SAINTE MARIE DES LOUPS – FUNÉRAILLES DE FEU LP (Amor Fati Productions / Extraconscious Records)

Every so often a record comes along that you just don’t want to stop listening to. There are others waiting in the queue and time is limited, the clock is ticking, but you keep putting the same one back on the platter. For me, the second Sainte Marie Des Loups full-length, ‘Funérailles De Feu’, is such a record. It’s been consuming me, on semi-permanent rotation in my own personal hell recently, so I’m writing a few words before filing it away (for a while, at least) in the great library of death.

Comprising seven corrupt, venomous sermons across 38 or so minutes, exploring the rot, decay, decadence and utter blackness that resides at the heart of man (and the filthy world he inhabits), ‘Funérailles De Feu’ is a gloriously irreverent celebrations of death, emptiness, failure, futility. There is an orthodox element to the lyrics, which are spat out powerfully in the French tongue and printed on the accompanying insert, the music certainly falling into the realms of raw but imbued with a keen sense of devilish melodicism, raging with naked, serpentine spite and hostility.

Scorching and possessed Black Metal billows forth with the intent of a grubby, wild-eyed churchgoer carrying a canister of petrol; if the truly unsettling atmosphere – with impressive and deceptively complex musicianship revealed in all its grim splendour by a translucent production – doesn’t reel you in, then you are probably dead already. Deviant and decrepit, blazing with hatred and contempt, awash with indignation, this is an inspirational album that should not be allowed to slip beneath the heaving pile of comparatively substandard offerings presented elsewhere.

Wearing his ‘nineties Black Metal influences on his sleeve but inflicting a fresh twist, mastermind Fossoyeur, of Chambre Froide infamy, who handled all instruments on the self-titled debut, has expanded the Sainte Marie Des Loups line-up hereon to include two equally-possessed partners in crime. The result is an outstanding demonstration of how powerful and essential underground Black Metal can be. Spend some time with ‘Funérailles De Feu’ – one of those magical recordings that reveals more intricacies on each listen – and the rewards will be bountiful.

Evilometer: 666/666