Written by Carcassbomb
Non Serviam – Le Cœur Bat
Red Anarchist Black Metal from France
Released April 23rd, 2021
Via Trepanation Recordings
How should we start the album? Let’s play for 25 minutes. What do we call it? Le Coeur Bat (Roughly “The Heart Beats” in english), hell yeah. They can suitably do most lengths and change the base of the album at will due to the fluid nature of the compositions, resembling the construction of electronic music while utilizing black metal and punk styles to drive it. Non Serviam are a RABM (Red & Anarchist Black Metal) band so it’s good to be able to listen to black metal without wondering if they’re nazis, Non Serviam are anti-fascist as far as I can tell without understanding a whole lot of french.
Firstly, this album actually has it all and I obviously can’t cover it all, but I love the gothic element of the music with the gothic beats, melancholic guitar riffs and the presence of punk, gothic and industrial clean vocals. Most of us will agree that punk and black metal go together perfectly but the majority of it leans towards crust punk or hardcore punk, where Non Serviam dish out some old school punk rock. There’s also plenty of influence pulled from various eras of noise rock. Grindcore too. Which is when a lot of the heavier vocal styles come into play. It’s a very eclectic black metal album that can easily carry a multitude of moods with variations of pace and heaviness. There more lowkey elements of the album still have plenty of interesting moments and aren’t just drone fests. It’s gazey, it’s psychedelic and punk, avant-garde and noise rock, emotional and chaotic – all referenced in a consistent black metal framework. It’s just fantastic.
The sound of a gun being cocked transitions into blasts beats on the title track is so sick. Fans of Serpent Column and other psychedelic experimental black metal, will find a lot to enjoy across this massive runtime and bonus content. Some who are not as into the harsh noise side of things might find parts of it somewhat unpalatable but I personally found it highly listenable despite not finding noise in general particularly exciting myself. It’s a style that melds well with other styles like in the avant-garde scene or more recently in the sludgecore slowerviolence stuff (Of which you will also hear on this album). Non Serviam have done well to create a gelatinous blob of music that utilizes the strengths of so many styles, particularly the punk vocals. The glitchy electronic elements are a nice touch too. At various points, I got a strong sense of influence from hectic composers like World’s End Girlfriend, Melt Banana and Igorrr (particularly on the Baroque).
The themes of this album seem to be a critique of capitalism, royalty, and opulence, particularly the side of it that is at the expense or exploitation of the people. Or you know, all the outright genocide and war crimes it creates. The album cover and all of its shiny, deathly glory is a good visual metaphor for that idea. All of those jewels you can see represent a lot of death, mass death for the sake of enriching individuals and closed elitist groups. I can’t speak for the entirety of the story presented here and am somewhat relying on context clues as a large part of Non Serviam‘s work is in French. I’m no stranger to assigning my own incorrect interpretations to art, it’s fun. There’s definitely a lot of anger and torment here though, that many communists and anarchists feel regularly at being stuck inside of this society, as it is currently constructed around us, in it’s vile crude anti-human form.
The tracks flow nicely together, relatively matching the vibe and pace of the last established piece, like the shoegaze chaos ending of “Infanticide” (Which also has a creative use of what sounds like infant screams altered). “Salem” and “I Watch You From Afar” bring back more of the riot grrrl style punk vocals and gothic rock hooks. It’s a well made album, and like many of the releases I’ve been reviewing lately, they have a bold approach to the track layout. The first track is a whopping 25-minute journey followed by several 7-minute and 9-minute tracks broken up with cool interludes. Then thrown on the backend are bonus covers, demos and bonus tracks. It’s a lot of music, clocking in at around 86 minutes total. The demos and bonuses are decent too.
I look forward to checking out their other more recent releases like Work, which covers a topic dear to my heart, and that is the abolishment of work, or at the very least, removing labour from the hands of tyrants and exploiters. The condition of labouring in the modern world is still very exploitative and in my own experience, can absolutely lead to an utterly misanthropic mindset, a bloodthirsty desire for revolution. I entered the workforce at fourteen when I got booted from high school and every workplace I went to in the sixteen years since has been toxic and filled me with hate. It is why so many revolutions start as labour movements because working in factories in warehouses is fucking brutal and unrewarding. So no doubt you’ll see more of Non-Serviam on this website, they have such a nice art direction, interesting music and great concepts.