The title of the new album by the French black metal band Sordide — Fuir la lumière (escape the light) — is ironic, because the album is a musical bonfire. I was unfamiliar with Sordide before this, and so the album blindsided me like a bolt from the blue. In short order it has become one of my favorite discoveries of this year. The full run through the album is an absolutely exhilarating experience, yet each track in isolation lights its own fire. Today marks the album’s official release by Avantgarde Music, and we have the full album stream at the end of this post. I hope you’ll put it on your listening list without delay.
I’ve already written about the first two advance tracks from the album, one of which we premiered only yesterday. If you think of the album as a magnetic field (and it is damned magnetic), those songs could be considered the opposite ends of its polarity. “Révolte” is a breathtaking race, with a fireball guitar performance that just gets more exuberant and electrifying as the song rushes ahead. On the other hand, “L’ombre” begins at a crawl — a combination of a slow, grim bass riffing and unnerving guitar dissonance — and then becomes a bleak, mid-paced, stomping rocker; it’s hallucinatory and deranged, but no less enthralling than the jet-fueled “Révolte”.
If you’ve heard those two songs, it would be logical for you to wonder what the rest of the songs on the album are like. At a high level, it’s a form of dissonant, intricate, multifaceted black metal with progressive inclinations and a display of technical prowess that frequently veers into jaw-dropping territory.
“L’ombre” isn’t the only place on the album where Sordide decelerate into grim, doom-saturated pieces of musical pestilence. They fall into a disease-ridden stagger in the second half of “L’incendiaire”, which also includes a doleful (but magnetic) guitar and bass interlude, and disturbing, hallucinogenic off-speed sections are also a part of the kaleidoscopic trips provided by “Salis par la haine”, the title track, and the closer, “Sans regrets”. But if you’re like me, what will probably leave the most lasting impressions of the album are the times when the band go wild — which is most of the time.
The rhythms of the songs, even when they’re burning like a wildfire in the path of a gale, aren’t locked into blast-beats and double-bass strafing runs. The music rocks as well as rampages. And there are bass and guitar riffs and ringing melodies in these songs that will get your head moving, too. But what takes your breath away is when the music erupts into orgies of boiling riffs and maniacal drumming. Seriously, there’s a lot of seething, berserker, jet-speed instrumental insanity in the album.
The insanity isn’t limited to the instrumental performances. The vocals are equally eye-popping in both their variety and their incendiary intensity. A rapidly veering combination of yells, clawing growls, scathing shrieks, and the sounds of retching blood and bile, they seem like the torrent of words blasted by a madman campaigning for supreme leader of a vast asylum whose inmates will respond only to a voice more unbalanced than the ones in their heads.
Well, you can tell how enthusiastic I am about the album, but I’ll shut up now and let you decide for yourselves whether this strikes the right chords in your minds. Listen to the full stream below.
Fuir la lumière is being released today through Avantgarde Music. A double-LP version will follow from Avantgarde Music, Immortal Frost Productions, Lost Pilgrims Records, and Saka Cost, and a tape version is available for pre-order through Breathe Plastic Records. Ordering links are below.
Sordide plan a few gigs before the end of 2016 in France, Belgium, and Germany, and then will be preparing a two-week tour in Europe next April with the French band Satan.