Lepers, rats, and snakes - oh my. Le Complot des Lépreux is a band that clearly aims for visceral reactions on this EP. Between the disgust from their disease-laden imagery and the admirable raw aggression, Histoires de chutes stabs directly into black metal’s nerve center for filth. The cheat-sheet description of the band could be something along the lines of Peste Noire meets 1349 with a drum machine, but this still an embryonic release by a fledgeling band. The biggest downfall here is in the production. It isn’t that the band needs to be cleaner, but the end mix is rough to the point where you end up feeling like you’re missing out on what the music ought to sound like. The bass end in particular is weak, which makes the guitars thin and the drums similarly malnourished. The band tried to fix this by adding some boomy super-low frequencies to the kick drum sample, but your sound system will have a huge impact on how well this works.
Despite the band being in need of someone with a better ear for mixing drums (whether they be real or programmed) the drum machine is arranged quite well. Sure, there is some clickiness but it ends up being a tradeoff since the beefy double kick is clear beyond what an acoustic kit can normally offer untriggered, and the rumbling will make you want to shake until you burst a few capillaries in your eyes. But, when you think about the band’s ethos as a whole, the clinical percussion does feel a bit incongruous with the raw savagery of the vocals and the guitars. For the most part, this is really a charming quirk rather than a flaw, although some bits (like the industrial styled snare rolls) don’t really work out of context. Compare this to the delightfully uneven volume and popping vocals - you can tell just from the timbre that this is a naturally violent and loud vocal style. The relatively lucid French vocals are so intense that the band probably wouldn’t stop playing, or even notice, if the microphone stopped working. A solid way to spend 23 minutes, hopefully the band will offer more.