It's easy to use today's date—October 31—as an excuse to post spooky or otherwise unsettling music (lord knows we've done it before) and as Noisey's heavy metal editor, you bet your ass I'm going to do just that. La Torture Des Ténèbres sent shivers down my spine the first time its gnarled black noise hit my eardrums, and repeated listens have revealed even more ghostly details floating amidst the chaotic din. This is the kind of alchemical black-and-gold metal bands like Sutekh Hexen and Gnaw flirt with, distilled down into a noise-driven, tempestuous roar. IV - Memoirs Of A Machine Girl, the entity's latest manifestation (and fourth full-length) is streaming below.
The Ottawa-based project (whose name is French for "Torture of Darkness") is the work of multi-instrumentalist Jessica Kinney, who has released 4 (!) albums and one split under that moniker since she launched La Torture Des Ténèbres in 2016. That kind of productivity is almost unheard of, even in black metal—a genre notorious for its super-sized discographies and quicksilver release schedules—but Kinney has taken to the self-recorded solo project model like a duck to water, creating layers upon layers of calculated cacophony.
Embracing the solitude and musical freedom the format affords, La Torture Des Ténèbres has become a conduit for the myriad dystopian horrors haunting her work. At times, she goes for pure sonic annihilation, as in the storms of raw black metal distortion on "Somewhere In Brockville, In A Restroom Stall;" at others, she presents moments of warped, off-kilter calm, as on the Caretaker-esque opening salvo of "Lysol, Scrub Away Your Sanity." The overall aesthetic is retro-futuristic, cruel and beguiling—Fritz Lang's Metropolis meets Victorian death cult—and a perfect accompaniment to the darkness within.
Kim Kelly is scrawling a canticle for Liebowitz on Twitter.