On debut full length Purge, France’s Fange offer up a downtuned platter of songs that pass up the jugular in favor of reaching in and destroying the soul. Instead of going strictly by the rules of doom or sludge, Fange favors a path similar to the likes of Primitive Man and Indian, a sort of death, doom, sludge hybrid. Any light available when pressing the play button is very swiftly and effectively extinguished and violently so at that. Dark, dank and devoid of any kind of emotion, Purge is an outstanding example of a band that lives to be as abrasive as possible.
There will always be bands that reside just outside of the conventional lines of what came before them. Some will stay close to the hip, comfortable even, and some will seek out ways to dive deeper and wring the most sorrow and loathing out of every despicable note they play. The early settlers of doom favored sorrow while the dawn of sludge brought slow burning hatred and loathing to the forefront. Fange is not the first to completely envelope the listener with a sense of utter devastation and hopelessness but they are among the top tier currently doing it, and in a very short timeframe. Since forming in 2013 the band has two grueling EP’s and a compilation appearance with a cover of Black Flag’s “Rat’s Eyes”. With this debut the band is not only nastier than ever but have also tightened up as a whole.
Even though “Roy-Vermine” doesn’t start the album off it is the most indicative of Fange’s sound; being dragged through the mud face down and every once in awhile taking a boot to the back of the head just so the slow drowning agony never ends. The triple attack on vocals make the tormented screams and death metal growls sound even more harrowing than on their earlier EP’s. The closing moments here are some of the most brutally vile this side of Rwake and Fistula taking an entire bottle of downers. Later, on “De Guerre Lasse” the band’s songwriting chops show the most growth. A facade of stoner metal quickly gives way to a lurching death-sludge beast of epic proportions. But it’s the punk approach on “Girone Della Merda” that gives listeners a bit more to chew on and shows their dedication to the principals of sludge metal.
They do succumb to the age old trope of using feedback and “Mâchefer” is a glaring example. In truth, they use it throughout the remainder of the album but sparingly so. Maybe the point of its usage is to call up images from the hall of sludge greats. Whatever the reason, it’s not necessary for this band. The heft in their attack on the senses gets the point across just fine. When searching for a weak point this is it. And true, its a small detail, but it wastes precious time the band could’ve used to further bruise with. Otherwise this debut is as solid as a tombstone wrought with ages of suffering.
On Purge, Fange are misanthropic, dissonant and altogether heavy as hell. They’ve progressed exponentially over their previous EP’s as far as songwriting and devastating prowess goes. Even though they aren’t trailblazers in the death-sludge-doom category, they do leave it a lot better than they found it and make quite the statement in the process.