Fuck the FactsPlein Noirceur

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Fuck the Facts returns after 5 years with no new music. The new album is sure to be packed with blasts, skank beats and fast riffs, alongside the beautiful melodies they’ve come to embrace later in their career. Is this even grind anymore? Is it better? Are narrow genre tags dumb ? (Yes.) Will you take my word when I tell you it’s not what you might be expecting but also very good?

I have to say that until recently I was afraid Canada’s Finest were down for the count, but I’m glad to have been dead wrong. Started as basically a funny/abrasive bedroom grind project 20+ years ago, the band’s sound has shown a clear evolution especially over the last 10 or so. Starting arguably with 2011’s Die Miserable, longer songs, a wider array of influences as well as more complex structures and riffing have been integrated into the band’s grindcore foundations, with the inclusion of more overtly melodic leads and riffs steadily creeping into the fold. 2013’s Amer showed the height of these melodic inclinations, while 2015’s Desire Will Rot went in the direction of more technical compositions mixed with doomier, more plodding moments.

Which leads us to everyone’s favorite year, the one and only 2020. I was very stoked to listen to Plein Noirceur, but I definitely didn’t expect Big Katatonia Energy going into a Fuck the Facts record. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complete 180º. After listening to the album a few more times I think I appreciate the sentiment behind the writing a bit more. It helps that the music is great, too.

As a whole, I’d say the album is probably the band’s slowest in terms of average tempo. There are plenty of fast parts, though; “Ailleurs” and “Sans Racines” are more old school (for lack of a better word) Fuck the Facts—short, fast grind songs with killer riffs and blast beats. Tight songs delivered straight to the gut. There are other faster moments spread out across the record, often more in the shape of melodic hardcore, crust-punky streaks than straight blasting frenzy. “Sans Lumiere” is reminiscent of mid-to-later era Napalm Death, with subtly melodic chord changes over d-beats and repetitive, single note two step-style parts, and the album’s title track strikes a good balance between blasts, melody and big ringing chords. These sections are good to shuffle up the rhythm of the album and provide brief breaks between the more harmonically intense moments, and in that regard they do their job nicely.

The remainder of the album is, in my opinion, some of the most ambitious music the band has written to date. From the Opeth-like melodies and riff sections, latin drum pattern thing included (you know the one), of opener “Doubt, Fear, Neglect”, to moody interlude “Aube” to the pitch-perfect gothic Paradise Lost evocations of “A Dying Light”, Plein Noirceur is rich with very emotionally evocative, somber melodies, the type that literally raises the hair on my arms (the good raising).

Despite the overtness of these influences, they don’t feel forced or contrived; Fuck the Facts has really nailed channeling the essence of what made all these bands so special without it sounding like a note-for-note copy devoid of any personal identity. Then there’s the almost Swedish Death Metal mid-tempo double bass plodding of “Dropping Like Flies”, or the out of left-field Dillinger-meets-grind-meets-melody stylings of “L’abandon”, two tracks that stand out as displaying an even broader palette of influences.

And lastly, there is the emotional nadir of “An Ending”. If you played this song to me and told me it came out on Peaceville Records in 1995, I would most likely take your word for it. The uplifting leads over melancholic guitar chords are the perfect distillation of all the sad, sorrowful tones displayed on the album, at once managing to convey hopelessness and hopefulness.

I would recommend anyone who never really cared for FtF to give this album an earnest listen. It is the most distinct collection of songs in the band’s catalog; by taking their sound into new territory, they’ve created something very cool and unique while simultaneously paying tribute to a specific era and scene in music that obviously had an impact on them. This doesn’t come across as a half-assed uninspired ripoff, it’s more of an acknowledgement that incorporates elements of the music that influenced them outside of their usual wheelhouse.

Of all the bands that would do this sort of cross-over, I never thought I’d hear Fuck the Facts go the dark 90s sad/slow vibes route. There just wasn’t any indication with their last release that bridging melody-tinged grind with the more somber, moody side of death/doom/gothic metal was the next step. But you know what? They kill it. It’s definitely an eclectic album, and despite that possibly being off-putting for some, it’s a very entertaining, well put together feels-filled release.

Pleine Noirceur is out right now on Noise Salvation. Grab it at the band’s bandcamp and simultaneously rock out while sitting contemplatively in your room.

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