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Peste Noire is a black metal band from La Chaise Dieu, France, formed by La sale Famine de Valfunde in 2000 with the help of Neige (Alcest) on drums. According to its leader, the band plays "Gothic, Fantastique, grotesque, archaeofuturist black metal". In 2011, Famine created his own label and studio, La mesnie Herlequin, in order to have complete control over the production, recording and distribution of Peste Noire's music.The band is sometimes referred to as P.N. or K.P.N (« Kommando Peste Noire »)
Peste Noire was created by La sale Famine de Valfunde (i.e. "The filthy Famine of Valfunde") in 2000, initially under the name Dor Daedeloth. He was quickly joined on drums by Neige who played in the band for the next eight years. Together they released four demos and one split demo tape in the band's first five years of existence. Argoth, a session bass player also member of early Alcest fame, also helped up to the 2002 "Mémoire Païenne" split. Famine (then known as Aegnor/Feu Cruel) would also be the lead guitarist on Alcest's first demo tape "Tristesse Hivernale" released on 2001 through Drakkar Productions in which Famine wrote the main riff of the song "La forêt de Cristal".
In 2006, Famine hired new members Winterhalter (drums) and Indria (bass) to play on Peste Noire's first studio album, and to expand Famine’s music. They completed what Famine began to call "Kommando Peste Noire". At the time, Famine had fired Neige from the band and P.N. was a three-piece (Famine, Winterhalter, Indria) when the debut album La Sanie des siècles - Panégyrique de la dégénérescence was recorded and produced in August 2006 by French label De profundis éditions. La Sanie des siècles (which roughly translates as "The sanies of the centuries – Ode to degeneration", "sanies" being "a thin greenish foul-smelling discharge from a wound, ulcer, etc., containing pus and blood" according to the Collins English Dictionary) is basically a compilation of the demo tracks previously written/recorded by Famine on his own equipment re-recorded in Rosenkrantz studio (Abigail, Celestia, Mortifera) with a full three-piece line-up (Neige contributed vocals on "Dueil Angoisseus" (studio version)). "Nous sommes fanés" (the introduction track) and "Des médecins malades et des saints séquestrés", the bonus track on the album, were old demo tracks and featured Famine (guitars, bass guitar, vocals) and Neige (drums). This album still featured the same raw, filthy and DIY sound of Peste Noire’s demos, but was still substantially cleaned up a lot in terms of listenability. The music still falls into the black metal category, but manages to go above and beyond that with songs such as the opener « Nous sommes fanés » for instance which lurches into a weird drunken waltz or with sprawling tracks with haunting, off kilter melodies. This album is also peppered with non musical weirdness as Famine incorporated some unhealthy samples in his music – taken from a variety of sources such as liturgy – in order to build a lot of the twisted, mysterious atmosphere that the final product holds.
On April 2007, the Finnish label Northern Heritage would release the « Lorraine Rehearsal » 12" EP including the legend « Hooligan black metal » and featuring four « rehearsal » songs recorded in Lorraine from August 2006. K.P.N's black metal on these rehearsal takes is buzzing yet full of cascading sheets of guitar, hooks, minor key melodies and blooping bass. The B-side is the second version (20 minutes 10 s. long) of the epic track « Phalènes Et Pestilence », composed by Famine in 2005 and then recorded on his own recording equipment. This older recording is much more rough and lo-fi, raw and blown out. It is full of reverb and effects, but still rife with plenty of surprising melodic breakdowns which gets even weirder near the end, with a long stretch of scratchy record crackle and monklike chants, and then a laid back acoustic outro. (A tape version of the « Lorraine Rehearsal » was also released on Roman Saenko (Hate Forest, Drudkh)'s label Night Birds Records. It was limited to 300 hand-numbered copies). For the first time P.N. became a four-piece band (still with Winterhalter (drums) and Indria (bass), and Neige (second guitar on the « Lorraine Rehearsal ») being reintegrated) fit for concerts. On June 3, 2007, Peste Noire played their first concert in Toulouse, France.
De profundis éditions produced Peste Noire's second album Folkfuck Folie, released in June 2007. Folkfuck Folie features studio versions of the four "rehearsal" tracks from the "Lorraine Rehearsal". Famine described this second album as "Folklore d’égout" Folklore from the sewers"). The album was recorded on a tape machine, in the same way punks produced their albums in the 80s, thereby showing the band's disregard for conventions. The lyrics sometimes seem on the verge of autobiography, and they mainly deal with apocalyptic themes, the final triumph of the body over the torments of the mind, primal barbarity, wartime poetry, the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases, and mental disorder, the latter of which is symbolized by the radio sample of the demented poet Antonin Artaud used as an introduction to the track "Folkfuck Folie". The songs are generally shorter than on their debut and the production has a much grittier quality. Famine ironically said that his goal was "to create the ugliest and most irritating sound possible, in order make the album unlistenable after having heard two songs" , adding "You have to be mentally unstable to go through the entire album" . In his own words, Folkfuck Folie was an attempt to weed out the “trendies” in their audience, which put Peste Noire on the map as one of the most rebellious and unconventional act in the genre. Unsurprisingly, there appears to be a widespread popular stigma surrounding this particular release. "Folkfuck Folie" almost sounds indeed like a mad musical alchemy where two different records would be crammed together creating some unholy sonic beast, poppy and catchy, but bleak and brutal and demented, an unnatural blackened buzzing freakshow of sound, but always as beautiful and poetic as it is fucked up. "Folkfuck Folie" shows a Peste Noire which is still imbued with a strange pop sensibility wrapped in all manner of fucked up sounds and damaged production. Famine's guitarwork is still very varied, from clean and clear, to muddy and murky, often at the same time, and always in the same song. It sometimes spins into crystalline melodies, delicate and sparkling, other times super dense downtuned buzz, occasionally weird and angular and super mathy. While Neige’s input on La Sanie des siècles - Panégyrique de la dégénérescence was minimal, on Folkfuck Folie he wrote and played second guitar on "La Césarienne", the lyrics of which are a poem written by Famine.
