I cannot see how anyone into the post-black/avantgarde metal scene of the 90’s – the Norwegian one in particular – could not find this long forgotten gem quite the thrilling experience, even if the music should happen to not taste right. The premise is as simple as it is tantalizing: March 1996. Alexander Nordgaren, half of the elusive gestalt of FLEURETY, right in between creating and recording the equally marvellous and inventive full length “Min Tid Skal Komme” (1995) and EP “Last-Minute Lies” (1997), teams up with Carl-Michael Eide (here on drums), who’d recently released VED BUENS ENDE’s stellar “Written In Waters”. Composes three songs under the banner of I LEFT THE PLANET, based on pieces by the Norwegian author Björn Esben Almaas, who also narrates the songs. Add the perennial Fleurety collaborators Ayna Beate Johansen (vocals), Per Amund Solberg (bass) and Mari Solberg (saxophone). 14 minutes and 48 seconds. Buried and left behind. Fast forward to the early summer 15 years later. Adversum picks it up (mentioned briefely here, releasing it as a single-sided LP in 274 copies, with etched artwork on the far side. If you’re not emitting tiny yelps of joy at the prospect of this release, you simply haven’t heard enough of Fleurety. Do your homework and return to finish reading this.
You cannot write this review without referring to Fleurety more than once. Nordgaren’s main project is the backdrop against which this recording will forever be compared. And at a most basic level, it is very similar (hardly a complaint considering the minuteness of their albeit complex discography). Nordgaren’s angular guitar style with Solberg’s facetted bass lines (heard on both Fleurety albums) creates the same kind of unsettling car-crash eroticism in which Ayna B. Johansen’s exceedingly bizarre voices float from her own musical universe, completely unique and inimitable. The absence of Svein Egil Hatlevik’s ear for disturbing noises renders this recording completely void of electronics (with the exception of some radio static), moving the sound into a calmer area, dark and smooth jazz-metal, somewhere between the eerie desolation of “Min Tid Skal Komme” and the angular urbanity of “Last-Minute Lies” and “Department of Apocalyptic Affairs”.
It took a while to dig into I LEFT THE PLANET, as is the tendency of Nordgaren’s work… though not necessarily multi-layered in terms of production and sound structure, there are still many levels in the guitar work for the listener to succumb into; much like Vicotnik’s work in Ved Buens Ende, carrying the simplicity of black metal into a jazz-inspired labyrinth of dark complexity. An acquired taste, but once beneath your skin it will never leave. Nordgaren is as singular a metal guitarist as they come; I can only think of the late Piggy of VOIVOD, GORGUT’s Luc Lemay and said Vicotnik to reach the same levels of idiosyncrasy. Musicians like those are few and far between, and a blessing to anyone with ears and sensibility intact. Why this mini-album was never released history does not tell. No label interested perhaps. Adversum’s work with this particular release is a golden contribution to the cultural heritage of avantgarde-metal.
1. Diamond. Hazard
2. Dark. Blue
3. Soft. Mad