Pagan Assault

Album Title: 
Requiem For Illusions
Release Date: 
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Review Type: 

French label Soleil Blanc Productions gets ran by KFD, a mostly sympathetic but, at the same time, frustrated and misanthropic guy. He has two solo-projects going on (actually, he recorded some material as well under the KFD-moniker, but this has not been released officially, if I am not mistaken), and these acts’ material gets released via his own label. There is the Anthropophobe-project, with two releases on Soleil Blanc Productions (check Concreteweb’s updates on October 12th and 26th respectively), and on September 9th 2014 we did put the (evidently intelligently and thoroughgoing) review on Pagan Assault’s debut, Révolte Contre La Destinée, online. I was enormously enthusiastic about that album, and you can imagine my joy and happiness when we received the new Pagan Assault-album, evidently. I’d like to refer to one of these reviews I wrote (especially the one for Pagan Assault’s debut, for this review deals with the sophomore Pagan Assault-album) for more information about the band and the label.

Anyway, let’s focus on this second Pagan Assault album, and the fourth release on Soleil Blanc. Evidently there are many parallels to the debut, but it is, once again, another story too. The same case as it was with both Anthropophobe’s releases, as you might have noticed. First of all, KFD recorded lots of stuff in the past, not knowing whether it would be fitting to the Anthropophobe or Pagan Assault branch (or the KFD-current), yet always he kept some specific ideas in mind. So, this stuff was finally released under the Pagan Assault-moniker. Yet still then, there was a certain splitting into two different parts, i.e. Partie Arès and Partie Morphée. In the beginning, KFD was about to have a Dionysus-part, but due to personal beliefs and convictions, having their roots and persuasions in subjects like sex and drugs / alcohol, KFD decided to replace Dionysus by Morpheus. And just to situate the distinction in between both approaches: the ‘Ares’-part has to do with energy, force and external anger, while the ‘Morpheus’-part rather deals with dreamy landscapes of melancholy, nostalgia, introspection. It’s a psychic duality (with physical offsets) that sort of typifies KFD’s character, ideas, thoughts, personality. But I won’t go too ‘deep’ into this subject, for it is personal and, most of all, this is a review about an album and not about the guy and his personality behind it. Yet it might explain a lot…

So, anyway, Requiem For Illusions… Strictly seen there a distinction in between harsh, warlike material, referring to Ares, and slower pieces, referring (and the smart ones amongst you now it) to Morpheus. But I think that’s somewhat too easy to divide this album into two different categories. It goes, once again, further than that. And do not expect a Révolte Contre La Destinée Part Deux, because it’s somewhat different in many aspects.

Requiem For Illusions opens with a short instrumental song, Marche Alémanique, based on simplistic yet melodic guitar leads and a minimal rhythm section contribution. No tricks, no gimmicks; this simple introduction defines the purity of Hate Metal. Then comes Wir Tragen Die Fahne, and oh my Gods of War, what a beauty… This short (¹) track stands for a fast and energetic, thrashing and punkish Black Attack [(¹) with some exceptions, most tracks are pretty short of length, only three of them last for more than four minutes; this album clocks less than half an hour, unfortunately]. Warvomit, Ildjarn, Vordr and, evidently, Anthropophobe do come to mind. Pretty much the same goes for Leur Mort Sera Ma Délivrance and I Set The Fire, bringing primitive (read: old styled), pounding and battle-lusting Black / Thrash Metal with a nice dose of Punk, an unpolished and raw sound, and a total lack of modernistic gadgets. La Mémoire Des Francs is much more epic than the former tracks, with those splendid leads, which do remind me a lot to the Norwegian Viking-Black scene. And a modest reflection of Falkenbach and Bathory, would that be okay? I think so… As from When Time Will Stop, we enter the Partie Morphée, and the tempo slows down a lot. This song is more epic than most pieces on Partie Arès (with exception of La Mémoire Des Francs, as mentioned before). It sounds more melodic and less thrashy, and it reminds the listener to the so-called Nordic current especially. Within this vein, the following compositions sort of continue. Chévalier Sans Monture is pretty doomy and includes clean voices (though ‘clean’ is an understatement; yet I do not mind the little ‘false’ tone; Quorthon, for example, couldn’t really ‘sing’ that solid either, yet still I think he was sublime!), while Le Monde Des Rêves once again is much more up-tempo and filled with pride, vision, persuasion. Water Dissolves Everything, finally, is an instrumental outro, yet once again, cf. the intro, a massive piece of straight-forward craftsmanship, focusing on the fine essence of nihilism rather than ridiculous trendiness.