Some like their black metal grand and epic, some like it fast and super produced. Some like it alternative and progressive, and some – God have mercy on their rotting souls – like it hipster. Some however, at least at times, like it pure. For this last category, what could be better suited to deliver just such a form of the genre than a Swiss band named just that? Pure have released three full length albums before the present one, including debut Kingdom of Wrath and penultimate effort Art of Loosing [sic] One’s Own Life.
For previous fans of the band, J’aurais dû shouldn’t disappoint. The style is roughly the same as earlier – somewhat melancholic, uncompromising black metal of shifting pace and intensity. That is not to say that the only innovation on this album is the use of French, because there have been some developments too. First of all the production, or at least the mastering, is clearly superior to anything previously released by the band. It is still fuzzy, raw and slightly lo-fi, but it somehow has more life, and especially the drums come off better than on Art of Loosing One’s Own Life.
The album is, once again, pretty much a pure reiteration of the genre staples. There are blastbeats with Transilvanian Hunger era Darkthrone riffing, there are slower paced sections reminiscent of Abyssic Hate, and plenty of dirtier passages that bring USBM like 90’s era Black Funeral to mind. There are also short and limited outbursts of 1st generation riffs a’la Celtic Frost, and all is packaged in the listenable, but nails-to-the-blackboard harsh production. The vocals are slightly in the background, but they still come across as suitably desperate and angry.
As so often with this style of black metal, it all comes down to whether you like the genre or not. If you thirst for “innovation” or other such bullshit, this is probably not your thing. This is black metal as hieroglyphics: a perfected and formalized style, developed to express a sense of the sacred, carved in a very similar and very beautiful fashion by untold faceless artisans. Among which can be find Pure.
J’aurais dû is released by Symbol of Domination on May 13th. Preview and order from the label’s Bandcamp page.