Pensees Nocturnes

Grotesque

Ladlo Productions 2010

The sophomore effort from French Avant-garde black metal experimentalists Pensees Nocturnes sees the music going even further into strange and morose territories.  Vulgum Pecus is a steadily building crescendo of orchestral pomposity.  The distorted black metal jazz and blasts of Paria harbor woeful moans of sorrow within their sinister walls.  The plinking, of keys, subtle female vocals and bizarrely shifting guitars fills me with a sense of dread.  As is the case with all the compositions on Grotesque, there is very little repetition, just a meandering journey from one stylistic extreme to the next.  The dramatic vocals and delicate clean guitar of Rahu sets the grand stage for the cold Nordic riffs and blasting tempo that screeches into demented breaks.  Eros begins almost longingly, look towards a warm sunrise, embodied by clean guitars and shimmering synth, which steadily builds in quantity and volume until unable to contain the pressure, crests into black metal riffing and vocal screeches.  However Monosis dredges up some despondent feelings by delving into a  western tinged set of clean guitar and wailing voices.  The track then drifts towards isolated saxophone musings that bring to mind the stark soundtrack for Blade Runner.  A dribbling guitar solo then thrusts its way into life against explosions of black metal fury.  The track is all over the place and exhausting, in a good way.  The album closes with Suivant.  Playful fingers dance upon the piano painting the album's final moments with a palpable melancholy.  Pensees Nocturnes is always a welcome departure from the norm in the sometimes stale underground.  On Grotesque many disparate styles are fused into a bewitching and depressing whole that stands as a wilder and more aggressive, and in the end, stronger entity than on the debut, Vacuum.  This album is only for those who can handle Nightmarish musical adventure and an increasing sense of mental instability.