Total Sonic Punishment: FANGE – “Purge” Review + Stream
Fange are one of the sickest and most fucking insanely heinous “sludge” bands coming out of Europe right now. We use the term “sludge” in quotations when talking about this band because while it’s the easiest term to use to help understand their sound, it’s also very reductive of their true nature and of the actual sheer tonnage of their power. In fact, when you sit down to listen to this debut album of theirs and the mammoth onslaught of opening track “Cour Martial” hits you, when this humongous doom beast comes galloping toward you at full speed, riding an unrelenting army of d-beats, that’s when you realize that Fange are perhaps not entirely what you thought they were, and something that goes far beyond what you can grasp. And their massive debut album Purge is essentially made up of huge headfucks like this one. It’s an authentic labyrinth of sound that you can’t navigate yourself out of for the life of you, and in which your mind gets first lost and then crushed to death.
Artwork by Anterograde
Let’s just say that Fange’s music is built specifically to fuck with you hard, and in the most brutal way. For example, one cool thing I noticed about Purge was that the cover art is laid out to look – perhaps not intentionally – like that of Triptykon’s latest masterpiece Melana Chasmata... Now, this is an interesting thing, as the music had immediately reminded me of Triptykon as soon as “Cour Martial” kicked in and even before noticing the art. It might have been the scathing gloom coming through the music that created the link in my brain, or the saturated, discordant production quality, or that penchant for sweet riffs drowned in darkness that have made Triptykon so iconic and that now also reappear in Fange’s music that made me make this association. But I can’t help but remark how this is music driven by fathomless darkness and gloom, and if you ask these dudes if Celtic Frost and Tom Warrior were an influence on their music, I’d bet you my tail bone that it was…
Another band that comes to mind when listening to Fange is Seven Sisters of Sleep. It’s going back to those very diverse-sounding bands that have a million different influences that will make you better understand Fange. Their music seamlessly flows in out of the pits of the most hideous doom and back into the realms of the most chaotic and tormented (crust?) punk, and back into the weird and twisted world of the most wretched noise rock, most notably that of the Swans… It’s just insane to witness this band constantly construct and demolish, build and tear down, create and destroy. First they create massive surges of metallic punk-infested grooves, and then stop, look back and proceed to consume their own songs in a seemingly insane process of self-devourment where everything collapses into insanity, where grooves disintegrate into implosions of feedback, and riffs implode into dismantled and crumbling drone dirges. This is particularly evident in unpredictable and mind-fucking tracks like “Roy-Vermine” or “Étouffoir,” where the band starts out like a super deviant version of Yob, but soon turns into a doom metal re-interpretation of the Swans, where everything turns for the worse and gets sucked into a mindless maze of repetitive and obsessive patterns of feedback-drenched chaos. “De Guerre Lasse,” on the other hand, sounds even crazier than the previously mentioned tracks. The song starts off with a toxic and infectious southern-fried boogie à la Eyehategood, and soon dismantles itself in a suicidal collapse, like a black star that has decided to die and collapse upon it self. The ugly face of the latest works by Leviathan will soon start to show itself as the hideous and surreal tentacles of the most abstract horror start to take over what had began as a heavy hitter full of of awesome riffs and grooves, and is now reduced to a chaotic void of dissonant disgust.
Overall, Fange are one of those bands that can be hard to fully understand, and whose music might take repeated listens to grasp. They don’t do anything the traditional way and seem to enjoy basking in their own self-loathing as they try to scream and then cruelly enjoy choking on their own screams and devastating their own music with a perverted and almost sadistic rampage of madness and self-harm. In this, Fange remind me of a fringe band. Of one of those doom metal bands that are totally uncool, unhip, unpopular but full of character and unkind intents, and that will be fully understood and appreciated only by those nerds who have the sweetest and most particular and meticulous music tastes. I can already see them dominate that niche elite of extremely talented but overlooked bands like Culled, Indian, Anatomy of Habit, and Coffinworm that make music that is too weird and fucked up for all the mindless oceans of knuckled stoner doom fan fuckboys to understand and enjoy, and that will remain one of those extremely rare and not fully understood beasts, obsessed upon by all the real dorks out there who’ve seen it all already and need truly insane and lethal doses of madness and ruin to get their kicks. This is shit that’s not for everyone and that’s why it rules so goddamn hard. Don’t forget to get your dirty paws on physical copies of this beast from the always amazing Thoratruiner Records.