Danishmendt’s Un Passé Aride is a nebulous journey through an abridged collection of genres; the post-metal sludge of Neurosis, atonal guitars of Blut Aus Nord and underlying ambience of projects like Sleep Research Facility all play their roles in a sound Danishmendt have commendably made their own. Prophetic visions of societal collapse dragged through the conscious experience of a world destroyed; a bleak monument to the remnants of man.
Un Passé Aride is downright tense. A delayed sense of urgency that evolves throughout the album is achieved by hard-hitting, mid paced drums. This hypnotised approach to the drums and a possessed air to the tormented, aggravated vocals give the music a ritualistic, derelict feel. The guitars and bass are largely atonal and oscillate between driving the music forward and provoking a tense sense of discomfort. Citing influences as wide as French noisecore from the 90’s to The Cure and Sol Invictus, as well as the hauntingly vacant photography of Yves Marocchi.
The packaged product is exemplary. Cold Void Emanations and Odio Sonoro have excelled and the photography of industrial collapse fits the tone of the album perfectly. Drawing influence and fuel from every possible canon of work, Danishmendt elucidate the chosen design: “When we were half-way composing the album, we discovered Yves Marocchi’s work through a documentary about East Saint-Louis, a derelicted city next to Saint-Louis, Missouri. This town used to be the indutrial center of the city gathering most of the plants in the region. After all of them closed down, it decayed to finally be one of the poorest cities in The United States. Abandoned industrial sites are quite all over the place and social and racial segregation can be witnessed everywhere. As in many countries, major industrial sites shut down in the past 30 years in France and deindusrialization is only getting faster these days. East Saint-Louis is a good image of what could become France and lots of Western Europe countries in the years to come. Picturing the future in such a context was the starting point of the lyrics.” The album cover is a winemaking warehouse near Rouen, France (Yves got arrested shortly after photographing the monolith – decaying structures are apparently forbidden access in France too) and the fold out booklet houses images from other disused factories, jails, hospitals.
Conceptually, Un Passé Aride revolves around societal evolution and inevitable devolution: “The way globalization and the shift to a tertiary society is being promoted and written onto the urban landscape is simply frightening. Any sign of collective organization, whether it be to produce goods or to struggle for social progress is now being erased from Europe’s biggest cities to allow global franchises to open new shops. It feels as we were all, European citizens, travelling through giant attraction parks as Philippe Murray wrote. No social history, no sign of tensions to be seen. Political speeches are only based on oxymoron’s such as ‘sustainable development’ or ’negative economic growth’ to hide the reality while thousands of people are now being cast aside every year to settle down in poor, decaying areas.” We will all, in this developed world, eventually experience and suffer the tumult of ideological, economical and cultural ruin. This is the lyrical content of Un Passé Aride, traversing topics of unconscious nihilism, hope, despair, anger and of course, apocalypse (not so great if you cannot speak French I am afraid).
The feel and coercion of the ideology fall hand in hand with the progression of the album. You are pushed and pulled over track distance, sludge meets mesmerizing black metal arrangements – Danishmendt’s sound treads the post-metal waters of sludge and blackened doom; the Blut Aus Nord of the Neurosis world. That is not even to undermine the bands music, which takes influence from two stellar acts and sets a tone against finely crafted portions of despotism. You’d be hard pressed to find a release so mesmerizingly cathartic.