Artist: Hiverlucide (Non Serviam)
Album: Satan Death Whale
Release Date: March 3rd 2022
Location: Paris, France
I’ll start by addressing your most likely question, “why is the album called Satan Death Whale?” Well, I’m glad you asked, the album title comes from the titles of each track on the album. Sure, Satan and Death make sense, but why whale? Well, this comes from the fact that the track with this title heavily features whale sounds. Yes, that’s right Satan Death Whale is a drone/harsh noise/dark ambient/power electronics release featuring whale sounds from Hiverlucide, which is a project from members of Parisian anarchist black metal collective Non Serviam.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what I’m talking about we can dive into the music itself. Well, music is one term for what you’ll hear on this album, a better term may be soundscapes or even hellscapes. This is an album that will make your skin crawl, that will wear you down gradually as each monstrous track unfolds. There’s a harshness and an uneasiness that permeates every fiber of this album’s being, but not in the traditional ‘in your face’ sense, it’s far more subtle and ingenious than that.
Before I dive deeper I’ll let the artists explain it themselves:
“A new sonic universe created by the two experienced French artists also known as Non Serviam, and from other projects like Biollante. ‘Satan Death Whale’, recorded in live conditions, is their first attempt at mesmerizing through whale chants. Lacking melody, and (de)generating a profoundly misanthropic atmosphere inhabitable for humans by exploring the tritone, with drone apparitions, unidentifiable organic human and animal sounds, electric guitars, and layers and layers of decadence.
Two of the album’s three tracks comes in between 18 and 20 minutes, which somehow goes by quickly but also feels like you’ve been listening for so much longer. The songs trap the listener in a suffocating arrangement of haunting tones, abbrasive noise, unsettling field recordings, dissonant wailing guitars and discordant synth elements. It causes you to lose track of time, at certain moments feeling as if you had been listening for far longer than you actually have.
Each of the three tracks are vastly different, using different elements and arrangements to convey their own specific tone and intent. For me personally I think that Whale may be my favourite track on the album. My reason for this is four-fold. Firstly, it’s the most unique and unusual track on the album, the whale sounds are just something else. Secondly the track has a stunning overall atmosphere but at the same time causes a claustrophobic effect that really traps you as a listener. Thirdly this is the first song you hear on the album and with a release like this you do unfortunately get burned out, so in the context of a full album listening I think many will find this most enjoyable. Fourth and finally (and this is an unconscious bias), this was the first track I heard from the release, and it stuck with me.
Satan is a short, harsh and punchy track that comes in at four minutes and features harsh noise, industrial and power electronics elements, breaking up the two monstrous slabs of sound on either side of it.
Death is the third and final track on the album and comes in at 18 minutes. This is an extensive collection of textures and tones that gradually build in intensity and tension. By the end of the track the listener is left on edge, as the sonic landscape becomes ever more hostile. By the time the song and the album draw to a close most will be both relieved and saddened. It’s a bittersweet victory that will tempt you to come back for more at a later date, a call that I think many will answer.
Overall, the album is a solid offering of experimental audio and one that shows an expertise in crafting unsettling sonic landscapes. Prepare for haunting beauty as well as mild discomfort as you embark on this journey into the unknown.
Listen to and order the album: