Fleurety – “The White Death” (Peaceville Records)
Back in early 90s Norway, where the number of spikes and how thick your black mascara complemented the evilness that bands were trying to invoke, Fleurety tried something more eclectic and dare I say it, avant garde. Formed by the duo of Alexander Nordgaren (formerly live guitarist for Norwegian legends, Mayhem) handling all guitars and Svein Egil ‘Zweizz’ Hatlevik (Umoral, Strid, ex-Dødheimsgard) on drums and covering the synths (with the pair handling vocals), Fleurety came to everyone’s light through their ground breaking 1995 debut “Min Tid Skal Komme”, which in addition to trademark Norse black metal, also added in psychedelic and folk elements, along with female vocals by Norwegian pop singer Marian Aas Hansen. With periods between follow up releases, and each increasingly moving away from black metal, the band nevertheless retained strong connections to the metal movement, featuring guests from Ulver, Mayhem and Arcturus. “The White Death” is the duo’s 3rd full length album, coming some 17 years since its predecessor but if anything, proving that Fleurety are still as eclectic as ever! That said, there hasn’t been another wave of experimentation – thankfully – but rather, the 8 tracks do seem to (intentionally?) to hark back to the glory days of “Min Tid Skal Komme” although today’s sound is that of dark, pagan rock now taking the core, with peripheral elements of black metal, folk and female vocals this time round being provided by Linn Nystadnes (Deathcrush, Oilskin). With guests including bassist/vocalist Czral-Michael Eide (Virus, Aura Noir), flutist Krizla (Tusmørke, Alwanzatar) and backing vocalist Filip Roshauw (The Switch), “The White Death” retains its experimental ethos, from off tonal metallic clanging guitar that will definitely drive some people nuts to the off beat percussion which at times verges on a cacophony, but for those adventurous (or insane?) enough to last the experience, definitely coming out feeling like they’ve been through a mental washing machine cycle! Taken in prescriptive measures, songs like ‘Lament of the Optimist’ produce synth enhanced orchestral black metal blast beats mixed with polky guitar melodies and contrasted by hoarse, roaring vocals while ‘Future Day’ is an ethereal but nonetheless catchy trip led by the amazing flute of Krizla, while the vocals are strong, but equally surreal in producing a relaxing atmosphere with minimal eclecticism. Definitely the black sheep of the lot is ‘Ritual of Light and Taxidermy’ which is a trippy dark wave led guitar riff with off the wall percussion and baritone goth vocals that slither around your mind as the visceral lyrics cut into you ever so subtly along the lines of ‘…who are you stranger…..you are there to be hum-il-iated…slowly ripping out your spleen…. laughing as you intestines bleed..’. Definitely different and intense to say the least, the mind blowing splendor of Fleurety is once again upon us.