Formed a decade ago, South-France’s Pestiferum did offer the audience a limited yet highly acceptable number of releases; amongst those two splits (one with mighty Fhoi Myore) and a first album in 2009, being Solstice d’Hiver. Then, un moment donné, Pestiferum signed to (also mighty) Hass Weg Productions in order to release the sophomore full length studio album, Déchus Du Fléau, coming in an edition of 1,000 copies, including a sixteen-page booklet.
Déchus Du Fléau impresses as from the very first minute. After a very short introduction, which includes the singing of birds (!), Pestiferum support my appetite by means of quite Nordic-alike grandeur. As from the opening riff I knew that this stuff would satisfy me.
Actually, Pestiferum’s Nordic-styled Black Metal has been inspired a lot by the Norwegian scene especially – but I wouldn’t focus too much on the Norwegian scene alone, or even the Scandinavian more generally, for their sound and performance is ‘larger’, i.e. trans-Atlantic, if you want to (referring to the scenes from the U.S., Canada / Germany / Belgium / -and France evidently-, amongst others). In general, the material is mid-speed in tempo, with quite some variety, going for slower passages at the one hand, towards semi-nervous eruptions at the other. But since the focus lies on slower to mid-tempo parts, the result strengthens the monolithic ‘core’ of the hymns. Besides, ‘melodic’ and ‘epic’ are two keywords that overpower and define this band’s approach. The guitar-based songs are led by epic melodies, not-that-prominent tremolo riffs (though when they appear, Kampfar, Hades Almighty and even earlier Desaster easily come to mind) and some fine traditional leads / solos, heavily supported by a modest yet decent rhythm section.
I would suggest you to skip in case you’re looking for something renewing, original, modern, for you won’t find anything that you want right here. But in case you’re ‘happy’ with something ‘traditional’, but played very well, then Déchus Du Fléau might be an opportunity to satisfy your eardrums. As said, Pestiferum are not created to renew the scene, but for sure they want to pay tribute to the purest definition of (Second Wave) Black Metal, and they do it with glory and bravery. Besides the lack of originality, there is nothing you can define as ‘wrong’. Everything fits, and for the whole journey there isn’t but interest that gets sucked out of my brain. Even the raw sound quality, the extremely grim vocals, and the whole instrumental presence are impeccable. There are no highlights on the album, but actually the whole creation is a (modest) highlight. Pestiferum perform essential, true mid-tempo Black Metal and they do it the right way. Mind my words: Pestiferum’s Déchus Du Fléau is not a possibility; it’s a necessity!