This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of Facta Loquuntur, the debut album from Germany’s infamous Absurd. While the band typically garners more attention for their criminal exploits and socio-political beliefs (as sensationalized by the 1998 book Lords of Chaos) than for their music, it cannot be denied that their first album is a heavily flawed yet weirdly engaging work that deserves a place in the annals of black metal.
The first thing one notices about Facta Loquuntur is that it bears little resemblance to the black metal emanating from other parts of Europe such as Norway or France at the time, or even to that of German contemporaries such as Moonblood and Nagelfar. In fact, for all intents and purposes it is an extremely dark sounding garage punk album, in many respects more akin to the first wave black metal sounds of Venom, Hellhammer and early Bathory.
Indeed, as with Hellhammer’s demos, there is a delightfully warped amateurishness that permeates Facta Loquuntur. Tracks such as “Werwolf” and “Eternal Winter” are poorly played and recorded, yet they’re also oddly charming and surprisingly catchy thanks to their simplicity; there will always be something appealing about a bunch of kids who can barely play their instruments slapping some songs together and just fucking going for it. The members of Absurd were still teenagers when these songs were written and recorded, and it is this combination of youthful angst and naivete that makes the album such an interesting piece of black metal history.
It’s safe to say there wasn’t anything particularly innovative in what Absurd was doing in 1996, especially in comparison to their peers, but that doesn’t prevent Facta Loquuntur from being an enjoyable listen. In spite of paling in comparison musically to other black metal records released the same year such as Filosofem or Blut und Krieg, there is a certain something about its punky attitude, plentiful rough edges and weird-ass hooks that makes it utterly unique. From the Teutonic sludge chunder of “Pesttanz” to the bizarro black punk ballad “Dreaming of Love,” there weren’t many bands that sounded quite like this.
Absurd would go on to evolve into a more technically proficient and traditionally black metal-sounding band as members came and went, but two decades later these early recordings are still a more than worthwhile listen for fans of first wave black metal and early second wave black metal as well as the darker side of punk rock.