their mark on the French underground. These are exciting times!
Highlights: Nor, Le froid efface, La fin de l’ère sauvage
If you enjoyed this try: Chiral, Messa, Horrenda
Support the artists!
- Le froid efface
- Tout s’écroule
- La fin de l’ère sauvage
- Moelleuse et tiède