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Feasts (1995)

Black Murder was a French black metal band that belonged to Les Lègions Noire, along with the likes of Mütiilation and Vlad Tepes. In fact, the group consisted of members of the latter, along with a member of Torgeist and Belketre. This project existed for only a short amount of time, yet the music that was left behind shall torment the minds of the weak for eternity. It really is too bad that most of these bands faded away so quickly, as it seemed that they had quite a bit of creativity among them. Black Murder was no exception.

I was first introduced to this band through the Promo '94 release, which featured only two songs of raw black metal, containing music that was fairly typical for an LLN band. Though I would toss it in whenever I was in the mood for this sound, the band hardly made an impression upon me. However, with the discovery of Feasts, Black Murder came to mean something much more than an average member of the French Black Legions.

Originally released on cassette, in 1995, this is actually considered to be a demo. This is rather amazing, considering the improved sound quality. The production is still raw and necro as hell, maintaining a very obscure atmosphere, but it is among the clearer recordings left behind by this musical movement. The riffs are fairly easy to understand, though things get a little muddy at times. The drumming stands out from the rest, just enough to be followed well, but not so much that they come off as disjointed or separate from everything else. As one might expect, the vocals are kind of high in the mix, but it works well within the overall sound.

The bulk of the music is built around extremely dreary guitar riffs and tormented screams. This possesses an atmosphere similar to early Mütiilation or Burzum, with the focus on conveying pitch-black negativity to the heart and mind of the listener. Things are often carried out at a brooding pace. Even when the drumming speeds up, the guitar melodies carry on in a hypnotic manner, never really approaching anything that could be called intense. Feasts is the sort of album that would serve well as a soundtrack to a nightmare. There is something downright unsettling about some of the riffs, giving you the feeling that you have been pulled into Hell. The songwriting also includes elements that are similar to the works of Vlad Tepes and Belketre, such as some of the old school rhythms and more traditional passages. Good examples of this can be heard in "Deadsex" and "The Last Supper". This adds to the unique feel of the material, while also helping it to be that much more memorable.

Feasts is one of the better releases from the LLN, in every way possible, and is definitely essential for fans of Vlad Tepes, Mütiilation, Belketre, Torgeist, etc. Even those into I Shalt Become will, most likely, appreciate the bleak and miserable content of this album. This recording cemented Black Murder as one of the most important bands to ever emerge from the French underground and I, for one, feel as if I have been robbed for not hearing it sooner. Avoid the same horrible fate and seek this out now.
(21 Feb. 2012)

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