Outside of early 90’s Norwegian Black Metal, the French scene was the second strongest in producing influential bands and misanthropic soundscapes in the Black Metal underground. The early Black Metal scene in France was centered around a group of bands called “The Black Legions (Les Légions Noire)” which consisted of Vlad Tepes, Belkètre, Black Murder and, arguably the most influential of the group, Mutiilation. Being helmed by multi-instrumentalist Meyhna’ch since their inception in 1991, Mutiilation have produced some of the coldest and bleakest black metal to be found anywhere. While some so-called “black metal” bands have gone on to win Grammy’s and mingle with pop-star clowns, Meyhna’ch has always remained consistent with his misanthropic music and has put forth a menacing artistic expression on every release.
“The Lost Tapes” is a compilation of six Mutiilation classics that Meyhna’ch had re-recorded during a solo rehearsal session in the winter of 2009-10 and were thought to be lost in his archives until they were found and shown the light of Lucifer’s burning star. The songs have a more pronounced sound to them then the originals, most likely attributed to the maturity and rising skill of Meyhna’chs playing since the songs were originally written. There is a bit more raw sound to the guitars and vocals, again attributed to the recording skills that would have developed over the years of experience through trial and error. I am sure some purists will scoff at the session and prefer the originals, which they are entitled too, but I personally enjoyed the re-recordings and thought they had a touch of clarity to them without giving up too much of the lo-fi atmosphere that the originals were accustomed to.
Although Meyhna’ch has declared that Mutiilation is “definitely dead”, perhaps we can hope that there are other sessions that have been lost and await to be found, either way if you are into bleak, misanthropic and cold black metal, I recommend giving “The Lost Tapes” a listen. (Ted Gloom)