To be able to understand NON SERVIAM‘s music to a certain extent, it is necessary to be slightly aware of their origins. From the industrial breakbeat of their already distant debut album to a saturated mix of noise and black metal that, surprisingly enough, worked, even if not everyone had the patience to put up with it. Even more so when the anonymous musician behind the machine didn’t mince his words and was capable of starting an album with a 20-minute song. A decision motivated by the fact that his music was not an easy proposition.
Barely a year after crowning themselves as one of the strangest projects to come out of Gaul, NON SERVIAM has come out of nowhere with two new EPs, Work and the one we are talking about, Il pleut partout derrière (e.d. while I was working on this review, they release a new split album with GALLKRIST) We skipped Work on this occasion, but we are talking about IPPD today; which, in essence, offers something very similar to Le coeur bat in a rather condensed way.
We are talking about just five tracks and two covers, and in that small window, the Parisian musicians have managed to keep their abrasive music hurting. An express torture.
Although the most curious thing is how they have vilely deceived whoever is writing these words. A few weeks ago, at the premiere of the first two tracks of the EP, the eponymous and «I will kill you«, I wrote something to the effect that black metal was in the background, covered by layers of electronica. That’s still true, but those two songs don’t tell the whole story. Then comes «Vengeance«, the one that follows the aforementioned previews and where we find black metal blinded by steroids and cocaine, no contrasting moments between the raw and the beautiful, trap beats or any vestige of peace, here they have ANAAL NATHRAKH as a reference before anything else.
It makes much more sense that «Il pleut partout derriére» and «I will kill you» represent the breakthroughs. They represent a small step forward in terms of evolution: slower rhythms that allow the song to breathe and other influences to creep in, albeit timidly, creating an almost hypnotic atmosphere.
The two covers songs deserve a separate story. There are bands that follow the original version note by note, others manage the meritorious task of taking them to their own style… And finally, the odd case of devouring them until they are unrecognizable. It doesn’t matter how crazy the choice of bands is: 90s superstars NIRVANA and an underground sludge band like BLOODIEST. Like someone covering all the drawings on a wall with black paint, each band’s cuts are buried in the storm of saturation of NON SERVIAM, with NIRVANA‘s version being perhaps a little more ethereal and BLOODIEST‘s the one that borders on harsh noise in its final stretch.
There is even time for another 15-minute mini-mastodon, whose origin and purpose is, shall we say, peculiar: is it usual for a band to decide to make a kind of soundtrack or musical accompaniment to a poem? Well, that’s «Passionnément (Song for Gherasim Luca)«. NON SERVIAM decides to sample the Romanian surrealist poet reciting his own work and from there the music will act as a «background». Quote, and quote, as the instrumental base takes on a life of its own with its frequent changes. Thus, the song flees from all possible staticity when the samplers are not present. Ironically, it is the song with the most conventional structure of all, despite its long duration, with no big surprises or outbursts.
l pleut partout derrière is more than good enough for an EP, the only downside is that, given the highly experimental background of this project, it hasn’t turned out to be as revolutionary as one would have expected. But being an EP, perhaps we are halfway to an even bigger mutation?