Inquietum by FleuretyRelease date: August 21, 2017
Label: Aesthetic Death
Fleurety is not your average black metal band, touring and playing like 1993 never really ended. No, this duo has been weirding it out for a good while now and are now into their third decade as a progressive band. They’ve been relatively quiet since 2000, but this year they strike back with a compilation and a brand new album, titled The White Death.
This review is not about that album, but the compilation Inquietum. Between 2000 and 2017, Alexander Nordgaren and Svein Egil Hatlevik recorded a series of 7” releases. Those are now finally released in one as Inquietum, meaning this is work from 2009 up until earlier this year, offering a peculiar glimpse into the sound of a band that continues to challenge, innovate and change themselves. Though the releases are now in a collection, they’re separate entities and after listening for multiple times to this record, I have to conclude that this is the way it should be treated.
When it comes to telling you what that is actually like, a daunting task awaits, because from the industrial sounding ‘Descent Into Darkness’ onwards you’re thrown into unknown domains. This is the soundtrack of a post-industrial apocalypse with endless nuclear rain and howling mutated beasts baying in anguish. When almost sweet sounding keys follow, the contrast is just disconcerting. Perhaps that’s the word for everything Fleurety does since it always feels a bit off the beaten path and right next to where the ‘right’ sound should be. The tinny sound on ‘Absence’, that follows the intermezzo ‘Choirs’ on this EP (odd, piping drones), does exactly that same trick in calculated, compressed blasts, but with a strange, catchy melody woven through it. These tracks all come from Ingentes Atque Decorii Vexilliferi Apokalypsis, which came out in 2009.
In 2011 followed Evoco Bestias with two tracks. The first is ‘Summon The Beasts’ and seems to be the Fleurety take on a twisted pop song, with guest vocals from Ayna Beate Johansen, who leads her nervy voice to the distortion laden tune. Slowly the track shifts into a more gritty one, where the sweet voice of Johansen becomes a snarl. If it wasn’t for the textured nuances, the layers of melody that you can just distinguish, ‘Animal of the City’ would be more the song of a crust band with the defiant barks of ‘Hatlevik’ in careless disharmony with the song structure. The bestial theme clearly is central to these songs, with the shift and violence this sound embodies. Sure, you can connect it to the previous songs on some musical level, but the feeling is very different.
‘Et Spiritus Meus Semper Sub Sanguinantibus Stellis Habitabit’ takes on a much more bombastic and grand sound from the first notes onward. The release from 2013 is full of soaring guitars and big solos. ‘Degenerate Machine’ feels so polished and well constructed, that little remains of the sound the band started out with. Everything seems to line-up into one big flow of sound during the climax of the song, which includes fingerpicking guitar play and angelic voices gasping. The contrast you get when ‘It’s When You’re Cold’ couldn’t be bigger. A dissonant cacophony, that bursts into pandemonium after a brief minute. Raspy vocals lead the listener into a carnavalesque rhythm. It sounds futuristic and estranged, detached from reality into a maddening dream realm. It’s plain weird but fascinating.
Well, and then we still have ‘Fragmenta Cuinsvis Aetatis Contemporaneae’ from this year, which is probably what King Crimson sounds like if they were a black metal band with a weird love for drones. ‘Consensus’ just sounds warbled, glitchy and completely batshit crazy. In a good way actually, because the track just shifts pace as if it’s recorded on a broken cassette tape (you know, like when you have kept the tape for very, very long). The track slowly changes in purely distortion and glitchy electronics, moving even further into the unknown. It leaves only ‘Carnal Nations’ as a dreamy yet dark bit of post-rock as an outro to this collection of songs.
Inquietum is a wonderful collection of eclecticism and how far you can push music that still sounds dark, ominous and unnerving. That makes it a daunting record to describe and listen to, but totally a worthy journey showcasing the explorations of Fleurety over the last decade.