The Great Old Ones - _Al Azif_
(Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
France's atmospheric black metal novelty The Great Old Ones presents a very, very convincing debut album of qualities seldom found in virgin recordings and into that, in today's black metal altogether. Borrowing elements from France's proliferating and strong post / atmospheric hardcore scene, this black metal outfit displays melodic as well as stylistic musical aesthetics that are well rooted in the aforementioned post-metallic hardcore scene, where sludge, hardcore, metal, noise and a high level of melodious, emotional perception of music blend into unique aural assemblies, birthing such fine entities as Overmars, Celeste, Year of No Light and Dirge, to name but few and select.

The Great Old Ones's _Al Azif_ (H.P. Lovecraft's alternative name for his fictional and famous horror stories novel _The Necronomicon_, supposedly written by Abdul Alhazred, nicknamed The Mad Arab, somewhere in the Middle East) blends perfectly the harsh, chaotic nature of black metal (the blast beats, the wall of sound, the insidious and elusive keyboards on display) with an exquisite perception of melody and emotion distinctive to the French atmospheric hardcore movement. This is aided by the potent harsh vocals that walk the line between black/death metal and hardcore, and an ultra tight song writing and musicianship that pays close attention to the smallest of details, timing, atmosphere-generating elements and execution, not leaving a crack for sloppiness, yielding an awe-inspiring, air-tight album with nothing but qualities, generating nothing but words of praise.

How many times has an album emerged out of nowhere, a debut album of all things, that took you by surprise and became an instant nominee for the year's best album, in your imaginary underground music chart? Not often, I know. _Al Azif_, without a doubt, is such an album, in the best black/death metal album of the year category. A newcomer that will blow your mind, and make some heads spin, even those of the most cynical. Highly recommended!


(article published 29/7/2012)

7/7/2014 D Lake 8.5 The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-li
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