Are roses a flower of evil?

ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO: La Fleur Du Mal

Release year: 2022
Label: Out Of Line Music

As with their 2019 album Let’s Play, Swedish apocalyptic romanticists Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio offer an advance taster for their forthcoming album in the form of an EP. Their ninth album Nihilist Notes will come out in May, whose stylistic trappings La Fleur Du Mal teases with four new tracks. Unlike the “teaser EP” for Let’s Play, Ménage À Quatre, La Fleur Du Mal seems to contain only exclusive tracks.

It seems to me that the album has been fraught with some delays and perhaps problems. When the band were added to the line-up of last autumn’s Waves Of Darkness On The Baltic Sea II cruise festival, it was initially announced as the release party for the new album. Rather quickly, this was redacted. Well, good things come to those who wait – or whatever platitude you want to use – and as La Fleur Du Mal promises, good things are coming.

In many ways, La Fleur Du Mal is a strong step back. Where Let’s Play felt in some aspects like an amalgamation of everything Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio has done since the name change (from Ordo Equilibrio), but was at the same time a step forward in developing their decadently “easy listening” brand of apocalyptic, nihilistic pop, this EP promises material that takes to steps back. No, not quite Reaping The Fallen or The Triumph Of Light, but maybe a bit of Conquest, Love & Self Perserverance. In other words, the neofolk/nihilist pop elements are somewhat subdued in favour of dramatic martial elements. Think the re-working of Nature Seeking Equilibrium from the split with Trepaneringsritualen combined with the martial elements of Vision:Libertine. Something along those lines.

To be honest, after Let’s Play, it took me a while to wrap my head around the different approach. Partially this is because over time, Let’s Play has risen to become my favourite ORE album – no mean feat, considering the strength of their discography! Where it represented the “poppiest” form ORE’s expression has taken to date, La Fleur Du Mal offers the most dramatic, bombastic and militant sounding material in years.

And, creatively speaking, why not? Better to change gears than to get stuck in a rut. And, ultimately, it’s not like we’re getting an entirely different ORE. There’s still more than enough of familiar elements, and the decadently, pervertedly romantic nature of the band is still present. The pompous brass in the background gives the new material a different atmosphere, but it’s still very clearly ORE. If nothing else, Tomas Pettersons instantly recognisable vocals make sure of that. Although, here too, La Fleur Du Mal is something of a throwback: back to the declaratory, demagogic spoken-word litanies of older material.

Of course, four tracks are just four tracks, and who knows what the full album will offer? If we can draw any conclusions about Nihilist Notes from these four tracks, then we can expect another quality release from the Swedes. Perhaps not another Let’s Play – that might well be one of those once-in-a-lifetime albums – but definitely nothing to fall in the shadow of earlier releases.

Having seen the band on stage twice (on both installments of the aforementioned Waves Of Darkness On The Baltic Sea), I am of the opinion that the bombastic martial material has been the high point of their sets. From that viewpoint, this EP makes me quite excited to hop on a boat later this month to catch the band live in Stockholm for the release party of the new album.

Visit Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio on their official websiteFacebook or Instagram

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