A French (from Rennes to be exact) industrial sludge/death metal trio who have covered two of my all-time favourite Black Flag songs (Forever Time and Rat’s Eyes), how can I not be intrigued at the prospect of covering them for The Shaman?
Formed in 2013, Fange are comprised of Antoine Perron – bass/vocals, Benjamin Moreau – guitars/synth/vocals and Matthias Jungbluth on vocals/lyrics.
Aside from the aforementioned singles, the band have numerous EP’s as well as four full lengths to their name, including this, their latest effort Privation (Deprivation), not a bad work rate truth be told. The cover art is particularly intriguing with a shadowy Jesus figure with a crown of thorns atop his head that, on first glance, wouldn’t be far removed from the type of anti-religious iconography found on any number of black metal releases, or even Christian Death’s absolutely woeful 2000 album Born Again Anti-Christian for that matter.
À La Racine (At The Root) is not a million miles away from what you may have heard from Fear Factory at around the time of Soul Of A New Machine, its blend of industrial sludge with (thankfully not overdone) death metal influenced vocals blend together rather effectively. The track is surprisingly melodic too.
The unusually titled Sang-Vinaigre (Blood-Vinegar) highlights the band’s newfound attraction to coldwave with blissful atmospheric passages that serve to accentuate the band’s otherwise blunt force trauma style sound. The track is almost gothic in tone, at times recalling bands such as The Cure and I was also curiously reminded of NYHC crew Judge’s slow-burning classic The Storm, a pretty disparate yet effective combination.
Les Crocs Limés (Limed Fangs) definitely has you thinking of vintage Godflesh, the pummelling riffing and despairing vocals will have you reaching for your copy of Like Rats while Né Pous Trahir (Born To Betray) is imbued with some much needed feminine energy and drama that comes courtesy here of Cindy Sanchez (Lisieux, Candélabre). The feel is bombastic, ala Celtic Frost at their most inventive on albums such as Into The Pandemonium, as well as Tom G Warrior’s later work with Apollyon Sun, and taken in combination, make for the album’s most experimental and by extension, interesting number. Considering the inclusion of Sanchez, whose usual output is of the synthwave/shoegaze variety, it’s of no great shock that the track came out the way it did.
an album of incredible density…
Whether Enfers Inoculés (Inoculated Hells) is a reference to Covid vaccinations I’ll leave it to your own interpretations, but it does exude a level of frustration that is positively palpable. The track, while monstrously heavy, nonetheless injects a healthy dose of post-punk, making for an overall versatile listening experience.
Portes D’Ivoire (Ivory Doors) is the longest track on the album at over seven and a half minutes and starts off in a grinding Morbid Angel fashion as well as a Tony Iommi Sweet Leaf style cough; it eventually descends into far more melancholic doomy darkwave territory and this can be attributable to Cédric Toufouti’s (Hangman’s Chair) guest vocals that help add light to the shade.
Extrême Onction (Extreme Unction) vocally has one thinking of ISIS’ Aaron Turner if he were fronting post-metal legends Neurosis. There is an omnipresent apocalyptic finality about the track that provides the ideal conclusion to the album.
My first excursion with Fange thus was a positive one and they have produced an album of incredible density despite its relatively short forty-minute running time. That said, it does warrant a few listens before its diversity and splendour can truly start to take effect.
Scribed by: Reza Mills