28 July 2016

Fange - Purge

Sometimes I get albums sent to me waaaaay in advance of their release, it is rare as this is still a small project - but always appreciated.  The album I am about to review here is by French sludge metal act Fange, who formed in 2013 in Rennes, Western France.  Having already released the 'Poisse' EP (but it is more of an album, due to the length of it), their second release was due to be released on 2nd September 2016.  You may have noticed the word "was" there; well, sadly some people decided to leak this album beforehand which for a band like this is pretty shitty.  But the band came back from this and added a message on their Facebook page that simple added a link to download the album from them, instead of the bastards who leaked.  I will say that is both ballsy and brave, mainly because it might make a lot of people just download it now and not purchase it later.  It might also have pissed off their labels, Lost Pilgrims Records & Throatrunier Records; on that front, I do not know what the situation will be, but you cannot help but sort of admire that they took a negative situation and gave it a positive spin.  I like that attitude, they are in control of their own destiny and their music is theirs alone!  But what of the music, is it any good?  Well, let's find out......

Starting the album is "Cour-Martiale" which leaves you under no illusion of what type of album you are getting yourself in for at the very beginning.  From a wall of feedback, you are introduced to one of the finest slices of sludge outside of Crowbar and co.  It is heavier than a building collapsing on you with a sea of riffs and drums that will level some people without care, forethought or conscience - which is exactly how sludge metal should be; however, there are other pieces to this band in the undercurrent of the song.  I am hearing bands like Tool & King Crimson in the mix, there is a slight prog undertone to that bass which sounds damning, but it is meant as praise.  There is also a lot of early Paradise Lost to this band and it certainly gets your attention from the very beginning. The second track is called "Mâchefer" and this song has a hell of a lot of Godflesh in the sound, even if it is only by accident.  It is reminicenst of their 'Streetcleaner' period and my deity, it is thunderous during the verses, rumbling like an earthquake during the chorus and sounding like explosives going off during the bridge & ending sections of the album.  Whilst "Cour-Martiale" is a good introduction, "Mâchefer" is an attention grabber and in the final primeval death rattle of the song when the band are covered in feedback and drone, there is still venom and bilge enough to drop another slice of sludge on you and it sounds like manna from Heaven (if you believe in such a thing).  The halfway point of this album is marked with "Roy-Vermine" which might start with a little bit of a confusing piece of feedback, but fear not my little stoners - soon enough they change that with more sludge noise than you will be able to cope with on your first listen.  It is based around a heavy riff, one which could be utilised in many way and it is used here to bring destruction to whatever hearing you may have left after the first two numbers.  It is a harsh one ladies & gentlemen; I will not deny that one.  It always sounds as if it is going to fall to pieces, but then it just keeps it together that little bit longer and the noise just keeps on giving.  As the song progresses, it does lose speed and then it loses form and it just will not die.  It keeps on going and it sounds wonderful, in a given sense of the word - we are talking about drone noise on this number.

The second half of the album starts with "Étouffoir" which has a hell of a job on its hands at this point, following on from a sea of noise and drone that has erupted since the very beginning of this album.  What this song does, is completing ignore everything that went before hand and just keeps dropping riffs like that it is rain coming from the sky, it sounds volatile and huge with another brilliant riff that is sometimes drowned by feedback and other times it elevated to the highest mountain peak.  It is a great song, on any other album it would be the track of the album; but it has such competition here and if this is not as good as the others, that just tell you how towering the other songs have been so far.  The penultimate song of the album is called "De Guerre Lasse" and at this point the already tender parts of your brains are going to receive another beating in the form of one of the best songs I have ever had the joy to hear.  It is not a pleasant number, it is damn right harsh, noisy and full of glorious feedback, growling vocals that will have mere mortals cowering and a bass noise so low it will make people soil themselves at the right frequency.  If you only hear one song of this album, this is the song off the album I would recommend.  It is monstrous, titanic (mythical beasts, not ships that are afraid of icebergs) and just damn right nasty - just how I like my sludge and it is the best I have heard in a long time.  But this is not the end of this record my dear reader, no there is one more burst of sludge noise in the form of "Girone Della Merda".  With a cross between Black Sabbath sensibilities (before they lost their collective mojo), Eyehategod drone and their own special brew of noise & thunder, this is a great parting shot from the band as they make one final sonic boom that will break inferior speakers with ease.  It is just a brilliant piece of sludge and ends the album on a fantastic note.

Not one foot wrong ladies & gentlemen, not one foot wrong!  This is as near to a perfect sludge album I have heard this year and it gets better with each listen.  I cannot thing of an album I have been so impressed with in metal since the first Mantar album 'Death by Burning' (review cleverly linked here).  Even with the band themselves releasing the album early due to the leak, I will be getting a psychical copy of the record once it is out, it is one that people should own. This is a special release and I implore you all to purchase it when it comes out, it sounds like Armageddon and it just keeps on giving - hands down a killer metal record and one that should be played as loud as possible - stop reading, pre-order now.  All hail Fange!

10 out of ten - This is proof there is a God

Top track - De Guerre Lasse

You can purchase Purge from the Fange Bandcamp here - this page also has pre-order links to purchase the double LP and CD versions of this album

You can follow the activities of Fange on Facebook here

As the album is not officially released until September 2nd 2016, there are no streaming links.  I will update these if the album is placed on any of these pages.

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