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Porta Nigra – Fin de Siècle - 80%

Asag_Asakku, November 29th, 2012

Green fairy’s degustation is today a mostly forgotten ritual. Absinthe is indeed more than just alcohol: it is a lifestyle. Precious liquid is first poured into a specially designed glass on which is deposited a finely punctured utensil. Fresh water is then slowly added, filtered through a sugar cube that allows the release of subtle aromas. True symbol of the Belle Époque, celebrated by poets who drew their inspiration from it, absinthe fell into disfavor because of its effects on health, in a civilization now become obsessed with continence.

Going resolutely against the current, Pfalz band Porta Nigra choose to celebrate this deliciously decadent epoch with a first album called Fin de Siècle. Bathed in absinthe vapors, music performed by this German duo constantly alternates between contemplative musings of the drunk and the wrath of the drunkard. Atmosphere generated by the album is imbued with mystery and madness, created with retro sounding keyboards and haunting guitar riffs.

Spleen reaches a climax, however, with the beautiful Megalomaniac, unquestionably the best song on the album. It perfectly characterizes the style practiced by the band, with its catchy chorus, while other passages are rather anxious and tortured. Impossible not to get caught up in this modern and vaguely outdated sound; this true artistic paradox will be repeated throughout the album, but did not reach the same intensity thereafter. Other songs, in fact, suffer somewhat from the second piece excellence and do not offer the same balance between all different styles merged by the group (rock, progressive and black metal).

Who cares! Original thematic approach proposed by Porta Nigra’s two members is based on a solid song writing work and gives a result really pleasant to listen to. It’s definitely a nice discovery for anyone who has a musical sensibility that goes beyond black metal stereotypes.

Originally written for Métal Obscur.