Fange - Pantocrator review

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Band: Fange
Album: Pantocrator
Release date: February 2021

01. Tombé Pour La France
02. Les Vergers De La Désolation

"Be not afraid!" - says the floating head with three pairs of wings.

Fange have been one of the French bands to be on the lookout for in the past five years. Part of the Throatruiner Records team, known for their multitude of forward thinking hardcore releases, Fange have been among the most successful and chameleonic of the bunch. And perhaps that chameleonic nature is reflected in the categories that they were nominated for in the awards. Starting out as a noisy sludge band, amping up the meaty hardcore part of their sound with 2019's Punir (nominated in the Hardcore category that year), then following up in 2020 with the industrial Pudeur (nominated in the Industrial category that year) and its counterpart EP Poigne. Continuing up both their traditions of "P"-staring album titles and continuing chameleonic nature now comes Pantocrator.

One look at the tracklist will signify a very obvious difference: there are only two tracks on the record, and both of them are over 15 minutes in length. Though Fange is no stranger to long songs, and in fact the only track on 2015's Skapheusis EP is longer than both of them, and that is also the only Fange release to break the "P"-starting album title rule. But Pantocrator finds a very different Fange than the one that they were in 2015. Drummer-less and more mature, having experimented with their sound a bit more, and continuing to do so, they managed to make Pantocrator feel like their most meditative album despite being absolutely bludgeoning as well.

The band builds upon the industrial sludge sound of the previous two releases, but expands it into a more long-form version. And to make it even better, it's all drenched further into industrial music, particularly of the death industrial kind, and also into post-punk, especially in terms of the guitar tones and the more expressive vocals. The result is somewhat contradictory. It's incredibly abrasive and bludgeoning, but it never feels as explosive as the hardcore of Punir, instead it's more expansive and mature, with its newer soundscapes and expanded length allowing more exploration of moods that feels unexplored in previous Fange releases. Hence why it feels a bit more meditative as a result.

As despite being more meditative, it's not like it ever slows down to much to go into ambient territories. When it slows down, it still crushes and it just kicks into slow sludge mode or industrial noise. For the entirety of this record's 30 minute duration, Fange move from fast and crushing to slow and crushing, with varying degrees of crushing admittedly, but they manage to play around with their sounds to leave some breathing room, while also filling it with as many dynamic changes of pace and soundscape to justify the track lengths. It just is what it is: Fange build great puzzle pieces, but they can build a damn great puzzle as well.

And if there's anything that I can surely say about Fange now, is that no future record of theirs will sound exactly like this.


Written on 15.03.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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