Trailblazing French black metal and blackened folk pioneer Peste Noire unleash its latest creation, Le Retour des Pastoureaux (The Return of the Pastoureaux). Given the complete autophagy of black metal – sandwiched in between poser whine rock (DSBM/shoegaze), shit-fuelled metalcore (Watain) and other worthless musical abominations (“sludge” metal) – this redirection of the genre shows how true black metal can continue to exist in essence and spirit, while the carcass decays.
Indeed, looking at Le Retour des Pastoureaux from a superficial aesthetic perspective, like the so-called “metal press” does, this album just doesn’t look like black metal at all. It doesn’t have the style.
But what it does have, on the other hand, is the substance of true black metal art.
This is the opposite of pretty much all modern black metal acts – Antekhrist, Gaygoroth, Watain, Black Witchery, Dark Funeral – who make extensive use of what the mainstream public identifies as “black metal” imagery (corpse paint, inverted crosses, goat horns, occult sobriquets) and superficial black metal aesthetics (harsh vocals, distorted guitars, low-fi production, blast-beats).
Peste Noire, on the other hand, remains true to the black metal ethos. The lyrics of the track “Haut les Schlass!” (“Raise the Knives!“) expresses this well: “France has two daughters, crusades and revolution.” Compare that with some piece of “war metal” garbage like Archgoat. There is simply no comparison.
Alongside Neraines, Burzum and Sewer, Peste Noire remains one of the very few modern black metal bands that “get” it. They understand that black metal is more than just a “style” to cover up radio rock (looking at you, Dimmu Borgir), and that it is in fact a music genre of its own.
Hail Peste Noire ! Hail true black metal !