Not to be confused with the more popular US Sludge Metal purveyors, Porn from France arrives at its third full-length after having been busy with a handful of musical and literary projects in the last few years. It was formed in 1999 and had a three-year hiatus from 2006 till 2009 and has always been influenced by The Cure, NIN, Bauhaus and the likes.
Cryptic and vague, it appears to lyrically deal with a concept album divided into a series of topics: the end of a cruel person being killed, sex with a dominating woman, a murder, house memories, a murder by blade, a meeting after death, a hungry ogre soul growing in the heart, death and further existence, when the white light comes the ogre takes over.
After admiring the amazing sombre artwork of the digipack and awaiting the scattered samples from Aleister Crowley I read about in an older review, I put on the opener "Sunset of Cruelty", and I immediately noticed it is a piece of Industrial Metal where the synth plays a pivotal role, as well as the mesmerizing vocals of mainman Philippe Deschemin, sometimes sounding like a Marylin Manson from the year 2079, darker and more powerful than the current one, and on other occasions singing threatening and twisted like hell. There exists an energetic video matching the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQEa-OeXONM
"She Holds My Will" is a bit slower and the guitar takes centrestage; the refrain is beyond catchy and the nice thing is that here the vocals present themselves different than in the previous song; there's abundant vocal variety before and after the break based on ultra deep basses and Gothic vocals and this can only do well.
Lots of facades are added to the martial and thundering "Nothing but the Blood", as well as several singing styles ranging from even Placebo to Sentenced and Amorphis.
The crushing "May Be the Last Time" may not be quite original, but it's decidedly the most captivating, floating between Type O Negative, Woods Of Ypres
and some Dark Metal acts, enjoying a modern and synthetic production that makes Porn colder and more majestic in comparison with its predecessors.
Synth noises open the Dark Industrial Metal notes of "Close the Window"; the Metal parts are accompanied by a drum machine sounding human enough and some typical drum beats. Really enjoyable is the central passage reminding the 90s Ministry before the chorus returns, thus reviving the composition a couple of times. Another of the highlights of the record.
Robotic programmed noises (some going backwards)
characterize the sinister "Death Does Not Last Forever", drifting along supernatural nuances until the guitar appears. Still, damned vocals and persisting, penetrating keys remain, keeping the piece more on the electronic side till the end.
The easiest way to describe "Heavy Is the Crown" is the following: it's as if Moonspell tried playing Industrial Metal. I can assure you the result is not bad at all, indeed so memorable that I would bet it being played at all live shows of the Translapine quartet.
Deep bass sounds and an ethereal melody gradually anticipate funeral tunes, fast riffing and drum programming in the unusual "You Will Be the Death of Me". The idea behind the song is OK, but there is something missing all along the song and that's the only one a tad lower quality-wise in this album. A 4k soft-core video linked to this song was shot in Switzerland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqplcrLCllc)
The long title track begins and ends with whispered vocals, horrorifically-effected vocals opposed to them, before veering towards shores of sadness and desolation, embellished by poetic synth touches and rare positive rifts delivered by a slightly distorted guitar finishing alone with an arpeggio. This cursed ballad of these dark times is accompanied by an official video shot in L.A. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SnTVurxVNM), portraying the singer living in a furnace factory separate from his significant other just a few metres, symbolically representing the separation due to the corruption of the soul that led him far away from his woman's heart.
I view the evolution of the French four-piece under a positive light, since the Placebo elements and some trivial Industrial Rock rhythms have almost disappeared, and we have a much more obscure and mature group of songs; the vocal range has broadened and now the vocalist can reach deep notes that are more suitable for the new incarnation of Porn. If you are a lover of the above-mentioned genres, don't skip this band and give "The Ogre Inside" a chance. There's a lot of refined work behind the composition and the arrangements, as well as the sound recording and mixing that should not be ignored and wasted just because we are submerged by heaps of new Industrial/Gothic Metal releases.