I admit having totally forgot about their existence. After the awesome Department of Apocalyptic Affairs of 17 years ago, they did caress the idea of a a full LP again but I despaired after the years passed by and no concrete news of a full album came out.
Then The White Death popped up among the suggested albums in my Spotify account and I thus devolved a weekend to savour it. And it was worth it.
The White Death sounds much more tamed than its predecessor. 17 years have passed and we have witnessed the watering down or, as I prefer to call it, the less norwegian avantgarde black metal version of today. Now much of it is in the blackgaze+drone+ambient camp more than in the weird and jazzy that Department of Apocalyptic Affairs was nearly 2 decades back. The french ruined the raw spirit of the cold North. But I digress.
Therefore I wasn’t expecting anything too weird. The White Death is indeed less weird, much less jazzy, more heavily influenced by prog-metal, a very dark one at that, than the second LP of the band. It is very well grounded, much more consistent from song to song. It doesn’t try to break any boundaries anymore, too many have been broke already by the late 90s avantgarde albums from the likes of Arcturus, Dodheimsgard, In The Woods, Ulver, Ved Buens Ende and more. There’s no more space for that kind of music but there’s for a good, fascinating-sounding album, as The White Death indoubtedly is.
While the opener isn’t impressive but sets the tone for the rest of the album, The Ballad Of Copernicus seems a song that Carl-Michel Eide could have written completely by himself for his current main project, Virus. I guess his personality influenced way more the music than his role of guest musician usually would. The following one is another highlight of the album: Lament Of The Optimist pays omage to the recent Darkthrone sound, albeit less classically norwegian than Fenriz and Nocturno Culto play.
For songs more in the tradition of Fleurety we have to continue to the remaining songs of the album: especially Trauma and The Science Of Normality. Admittedly, the more interesting songs are in the first part, curiosedly the ones that distantiate themselves from the sound of Fleurety that we are used to. It’s probably a sign that the band could go back at experimenting with the next album. I just hope we won’t have to wait 17 more years.