The Great Old Ones - _Tekeli-li_
(Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, 2014)
by: Dan Lake (8.5 out of 10)
Crusties, begone! This is not your black metal. The Great Old Ones play a baroque, multi-directional tension-and-release form that employs blast beats and tremolo picking as tools no more or less important than thundering slow passages, weeping keyboard passages, bowed string themes and spoken-word admonitions. At least, I like to think of them as admonitions; it's all in French, and I'm way too American to have actually deigned to educate myself in what the rest of the world might be saying.

_Takeli-li_ fuels its songs with a combustible cocktail of ambition and abandon, and it achieves nearly all it dares. Throughout the album, the band fastens itself to the cracks in the music's icy fa├žade, then splits them wide to reveal the swarming intricacies beneath. The fierce, forward low end positions itself in strong support of the sheets of fading, shifting chords that storm across the upper register. The resulting high drama might sound more like a ponytailed art project than a brilliant metal record, but The Great Old Ones never let the pursuit of intellectual craft trump heart-pumping power and cavernous darkness.

On _Takeli-li_, The Great Old Ones sound like a brighter, less esoteric version of Alexander Von Meilenwald's recent outings as Ruins of Beverast, or even a slightly more aloof Secrets of the Sky. The same disregard for genre purity eddies around these emotional promontories, the same willful selection of whichever styles most eagerly serve the organic expansion of each song. The attention-challenged will ignore this album in favor of two-minute mouthfuls of black blood and broken teeth, but if the more even-tempered among us don't hail _Takeli-li_ as one of 2014's greats alongside new Agalloch and Behemoth, then it's just one more opportunity missed.


(article published 7/7/2014)

7/29/2012 C Drishner 8 The Great Old Ones - Al Azif
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