Fleurety – Fragmenta Cuinsvis Aetatis Contemporaneae

To most old black metal heads, Fleurety are synonymous with the somewhat progressive album Min Tid Skal Komme. This absolutely magnificent record caused some uproar in the mid 90s, with its shameless incorporation of elements deemed unacceptable in the rather purist black metal milieu of the time. These were the days before Deafheaven, and they were glorious days, but it also meant a band could catch some flack for pushing the limits even slightly. Fleurety’s second album, Department Of Apocalyptic Affairs, was also creative in its way, but since it was released in 2000 its industrial and experimental elements stuck out far less than the debut’s prog-black metal had five years before.

Since 2009, a small trickle of vinyl singles, on which the band develops its special brand of experimental blackness, have been released by Aesthetic Death Records. Fragmenta Cuinsvis Aetatis Contemporaneae, which dropped unto the unsuspecting market 5 January 2017, is the fourth and concluding one in this series of vinyl 7″ which the label somewhat unimaginatively refers to as the Vinyl 7″ series.

The two tracks on offer here deserve a thorough review, because this is something far weirder than the Fleurety of yore.

First up is the entirely insane sound collage “Consensus”. The initial two minutes sound like someone murdering a free form jazz orchestra while playing a slightly modified version of the intro from Hades’ “Unholy Congregation”. All over grinding, grinding drumwork. Then comes a section of very disharmonic, slow doom/black with a screwed up bass guitar, distorted percussion and some general noise. Among other things. The track then devolves further, as something which sounds like 8-bit Super Mario gathering coins appears in the general metal/noise combo. For a while thereafter, a punkish drumbeat carries the song forward as a reverberated guitar plucks out depressive notes. Finally, drums so distorted they are barely audible accompany soulful piano and what we at least believe to be vocals. Phew. We’ve heard plenty of music that can be described as FUBAR for FUBAR’s sake, but with “Consensus”, Fleurety manages to take it to the utter limit. A carefully constructed chaos, which may not be to everyone’s, or even anyone’s, liking, but is surely impressive.

The B-side, “Carnal Nations”, is far more traditional. We almost recognize the Flower Power Black Metal that made the band famous and hated way back when daddy had his long blonde hair dyed black. The tone is somber and melancholic, but the sound is dirty as hell – borderline Transylvanian Hunger, though the worlds of difference in style make the comparison weak. Delay drenched lead guitars, some completely disharmonious harmonies and unsettling bass notes in the background all contribute to making this something very different from your standard DSBM. There is plenty of beauty in this one, though, and as impressed as we are with the carnage of “Consensus”, this is clearly more enjoyable. It’s music, for starters.

To those of us who have only been paying attention with one ear since the very oldest Fleurety material was fairly new, this vinyl comes as a pleasant surprise. While the noise and violence of the A-side may be too much for some, anyone with a taste for melancholic, but highly raw and distorted, music can probably benefit from side B. We approve very much of them both.

Pick this up from Aesthetic Death, before the 666 limitation runs out.

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