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Fleurety Revividus - 83%

drengskap, December 2nd, 2009

This 7” EP, released in the autumn of 2009 by English label Aesthetic Death Records, is the first new release from the cult Norwegian band Fleurety since the Department Of Apocalyptic Affairs album appeared in the year 2000, although Aesthetic Death did re-release their debut album Min Tid Skall Komme in 2008 as a limited-edition double vinyl LP with bonus tracks. The label’s association with Fleurety goes back a lot further than that, though – they released the vinyl EP A Darker Shade Of Evil way back in 1994.

Ingentes Atque Decorii Vexilliferi Apokalypsis features re-recorded versions of two old songs, ‘Descent Into Darkness’ from the 1993 Black Snow demo, and ‘Absence’ from the 1996 compilation album Blackend: The Black Metal Compilation Volume I. According to the band, ‘Descent Into Darkness’ was left off the first album because it didn’t fit with the rest of the tracks, so this is the first time it’s been ‘properly’ recorded. A number of very special guest musicians have contributed to ‘Descent Into Darkness’ alongside the Fleurety duo of Svein Egil Hatlevik and Alexander Nordgaren, namely Hellhammer and Necrobutcher from Mayhem and Arcturus, and vocalist Runhild Gammelsæter of Thorr’s Hammer and Sunn O))) renown – which in itself will make this release a must-have item for many black metal freaks. As for what the song sounds like – well, those who have previously encountered Fleurety’s work will know to expect the unexpected, and ‘Descent Into Darkness’ doesn’t disappoint on this front. In a marked departure from the band’s previous output, the song is a murky morass of lo-fi necro production values, squealing banshee vocals from Runhild, and pounding double bass beats from Hellhammer, punctuated by mellow, progressive keyboard interludes. ‘Descent…’ whips through different genres at breakneck pace, though it’s undeniably raw, nasty black metal first and foremost.

The B-side opens with ‘Choirs’, a short track of discordant synth drones and low, bestial growls, building to a NON-like wall of blaring industrial noise, before ‘Absence’, which again features a couple of guest musicians, bassist Plenum (a.k.a. Petter Bernstein), from Virus and Audiopain, and drummer Bjeima, from Delirium Bound and Swarms. ‘Absense’ surges into action with a ferocious barrage of fast drums and frenzied, angry-wasp riffing, Hatlevik's venomous vocals spat out emphatically over the top of the noise-storm. As with ‘Descent Into Darkness’, 'Absence’ seems to be a surprisingly straightforward piece of fast black metal, but then the song takes an abrupt swerve towards leftfield, careening chaotically to a halt with a bizarrely jaunty keyboard break that could almost have come from a 70s disco record.

The physical presentation of Ingentes… is impeccable – it’s a heavy-duty pressing on white vinyl in a white card sleeve with a sharp-looking snowflake design courtesy of Trine + Kim Design Studio, and it includes a sticker. The record is a limited-edition release of 666 copies.

Although Fleurety were an integral part of the Norwegian black metal scene during its glory days, they’ve always seemed rather neglected and overlooked, certainly when compared to their contemporaries such as Darkthrone, Burzum or Immortal. Maybe their unpredictability and eclectic, genre-bending approach has made it difficult for people to know exactly what to make of their work, something like what happened with Ulver. Hopefully, this release will go some way towards redressing the balance – and it seems possible that Fleurety are now well-placed to find an audience that simply didn’t exist in the early 90s, an audience attuned to the avant-garde metal of acts such as Nadja and Caïna. Orthodox black metal fans are never going to feel comfortable with this, but those of more catholic tastes may well find the revivified Fleurety worth checking out. The band has also promised a brand-new album called Master Of Hallucinogenic Poisons And Herbs for early 2010.

This review was originally written for Judas Kiss webzine:
www.judaskissmagazine.co.uk