Fancy listening to some happy, melodic, and unintimidating music? Too bad. Sit down, son, it’s black metal time. The Swiss raw black metal outfit Pure has returned with a fourth album, J’aurais Dû, and it is absolutely loaded with melancholic, down-tuned guitars, ludicrously fast drums, and raw, guttural vocals, all presented in a heavily-distorted package.
Listening to J’aurais Dû, feels like travelling back in time to 1980s Norway, when the first wave of black metal was beginning to change extreme metal forever. The harshness of the sound produced by Pure coupled with the sheer rawness of the recording truly encapsulates the essence of black metal, effectively paying homage to a style of play which has long been absent within metal as a whole.
Given the way which each instrument gels together seamlessly, you would be forgiven for thinking that Pure was a collection of black metal musicians, perhaps even a full quartet. However, similarly to black metal heavyweight Varg Vikernes with his outfit Burzum, Pure is the work of one man. Ormenos plays each instrument and provides the vocals, an incredible accomplishment, and a true testament to his musical ability.
As previously stated, Pure embodies the sound of the first wave of black metal, what many fans refer to as “true black metal”. The slow guitar riffs coupled with viciously fast drumbeats and harsh, hate-filled vocals which once defined the Norwegian metal scene dominate J’aurais Dû. Within the first few seconds of the album, the “true black metal” style of play is evident, as within the initial track, “Anonyme et Sans Visage” (The Anonymous and Without Face), the listener is thrust immediately into a furious flurry distorted horror. The opening track explodes into being, with every instrument coming together as one, Ormenos clearly starting as he aims to continue on. Almost immediately, Ormenos creates a wall of noise, a sound which manages to totally encapsulate the listener, somehow managing to feel as if you have been surrounded by distorted guitar riffs and screeched vocals. It is perhaps due to this then, that within “Anonyme et Sans Visage”, there is a real feeling of unease created, something which is entirely appropriate for the style, both musically and visually, which Pure strives to adhere to.
This feeling of discontent and disquiet dominates the entirety of J’aurais Dû, recurring throughout the album, and is perhaps most noticeable at the beginning of “Je Tuerais le Monde Pour ta Lumière” (I Would Kill the World for Your Light). The acoustic guitar intro to the track is reminiscent of depressive black metal group Lifelover and follows a similar style; a sad, slow guitar solo which features only chords, which reappears throughout the track in a circular fashion, finally using the same melancholic cluster of chords to herald the end of the song.
There is a large amount of variety featured throughout J’aurais Dû, with the afore mentioned “Je Tuerais le Monde Pour ta Lumière” taking a slow, trudging pace, while title track “J’aurais Dû” attacks the listener with barbaric speed. This diversity in style is what keeps J’aurais Dû interesting, with each song being set apart and different from the last. While the album as a whole may encapsulate the sounds of the first wave of black metal, Pure is not simply a clone of bands at the time, with the album featuring entirely unique songs with its own style. At its core, J’aurais Dû is a nostalgic love letter to one of the most extreme and notorious musical genres of all time, taking the essence of what made black metal, and bringing it in to the 21st century.
J’aurais Dû is out now and available through Pure’s bandcamp.