In March 2009, Peste Noire released their third album Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor (i.e. "Ballad against the enemies of France") with a new line-up chosen by Famine, consisting of a new drummer A. (from Darvulia) and new bass player Ragondin who were asked to fill the chairs vacated by Neige, Winterhalter and Indria. This album, whose main theme is based on the nostalgia for medieval France manifested through traditional military songs or royal chants with warlike, nationalistic lyrics, is reminiscent in sound of the P.N. demos, but the style has evolved into a mix of black metal and progressive folk, with crust and hard rock rhythms. It also features piano / Hammond organ interludes played by Sainte Audrey-Yolande de la Molteverge, who is also responsible for the female vocals, notably on Peste Noire's interpretation of one of the Action Française's Monarchist anthems, "La France bouge". Unlike the previous two albums which had been recorded in the Rosenkrantz studios, Ballade was recorded with intentional simplicity and sloppiness by Famine on his own recording equipment, in order to fit with the general national romantic aesthetics and the production was kept lo-fi and raw. Famine, still living up to his controversial reputation, characterized this unique style as "Boyscout satanism" in a very typically French fashion. Following their tradition of using the works of medieval French authors and poets in their albums, P.N. also adapted the 14th-century French poet, thief and vagabond François Villon's poem "Ballade contre les ennemis de la France" into a black metal version, entitled "Ballade cuntre les anemis de la France", as well as 19th century fin de siècle poet Paul Verlaine's piece "Soleils Couchants" - both these poets' roguish, low-life aesthetic being perfectly suited for Famine’s purposes.
Having relocated to Auvergne, Famine created his own label, La mesnie Herlequin, in May 2011 to release the band's fourth effort: the folkish and carnivalesque "L'Ordure à l'état Pur" (which translates roughly as "The pure essence of garbage"). The album, which benefits from a warm, crisp and painstaking production, was recorded and mixed between August 2010 and January 2011 at the Green Studio (Fr) by Engwar. It saw the return of bass guitarist Indria and the recruitment of a new drummer, Vicomte Chtedire de Kroumpadis, as well as the integration of real classical session musicians (a cellist, an accordionist and a trombonist) to enhance the various atmospheres or folkish aspects of some of the songs, such as the trombone-driven ska punk and accordion folk song intermezzi in "Casse, Pêches, Fractures et Traditions". The album is elaborate in its construction, complex, multi-layered and baroque because it tells a many-faceted story as it leads the listener on an adventurous journey. Indeed, none of the experimentation or hybrid eclecticism was done for the sake of experimenting or for being eclectic. A large amount of stylistic influences and constant progression pervade the five songs, from the industrial black metal-orientated "Cochon Carotte et les soeurs Crotte" with its zouk intermezzo highlighted by Indria's fretless bass solo, or the rockish dirge "La Condi Hu" underpinned by haunting cellos and introduced by brooding monk-like chants, to the rich, medieval and emotional épinette des Vosges melodies on "J'avais rêvé du Nord" ("I had dreamt of the North"). The traditional/folkish and acoustic elements, including Sainte Audrey's fragile vocals, are pitted against the more modern aspects of "L'Ordure à l'état Pur", an album packed with samples of modern urban violence culled from French TV news reports, ambulance sirens, riots, guns being cocked and shots being fired, and BDSM performed over Eurodance beats, all of which together paint a giant fresco of hopelessness, a brutal documentary of collective decomposition displayed on long, drawn out cinematic songs. "L'Ordure à l'état Pur" is an album of contrasts with an intricate synchrony between lyrics and music, both expressing a disgust towards the modern age.
