Friday, November 16, 2007

Three From Belgium (pt. 3)

Belgian Black Metal band "Lugubrum" plays on urbanoia, the city-dweller’s fear of the country-dwelling ‘other’ as described by Carol Clover in her classic study of horror film, 'Man, women and chain saws'.

Keeping their tongue firmly planted in their cheeks, the band purposefully dons the carnival costume of corpse-painted yokels.

The photographs on their website present them as bad-mannered and unhygienic (they're obsessed with excrement; their video for 'De Ware Hond' opens with a dog licking his anus; one of their cd's is called "Bruyne Troon" ("Brown Throne") - a scatalogical title if ever there was one; the lead singer has a long and unkempt beard; and there is something filthy about their fetish for carrots too). They are portrayed lying drunkenly about the home farm, and as stalking through the fields carrying sharp farming implements such as scythes and pitchforks - waiting for a 'final girl' to fall into their unwashed hands, perhaps.

In fact, Lugubrum look like what the Calvaire's peasant villagers would look like if they were younger and skinnier and didn't play the piano but Black Metal.

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Lugubrum started out as a rather typical Darkthrone cult in the mid-1990s, playing a raw sounding, extremely lo-fi Black Metal in the Under A Funeral Moon-era style. However, through the years they evolved their own unique style by adding unusual instruments such as banjo (no instrument signifies 'country bumpkin' better than a banjo!), the saxophone (invented by the Belgian Adolphe Sax), the melodica and even tablas.

I saw them play live on June 28th 2005, opening for Sunn 0))) at Amsterdam's Paradiso venue: chaotic and dense riffing added with utterly insane and cacaphonous saxophone playing yielded a sum I didn't really appreciate at the time, as I wasn't yet fully initiated into the sordid delights of Black Metal. Nonetheless, the impression they made lasts to this very day.

Since that concert, their sense of composition has grown considerably: the most recent album, "De Ware Hond", presents an unusual cross-breed of mid-tempo Black Metal, Post Rock, Prog, and Jazz Fusion. The album is rich in ideas: if this is 'Boersk Black Metal' ("Farmers' Black Metal') it is not an industrialized Agribusiness Black Metal but rather an artisanal Slow Food Black Metal. Rabelais rather than Raskolnikov, Bakhtin before Bataille and Breughel before Bosch, the album is well worth investigating!

To finish this post, here is a short clip of Lugubrum playing live in march 2007 at the K-RAA-K 3 festival.

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1 comment:

verlaine said...

I like this whole urban/rural thing you are working at, being a person who grew up in a rural area and moved to the nearest large city as soon as possible. It's a thread of thought that could draw inspiration from horror movies as well as music imagery. Last night I watched Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu" and thought about things you have been saying in previous posts.

I've never commented here before but am a steady reader so I just wanted to state that your writing and pictures are appreciated and thought-provoking. Thank you.