FUCK THE FACTS — Pleine Noirceur (review)

FUCK THE FACTS — Pleine Noirceur album cover Album · 2020 · Grindcore Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Fuck The Facts has always been an abrasive band, usually right in your face, so that’s what most listeners would expect from “Pleine Noirceur”. And first track “Doubt, Fear, Neglect” doesn’t disappoint. It is just that, like a raging drill sergeant yelling in a raw recruit’s face. Until it’s not.

About three and a half minutes into the track, metallic riffs and lead guitar suddenly break into the mix. Sure, the drums are still exploding all over the place as you’d expect from a normal FTF album, but this new found dynamic is a surprise, and permeates right through the whole album. There are fans at the extreme end of the metal spectrum who dismiss or avoid grindcore because it often lacks sufficient metal elements or tropes. This is an album that can’t be dismissed quite so simply.

The band has streamlined it’s line-up since 2015’s “Desire Will Rot” album thinning down from a five-piece to a three-piece. It hasn’t made any noticeable difference to the size of the sound - it’s still enormous.

Second track “Ailleurs” seems like a return to type. It’s a minute and a quarter of blown bass, blasting drums and screeched vocals, but deteriorates into a soundscape like the last remnants of a wave washing out on a beach. Such subtlety would have been unknown to FTF in the past, as blasting angry noise usually filled the entire sonic register. Title track “Pleine Noirceur” (translates to “total darkness”) takes a similar but different dynamic (does that even make sense?) to the opening track. The introduction to “Sans Lumiere” is absolutely brutal, like a repeated kick in the face.

Vocalist Mel Mongeon is one of the best in grindcore and noisecore. In these genres, vocals are usually just another bludgeoning instrument, often rendered totally incomprehensible as a gurgle or a grunt, but hey, they sound brutal. Not so here. Mongeon’s vocals are brutal, but convey depths of emotion, and have a stark, spare beauty to them. You even fear for her emotional state in the gut wrenching “Everything I Love Is Ending”, which seems to be a bleak examination of human mortality. This album is also bilingual, as this Quebecois band writes in both English and French, and Mongeon is perfectly capable in both.

“A Dying Light” is a sparse instrumental with distant vocals more akin to a doom metal sound than something you would expect from a band which started life as a powerviolence project. “Dropping Like Flies” looks like a critical summation of 2020. It could be referring to the global pandemic which savaged the planet, or it could be about lack of respect for other humans’ lives which seems to have manifested in some sectors of society, or it could be a warning of impending environmental climatic Armageddon. Take your pick, or combine them all. Whatever the intention of the song, the lyrics paint a bleak picture.

The whole album has a cold, chill atmosphere to it, more often associated with black metal, but there’s nothing else of that genre on display here. The light/dark, hard/soft contrasts are not often expressed like this in grindcore, and the introduction of doom and death metal-tinged sections are a surprising but welcome addition to Fuck The Facts’ base sound. If anyone who has ever wanted to try grindcore but it has seemed too opaque or dense, this may well be the perfect introduction. Like a billowing mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb blast, "Pleine Noirceur" is an album of terrible but powerful beauty.
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Nightfly wrote:
7 months ago
Just been listening to this. A really good album though I found the vocals a bit wearing after a while.
UMUR wrote:
7 months ago
I will have to check this one out. I´ve listened to earlier releases by Fuck the Facts, and enjoyed them, but I was never won over completely.

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