The band's fifth album, simply entitled Peste Noire, was released in June 2013 on the label La mesnie Herlequin. It was entirely composed, recorded and mixed by Famine from September 2012 to February 2013 at his home studio in the Auvergne, itself called "La mesnie Herlequin studio". The new line-up revolves around Famine (vocals, guitars, bass, various drums, bells ...) and Ardraos (drums, accordion), plus a plethora of guests. These include additional vocalists (from the more typical Swedish black metal vocals of Ravenlord and Melkor of "Woods of Infinity" and the Ukrainian death growls of Hate Forest/Drudkh's Roman Saenko, to Audrey Sylvain's clean female vocals), as well as additional instrumental musicians; some of which enrich the album with more traditional/folk influences (such as accordion, hurdy-gurdy, flute), some more classical (i.e. cello), and others just downright strange (e.g. carnyx, lituus). The album, which is anti-urban ("Niquez vos villes" [Go fuck your cities]), explores themes of local history, notably of the legends ("Le clebs noir de Pontgibaud" [The black mutt/dog of Pontgibaud) and literature ("Démonarque") of the Auvergne, by providing a reinterpretation of a Crusade song from the thirteenth century troubadour Gauceran de Saint-Leidier hailing from the Bishopric of Velay, as well as delving into national Medieval history ("La bêche et l'épée contre l'usurier" [The spade and the sword against the usurer]), and that of the beginning of the 1940s ("Le retour de la peste" [The return of the plague]). Famine also tries his hand at pure Oi! as demonstrated on the track "La Blonde" (the Blond), dedicated to beer.
* La Sale Famine de Valfunde (formerly Aegnor/Feu Cruel) - Lead and rhythm guitars, bass, harmonica, lead vocals, all songs, solos and lyrics (ex-Alcest (2000-2001), Valfunde) in all recordings by Peste Noire since he created the band in 2000.
* Ardraos - drums (2013-)
* Neige (2001-2005): drummer only on Aryan Supremacy (demo 2001), Mémoire Païenne (split demo 2002), Macabre Transcendance... (demo 2002), Phalènes et Pestilence - Salvatrice Averse (demo 2003), Phalènes et Pestilence (demo 2005)
(2007-2008) - rhythm guitars on « La Césarienne », the only track Neige played on on Folkfuck Folie 's studio sessions, guest vocals appearance on « Dueil Angoisseus » (La Sanie des siècles - Panégyrique de la dégénérescence's studio version) and on « La Césarienne » (on Folkfuck Folie), live rhythm guitarist. (Neige is in Alcest, Amesoeurs, Phest, ex-Mortifera)
* Indria (2005-2008) - bass on La Sanie des siècles, Lorraine Rehearsal (10' LP) and Folkfuck Folie, session live bass. (also in Triste Sir)
* Winterhalter (2005-2008)- drums on La Sanie des siècles, Lorraine Rehearsal (10' LP) and Folkfuck Folie, session live drums. (also in Amesoeurs, Bahrrecht, Phobos)
* Andy Julia (2009) : drums (also in Darvulia, Nuit Noire, ex-Celestia) on Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor .
* Sainte Audrey-Yolande de la Molteverge (Audrey Sylvain) - vocals on Folkfuck Folie, vocals, piano, hammond organ on Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor. (also in Amesoeurs)
* Ragondin (2009): bass guitar on Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor.
# Aryan Supremacy (demo 2001) ( http://cultmetal.com/files/d15b_12.jpg )
Aegnor (Famine): Guitars, vocals
# Mémoire Païenne (split 2002)
Feu Cruel (Famine): Music, vocals ("hurlements"), guitars, lyrics
# Macabre Transcendance… (demo 2002) ( (http://www.cultmetal.com/files/Peste%20Noire%20-%20Macabre%20Transcendance.jpg)
Feu Cruel (Famine): Music, vocals, guitars, lyrics
# Phalènes et Pestilence - Salvatrice Averse (demo 2003)
Famine: Music, guitars, vocals, lyrics ("cantiques")
# Phalènes et Pestilence - Salvatrice Averse (demo 2005)
Famine: Music, guitars, vocals, lyrics
# La Sanie des siècles - Panégyrique de la dégénérescence (album 2006)
Famine: Music, Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics, Bass on track 5 "Phalènes Et Pestilence - Salvatrice Averse"
Indria: Bass except on track 5
Session: Neige : Organ and drums on tracks 1 & 8, Guest vocals on tracks 6 & 7, bass on track 8.
# Lorraine Rehearsal (12'' LP 2007)
Famine - Music except "La Césarienne", Lead Guitar, Vocals, Lyrics
Neige - Session Rhythm Guitar, Vocals on "La Césarienne"
Indria - Bass
Winterhalter - Drums
# Folkfuck Folie (album 2007)
Famine: Music except "La Césarienne", Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics
Audrey S: Backing vocals
Neige : Vocals on "La Césarienne", Rhythm guitar on "La Césarienne" and acoustic intro of "Amour ne m'amoit ne je li" (The only guitar parts Neige ever played in PN)
# Mors Orbis Terrarum (Demo compilation 2007)
Features all the demos.
# Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor (album 2009)
Famine: Music, Guitars, Vocals, Harmonica
Andy Julia: Drums
Audrey S: Female vocals, piano, organ.
# L'Ordure à l'état Pur (album 2011)
Famine: Music, Guitars, Vocals
Vicomte Chredire: Drums
# Peste Noire (album 2013)
Famine: Music, Guitars, Bass
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